After having their first qualifying sessions this morning, both the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires had second qualifying sessions later on this morning as part of the Mazda Road to Indy Grand Prix Presented by Royal Purple Supporting the Lupus Foundation of America weekend.
Here is TSO Ladder’s report from the first qualifying sessions.
Quick pre-session notes, and reports from both second sessions are below.
TSO had the opportunity to chat with a few USF2000 drivers before the second of two qualifying sessions, as the Grand Prix weekend schedule at the IMS road course is rather abnormal.
With no sports car content on this weekend, as there has been at both St. Petersburg and Barber with various series, it means the Mazda Road to Indy gets more track time, but it’s odd in that the races come later in the afternoon rather than an earlier morning time slot.
Additionally, some drivers had ear buds in to listen to music or other audio prior to the session, as they prepared to amp themselves up for a second straight qualifying session on the day before racing later.
There was one other change prior to the USF2000 second session. Kaylen Frederick was originally determined to have blown the checkered flag at the end of the first session.
However, following a video review, officials determined Frederick had not been issued the checkered flag. That promotes him back to starting second for today’s first race of the weekend, rather than fourth after an initial two-spot penalty.
Lastly, Cape has Matthew Brabham here this weekend in a coaching capacity, as he has done on and off in his career. Brabham won both the USF2000 and Pro Mazda titles, but never competed in either series here on the Mazda Road to Indy – but he won at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Raceway in Pro Mazda in 2013. He won his only Indy Lights race at the road course in 2014 with Andretti Autosport. Brabham also made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in this race last year, and impressed with the PIRTEK Team Murray operation.
Back from from Australia and straight to the track to help @CMwithWTR kill it at the Indy Car GP pic.twitter.com/Bk85eAb2vV
— Matthew Brabham (@MattyBrabs) May 12, 2017
He is here this weekend following a double duty weekend in the Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport Holden, making his Australian V8 Supercars debut, and one of Robby Gordon’s SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks in Perth, Australia.
Alas, at 11:15 a.m., the second 20-minute qualifying session for USF2000 kicked off.
Pabst Racing’s Calvin Ming was the early chart topper at 1:25.3773, by only 0.01 of a second over Frederick and Robert Megennis. But that was before Oliver Askew went out, a little later in the session, and promptly delivered a 1:24.7843 on his second timed lap of the session.
Askew later dropped the hammer to a 1:24.7400, which was slightly off his morning pole time of 1:24.6831. But nonetheless, this gives Askew four poles in a row in his No. 3 Cape Motorsports Tatuus USF-17 Mazda. He has a chance to go for four wins in a row this season in the first USF2000 race of the weekend later today.
Frederick was again second – this time in more conventional manner – in his No. 81 Team Pelfrey entry at 1:25.0539.
Rinus VeeKay was third for Pabst Racing in the No. 21 car, with the Dutch driver posting a best time of 1:25.1795. Ricky Donison has his second top-five qualifying effort of the day with fourth for Cape at 1:25.2088 and Robert Megennis completed the top five in the second of three Pelfrey cars at 1:25.2271.
The first USF2000 race of 30 minutes runs from 2:30 to 3:10 p.m. later today.
|15||12||Moises de la Vara||1:25.768|
The second Pro Mazda qualifying session was 10 minutes shorter than this morning – 20 minutes versus 30 – but the result was nearly identical throughout the 15-car grid.
As this morning, Juncos Racing’s Victor Franzoni scored the pole. The driver of the No. 23 car was a little bit slower this session – his best time was only 1:23.5698 compared to a 1:23.3476 this morning – but the track slowed as the temperatures heated up and the sun began to emerge from behind the clouds.
Team Pelfrey’s TJ Fischer will again start second in his No. 82 car. He improved his best time to a 1:23.7790, just ahead of a 1:23.8108 this morning. So while Franzoni’s gap to Fischer was 0.4632 of a second in qualifying one, it was just 0.2092 this time.
Carlos Cunha and points leader Anthony Martin swapped spots compared to this morning. Cunha will start third for race two and Martin fourth. Martin was 0.011 of a second adrift of the teenaged Brazilian.
Positions five through eight are nearly identical compared to this morning with Pelfrey’s Nikita Lastochkin ahead of three World Speed Motorsports entries. The only change was Bobby Eberle getting one spot higher this session, edging Sting Ray Robb for seventh behind Phillippe Denes in sixth.
The 40-minute Pro Mazda race one runs from 3:25 to 4:05 p.m.
|8||14||Sting Ray Robb||1:25.217|
|15||83||Charles Finelli||No Time|