ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Cape Motorsports will be back on-track this coming weekend to kick off the season with a laser focus on the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, beginning with the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
The team has won the last seven consecutive titles in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and they will return with the goal of continuing this streak with reigning F4 US Championship title winner Kyle Kirkwood.
Last year’s USF2000 champ Oliver Askew has confirmed that he will bring his second Mazda scholarship to Cape Motorsports to tackle the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, which is the second rung of the MRTI. Askew will be joined by three-year MRTI veteran Nikita Lastochkin to present a strong two-car team.
The team has won 12 Pro Mazda races over the last three years.
Off-season testing has been very successful, with Kirkwood topping the USF2000 charts at the official two-day series test at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which was held two weeks ago. The team followed its plan for Pro Mazda testing at Homestead and Barber Motorsports Park and both Askew and Lastochkin are ready to tackle the new season with solid baseline setups.
Askew, 21, was one of the brightest lights in the MRTI last year, exploding onto the scene with Cape Motorsports, winning seven USF2000 races en route to the championship. Cape Motorsports engineered balanced race-winning cars for Oliver all year, as he scored victories in all three of the disciplines on the schedule: road course, street circuit and oval. The young American won at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Barber Motorsports Park, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Lastochkin, 27, will enter his second season of Pro Mazda racing, having finished fifth in the 2017 championship with eight top-five finishes during the 12-race schedule with Team Pelfrey. Over his three years in the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires, Nikita has developed tremendous consistency. The Russian-born Los Angeles resident returns to Cape Motorsports, with whom he raced with in 2016, finishing eighth in the USF2000 program.
Kirkwood, 19, will begin his Mazda Road to Indy career in USF2000 this weekend, coming off a stellar season in the F4 US Championship, which was highlighted by nine wins and 15 top-10 finishes. Kirkwood has an incredibly successful karting resume and was also selected to Jeremy Shaw’s Team USA Scholarship alongside Askew in 2016, posting top-10 results at both the Formula Ford Festival and the Walter Hayes Trophy.