By Steve Wittich
There is no Road To Indy driver hotter than Kyle Kirkwood right now. The reigning USF2000 champion has won five of the last six Indy Pro 2000 races, and it’s his 17th career win in 25 Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires starts.
The 20-year-old has now won all five of his Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires starts on the 2.258-Mile, 13-Turn Mid-Ohio Road Course.
Sting Ray Robb used a daring Turn 1 pass to move to the second step of the podium. It’s the 17-year-olds fifth Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires podium.
Lindh’s incredible run of consistency continued for one more race. The Juncos Racing rookie started a season-worst sixth but finished on the podium for the ninth time in the first 11 races of the 2019 season.
The gap between leader Lindh and second place Kirkwood is now 13 points.
When the engines were fired for Indy Pro 2000 race #2, the ambient temperature was 78F, the track temperature was 89F, and the humidity was 67%.
The front row of Kirkwood and Frost led the baker’s dozen drivers slowly to the green. Robb, who was starting fourth locked up the brakes. His teammate and championship leader Lindh got into the back of him.
That caused a stack up behind them, with Antonio Serravalle and Antoine Comeau getting air as they ran into the back the drivers they were starting behind, Moisés de la Vara and Nikita Lastochkin.
The start was waved off as Comeau’s No. 3 from Turn 3 Motorsport ended up in the grass on drivers right.
The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team got the PM-18 restarted and all of the carbon fiber cleaned up, for a double-file start to begin Lap 3.
Before that, Lastochkin, de la Vara, and Serravalle all came to pit road for repairs.
Also, race control penalized Frost for an improper start, and he had to move to the back of the field for the Lap 3 start.
The running order after the first green flag lap was Kirkwood, Thompson, Robb, Rodriguez, Lindh, Denes, de la Vara, Abel, Lastochkin, Finelli, Frost, Serravalle, and Comeau.
On Lap 5, Lindh moved to fourth, getting past Rodriguez.
By the half-way point of the race, Kirkwood had a 1.3 second lead over Thompson. Robb and Lindh were closing up on Thompson, running within a second of the second-place runner.
Behind the front group, de la Vara, Abel, Lastochkin and Frost were battling for seventh through tenth.
By Lap 15, Frost had moved his way past the other three drivers to grab the seventh spot. Three laps later, he was able to get by Denes to move up to sixth after restarting on Lap 3 in 11th.
With seven laps remaining, Kirkwood’s lead was at 1.5 seconds but was erased when the yellow flag came out.
de la Vara’s DEForce Racing No. 6 did two full spins after dropping his left wheels at the exit of Turn 8, coming to a stop in the gravel. The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team was able to get him out and restarted, and he drove back to pit road.
The running order under caution was Kirkwood, Thompson, Robb, Lindh, Rodriguez, Frost, Denes, Lastochkin, Abel, Serravalle, Comeau,
The green flag came with four laps remaining. Kirkwood got a good jump, and for the second straight race, Robb made an aggressive move on a restart, passing Thompson to the inside. Thompson then lost another spot to Lindh on the run uphill to The Keyhole, dropping the Canadian off the podium.
Further back, Frost got around Rodriguez to grab the fourth spot.
With two laps remaining, Kirkwood’s lead was 1.6 second over Robb.
On Lap 23, Rodriguez grabbed the fifth spot back.
Kirkwood ended up crossing the line 3.5 seconds ahead of Robb with Lindh grabbing the last spot on the podium.
Kory Enders was entered this weekend but was not able to take part in the races. The DEForce Racing driver had to head home to Texas for a family issue.
Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Race #2 Unofficial Results
|1||28||Kyle Kirkwood||RP Motorsport Racing||25 LAPS|
|2||2||Sting Ray Robb||Juncos Racing||3.4783|
|3||10||Rasmus Lindh||Juncos Racing||3.9523|
|4||8||Parker Thompson||Abel Motorsports||4.5132|
|5||5||Ian Rodriguez||RP Motorsport Racing||5.3491|
|6||68||Danial Frost||Exclusive Autosport||7.9953|
|7||90||Nikita Lastochkin||Exclusive Autosport||8.3256|
|8||98||Phillippe Denes||FatBoy Racing||11.1495|
|9||11||Antonio Serravalle||Pserra Racing/Jay Howard Driver Development||11.4824|
|10||51||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||46.0435|
|11||3||Antoine Comeau||Turn 3 Motorsport||-1 LAP|
|12||83||Charles Finelli||FatBoy Racing||– 7 LAPS|
|13||6||Moises de la Vara||DEForce Racing||– 7 LAPS|
|14||7||Kory Enders||DEForce Racing|
The middle run of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires will be back on track in a month for their second oval race of the season at World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway.