By Steve Wittich

If the rest of the 2020 Indy Pro 2000 season is anything like the season opener, hang on! It’s going to be a crazy one.

Race winner Danial Frost, a sophomore driving for Turn 3 Motorsport, started in the sixteenth and final starting spot. Throughout the 15-lap race, the 18-year-old drove through the field, getting by pole-sitter Devlin DeFrancesco at the line by a slim 0.05 seconds.

Danial Frost celebrates his victory in Indy Pro 2000 race #1 at Road America. The Turn 3 Motorsport driver started last and took lead feet from the finish. (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

The one constant, until that final run up the hill, in the first of two Friday races, was DeFrancesco running smooth, consistent laps upfront.

Behind the Canadian, it was anything but constant, with the final two spots on the podium changing with regularity. In the end, Pabst Racing rookie Colin Kaminsky was able to grab the final spot on the podium in his first Indy Pro 2000 race.

The front row of DeFrancesco and Eves brought the eight rows of two up the hill to get the green flag to get the season started.

Perfect alignment as the first Indy Pro 2000 race of the 2020 season gets underway at Road America (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Eves immediately tucked in behind DeFrancesco, but the Andretti Steinbrenner Racing driver was able to get through Turn 1 ahead of the rest of the field. While Eves was looking to move on the leader, Kaminsky took the opportunity to move into second place.,

When they crossed the line to complete the first lap, DeFrancesco’s lead was already 2.6177 seconds. The running order at the end of the first lap was 19 1 18 9 42 8 68 36 3 2 6 69 57 37 83

Behind DeFrancesco, Kaminsky, Eves, McElrea, and Thompson were in a tight fight for the podium’s final two spots. Kaminsky was able to hold onto second. Veteran Thompson was third, with Frost and Eves completing the top five.

McElrea, who was in the fight with those drivers, spun in Turn 14. The Pabst Racing rookie was able to keep his engine fired and was able to continue but fell to the back of the field.

One of the big stories going into the race was a pair of quick drivers starting on the last row. After running an incorrect top gear in qualifying, Danial Frost and Sting Ray Robb, who had mechanical issues in qualifying 15th and 16th.

When the field started the third lap, Frost was already up to fourth, while Robb had moved to 10th.

On Lap 4, Thompson had just turned the quickest lap of the race but was still five seconds behind DeFrancesco. On the next lap, Frost was the fastest driver on track and starting to put pressure on Thompson for the final spot on the podium.

Behind them, Eves was working hard to hold off Sulaiman, Petrov, Robb, and Loomis.

When DeFrancesco crossed the line to start Lap 6, his lead over Kaminsky was 2.4 seconds. Kaminsky had two seconds on Thompson, who had one second on Frost.

Further back, Robb had moved up to sixth, and took off after Eves for fifth.

At the start of the next lap, the lead had dropped to 1.9 seconds. However, Thompson and Frost were both quicker than the front pair.

Things settled down at the front of the field, but in the mid-pack, Loomis, who had just passed Sulaiman, along with de la Vera, and Comeau fought for seventh.

As they started lap eight, DeFrancesco’s lead had stabilized at just over two seconds. The quickest driver on the track at that point in the race was Robb, who was starting reel in Eves for fifth.

On Lap 8, Frost went past Thompson for third and immediately put pressure on Kaminsky for second place. Upfront, the lead had grown to 2.8 seconds.

Andretti Steinbrenner Racing newcomer Devlin DeFrancesco with a comfortable lead in his sponsored No. 17 (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

Petrov, who was forced to pit road early in the race, held the race’s quickest lap at the ⅔rds pole of the race.

With five lap remaining, Frost gained another spot, getting past DeFrancesco, taking off after DeFrancesco.

Later in that lap, Kaminsky had an off-road excursion in Turn 13, allowing Thompson to move up to third.

With four laps remaining, the lead was 3.2 seconds. On the next lap, the lead had shrunk to 2.8 seconds, but with only three laps remaining, the Turn 3 Motorsport driver was going to dig deep.

With three laps left, Robb was putting immense pressure on Eves for fifth.

With two laps left, DeFrancesco, in the brightly colored sponsored No. 17, crossed the line 2.1 seconds ahead of Frost.

Thompson, who was running third, was nursing a damaged wing, and on the final lap fell down the order after coming to a stop on track.

Upfront, Frost turned his quickest lap of the race as they got the white flag, and started the final lap only 0.7 seconds behind the leader.

Frost put immense pressure on DeFrancesco on the final lap, and got a better exit of the last corner, getting a better run up the hill and crossing the line ¾ of a car length ahead of DeFrancesco.

Manuel Sulaiman, who pitted with slight damage midway through the race, ended up in 16th spot, but the DEForce Racing rookie turned the quickest lap of the race and will start the next race from the pole.

He will be joined by Frost on the front row, with Petrov (who finished 13th) and McElrea (who finished 15th) starting on the second row.

Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix Of Road America Presented By Cooper Tires Honoring First Responders Race #1 Results (unofficial)

1 68 Danial Frost Turn 3 Motorsport 15 laps
2 17 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport 0.0556
3 19 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 7.5401
4 1 Braden Eves Exclusive Autosport 9.2754
5 2 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Racing 9.8668
6 36 Jacob Loomis BN Racing with Team Benik 19.7150
7 6 Moises de la Vara DEForce Racing 32.8402
8 3 Antoine Comeau Turn 3 Motorsport 33.0327
9 69 Nate Aranda Juncos Racing 46.6590
10 37 Sabre Cook BN Racing with Team Benik 46.7890
11 57 Bob Kaminsky Pabst Racing 55.8264
13 42 Artem Petrov Juncos Racing 101.1590
14 9 Parker Thompson DEForce Racing – 1 LAP
15 18 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing – 1 LAP
16 8 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing – 2 LAPS