The DEForce Racing/Valkyrie Velocity sponsored No. 10 of DEForce Racing veteran Parker Thompson on pit road in New Jersey. The Canadian led the first practice session in St. Petersburg (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

By Steve Wittich

DEForce Racing veteran Parker Thompson, twice a winner that Indy Pro 2000 raced on Tampa Bay’s shores in 2019, led the series solo practice in 2020.

The lone practice session for the Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg Presented By Cooper Tires got underway at 11:55 am.

The lone practice session in March was led by Exclusive Autosport rookie and 2019 USF2000 champion Braden Eves. Report here —> Braden Eves dominates Indy Pro 2000 practice with four different teams in the top four spots

While on his out lap, series champion Sting Ray Robb brought out the red flag when the No. 2 Juncos Racing PM-18 came to a stop in Turn 4.

The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team was able to flat tow the Firehouse/Goodheart Animal Health Centers back to pit road.

The green flag came back out with 21 minutes remaining in the half-hour session. The field had only been able to complete a single out-lap of the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit.

Robb was able to get out on track right away and quickly jumped to the top of the timing screens.

With a lap at 69.914 seconds, Robb held the top spot on the timing screens at the halfway point of the session.

Just before the halfway point of the 30-minute session, returnee Rasmus Lindh (Turn 3 Motorsport) made contact with the wall in Turn 10. The Swede was able to limp his damaged steed back to pit road.

The No. 3 of Rasmus Lindh heads back to the Indy Pro 2000 paddock after contact with the concrete barriers (Photo Courtesy of Ghost Photog)

The rest of the top five were Danial Frost (Turn 3 Motorsport), Parker Thompson (DEForce Racing), Artem Petrov (Juncos Racing), and Lindh were all in the top five.

The second red flag of the session – for an incident involving DEForce Racing veteran Kory Enders in Turn 1 – came out with ten minutes remaining.

At that point in the session, Frost had supplanted Robb at the top of the timing screens, turning a less than a tenth of a second slower than the Singaporean.

Veteran Thompson was the next driver to “go purple,” and the Canadian and Robb spent the final few minutes of the session trading quickest lap times, with Thompson ending the session on top.

The top eight drivers were all within one second of Thompson.

Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg Presented By Cooper Tires Practice #1

1 9 Parker Thompson DEForce Racing 1:09.107 –.—- 19
2 2 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Racing 1:09.269 0.1619 13
3 68 Danial Frost Turn 3 Motorsport 1:09.622 0.5154 16
4 8 Manuel Sulaiman DEForce Racing 1:09.655 0.5479 19
5 18 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1:09.709 0.6019 19
6 19 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1:10.023 0.9167 16
7 6 Moises de la Vara DEForce Racing 1:10.063 0.9561 19
8 42 Artem Petrov Juncos Racing 1:10.093 0.9859 17
9 3 Rasmus Lindh Turn 3 Motorsport 1:10.661 1.5546 7
10 7 Kory Enders DEForce Racing 1:10.876 1.7694 12
11 90 Tristan Charpentier Exclusive Autosport 1:11.187 2.0805 17
12 17 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport 1:11.243 2.1366 9
13 69 Nate Aranda Juncos Racing 1:11.445 2.3383 17
14 83 Charles Finelli FatBoy Racing 11:09.434 10:00.327 2

The middle rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires is back on track at 3:25 pm for qualifying.