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Hartsdale, NY (March 18, 2024) -

It was a last minute opportunity for Michael d’Orlando to race in the INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg, and he seized the moment! The 22-year-old Hartsdale, NY native, now residing in Charlotte, NC, impressed with a fourth place result and the highest finishing rookie in a 21-car field. He wasted very little time to get acquainted with the #3 Andretti Cape Indy NXT machine and the results speak volumes.

d'Orlando’s announcement to join the Andretti Cape Indy NXT team was fantastically confirmed with the support of his partners at Priority Technology Holdings and Rising Star Racing just two days before the event began. Prior to St Pete, he had only four days experience in the Dallara IL-15 with the Mazda-AER power unit, with three different teams, and only one of those days was without weather restricting conditions.

But his return “home” to Cape Motorsports, as part of a partnership with Andretti Global, proved he belongs in the series and that the familiarity of returning to the guidance of Nicholas & Dominic Cape, of whom he raced three years (2020-2022) in USF2000, including the 2022 Championship title, is a recipe for success. At St Petersburg, he was second fastest in the first practice session, suffered a power unit failure in the second practice session, and although he narrowly made the grid in time for the qualifying session, he earned an impressive 5th place starting slot for the 45-lap race. But it was his performance in the main event that caught the attention throughout the paddock, and the hundreds of thousands of race fans in the audience at the track and on streaming services such as the IndyCar app, Indycar Radio Network, Sirius XM and NBC’s Peacock, that stole the show. Not only would d’Orlando bring home a fourth-place finish in his first Indy NXT event, but he put serious pressure on for another sport forward. In the end, the only three drivers in front of his #3 car were the top three returning points scorers from

the 2023 Indy NXT by Firestone series, all well-season veterans.

“It was very comforting to go back (to Cape Motorsports),” says d’Orlando. “It was nice to be back with the family that I had for a long period of time. I didn’t have any learning curve. We got right back into a rhythm. They know how I drive, and I know how they operate. So, there was a feeling after a year hiatus of not seeing them, kind of like going back home and sleeping in your own bed. I am so proud of what we accomplished.”

It was an incredible performance by both team and driver. It must be noted that after the engine failure in the second practice session, the team at Cape Andretti Indy NXT had only a few hours to perform a complete engine replacement before qualifying. The driver maintained the confidence in his team, and the team returned the favor in their confidence in the driver, for some impressive results.

“Without the Cape team and Andretti (Global) having that faith in me to perform, their support with the car and the efforts and belief in me from my partners at Rising Star Racing and Priority to make it all happen, I wouldn’t have been able to prove myself. We continue to work to try to get back for another round. We are all very eager to be back for Barber (Motorsports Park on April 28th).”

Replay of the Grand Prix of St Petersburg can be found streaming on the Peacock app. (Indy NXT: St Petersburg - March 10, 2024)

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