Hunter McElrea on track at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in July. The Kiwi was the quickest in lone Indy Pro 2000 practice on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course ((Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

By Steve Wittich

Pabst Racing rookie Hunter McElrea, who led a practice session during the Indy Pro 2000 portion of Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last fall, ended the lone practice session on the top of the timing screens.

But it wasn’t by much.

The American born Kiwi was followed by Devlin DeFrancesco (Andretti Steinbrenner Racing), Sting Ray Robb (Juncos Racing), and Parker Thompson (DEForce Racing). They were all with six-hundredths of a second of the top spot.

Rounding out the top five was Exclusive Autosport rookie Braden Eves, making five teams in the top five.

The top ten drivers, which also included Colin Kaminsky (Pabst Racing), Artem Petrov (Juncos Racing), Manuel Sulaiman (DEForce Racing), Jacob Loomis (BN Racing), and Danial Frost (Turn 3 Motorsport), were all within a slim half-second of McElrea.

The lone Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires practice before the triple-header at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, got underway promptly at 10:15 am.

A quick note about the entry list: Bob Kaminsky (Pabst Racing) has been added, and Charles Finelli (Fatboy Racing!) will be sitting this event out.

During the first of the half of the session, Petrov, Thompson, and McElrea all spent time at the top of the timing screen.

McElrea was the quickest driver at the 15-minute mark of the 30-minute session with a lap timed at 80.996 seconds; he was joined in the top five by Robb, Thompson, Kaminsky DeFrancesco.

At that point in the session, the top 10 were all within a half-second of the top spot, and the top four were within six-hundredths.

The first driver to improve on his time in the second half of the session was Eves, who led three of the six practice sessions during the Chris Griffis Memorial Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last fall.

The next driver to improve was 20-year-old DeFrancesco, who moved to third and then second. Several drivers, including Eves and Nate Aranda (Juncos Racing), all improved in the last few minutes.

The 14 drivers were able to complete 237 laps in a clean and green session. Petrov and Antoine Comeau (Turn 3 Motorsport) was the busiest drivers, each turning 19 laps.

Up next for the middle rung of the Road To Indy is qualifying at 1:15 pm.

Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Indy Grand Prix practice results

1 18 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1:20.996 –.—- 18
2 17 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport 1:21.005 0.0095 17
3 2 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Racing 1:21.014 0.0183 16
4 9 Parker Thompson DEForce Racing 1:21.062 0.0666 17
5 1 Braden Eves Exclusive Autosport 1:21.163 0.1678 13
6 19 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1:21.176 0.1807 17
7 42 Artem Petrov Juncos Racing 1:21.262 0.2660 19
8 8 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 1:21.294 0.2988 16
9 36 Jacob Loomis BN Racing 1:21.326 0.3303 18
10 68 Danial Frost Turn 3 Motorsport 1:21.484 0.4887 17
11 69 Nate Aranda Juncos Racing 1:21.915 0.9190 17
12 6 Moises de la Vara DEForce Racing 1:21.989 0.9931 15
13 3 Antoine Comeau Turn 3 Motorsport 1:22.334 1.3388 19
14 57 Bob Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1:23.642 2.6464 18

The remainder of the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires schedule (all times EDT)

Thursday, September 3, 2020
1:15pm- 1:45pm – Indy Pro 2000 Qualifying #1
4:05pm – 4:55pm – Indy Pro 2000 Race #1 (20 laps)

Friday, September 4, 2020
9:45am – 10:15am – Indy Pro 2000 Qualifying #2
1pm – 1:50pm – Indy Pro 2000 Race #2 (20 laps)
4pm – 4:50pm – Indy Pro 2000 Race #3 (25 laps or 50 minutes)