USF Pro 2000 title contender Michael d’Orlando has revealed he currently lacks the budget to finish the season.
The rookie has won three of the last six races and sits 93 points behind championship leader Myles Rowe after 13 races, with five left to go and 165 points available to score.
Four races ago he was 94 points behind, and he seeks to complete the biggest USFP2000 comeback in the last two decades. Aaron Telitz came from 55 points back to become 2016 champion, John Edwards overcame a 50-point deficit in 2008 and Rinus VeeKay dominated in 2018 despite being 46 points behind early on.
But for d’Orlando to achieve such a large comeback, he needs to actually complete the campaign.
“The USF Pro championships’ scholarship from last year, when I won the USF2000 title, although being very helpful to at least run this season, it is not enough to help me finish the season,” he explained to Formula Scout.
“We’re still looking for an extra $50,000 to $60,000 to do the last five races. The situation has been taking a toll pretty much not only on me but my entire family: my brother [USF2000 racer Nicholas], my parents, my sponsors. We all want me and my brother to be in a seat this year.
“Especially for the championship contention that I have, and the comeback, the momentum that I’ve had since the second half of the season. I mean it’s really putting me through a tough spot, especially as I’m moving to North Carolina, as well as being a full-time college student at University of North Carolina in Charlotte [where] I’m studying business marketing.
“It’s extremely critical to find the funding for me to complete the championship, because my family is not the type that has the money to go and just support my brother and I in our careers all the way up to where we want to be in IndyCar. So even this championship this year is vital. If I can’t complete the rest of this, then I don’t have the momentum for possibly Indy Nxt next year, or I can’t really prove to the rest of everyone else that I deserve to be running up front in USFP2000.
“It was a little bit of an issue at the beginning of the season, but there’s always been – I’ve had a really rough start to the season, the first seven, eight races have been extremely difficult for me. Because of all the unfortunate stuff that I’ve been going through, whether it’s some accidents or technical [issues], electrical failures or mechanical failures. I mean the first half of the season, if you can think of it, I’ve probably had that issue.
“[Then] I came out guns blazing at Road America, and since then I’ve won three of the last six races. I’ve had the momentum, but this season’s far from perfect. But if I can get the rest of the season finished and funding-wise, it could be the biggest comeback in USFP2000 history. So hopefully we can break some records here.”