By Steve Wittich
For the first time in his short five-race Indy Pro 2000 career, Juncos Racing rookie Reece Gold will start a race from the pole. It’s the 16-year-olds second career Road To Indy pole, with the other one coming on this same track in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship series in 2020.
The pole is the 6th straight on the IMS road course for Juncos Racing and their 11th at their home track.
Braden Eves (Exclusive Autosport) will start on the outside of the front row, with Jay Howard Driver Development rookie Christian Rasmussen and another Juncos Racing rookie, Kyffin Simpson, starting on the second row.
The first track activity of a busy Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway got underway promptly at 8 am.
The 13 Indy Pro 2000 machines powered by Elite Engine 2.0L powerplants took to the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course under cloudless skies and brisk conditions.
The ambient temperature was 49F, and the track temperature was 58F when the 20-minute qualifying session got underway.
It only took three laps for Gold to eclipses the laps times from the Thursday afternoon when he was the first driver to turn a sub-81-second lap.
At the halfway point of the 20-minute session, most drivers had turned five laps and were on pit road for adjustments and fresh Cooper Tire slicks.
Rasmusen had the quickest lap time at 80.6488 seconds but had eight drivers breathing down his neck within three-tenths of a second. At that point in the session, the rest of the top five were Gold, Sulaiman, Petrov and Abel.
It took two laps for the sticker Cooper Tires to come up to temperature.
With six minutes left in the session James Roe (Turn 3 Motorsport) went off course in Turn 1, but was able to continue, keeping the track green.
The first driver to improve on his earlier time was Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing). He was quickly joined by Eves and the rest of the field, who kept getting quicker.
With just over three minutes remaining, Gold was the first driver to go under 80-seconds. Most of the field got another two laps in, but nobody could go quicker than the Juncos Racing rookie.
Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix Of Indianapolis Presented by Cooper Tires qualifying timesheet (unofficial)
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||QUICK LAP||DIFFERENCE|
|1||55||Reece Gold||Juncos Racing||1:19.9481||——|
|2||91||Braden Eves||Exclusive Autosport||1:20.2331||0.2850|
|3||1||Christian Rasmussen||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:20.3334||0.3853|
|4||21||Kyffin Simpson||Juncos Racing||1:20.4104||0.4623|
|5||77||Enaam Ahmed||RP Motorsport USA||1:20.5831||0.6350|
|6||42||Artem Petrov||Exclusive Autosport||1:20.6176||0.6695|
|7||5||Wyatt Brichacek||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:20.7130||0.7649|
|8||18||Hunter McElrea||Pabst Racing||1:20.7136||0.7655|
|9||51||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||1:20.7156||0.7675|
|10||22||Manuel Sulaiman||Juncos Racing||1:20.7473||0.7992|
|11||27||Colin Kaminsky||Pabst Racing||1:20.8098||0.8617|
|12||3||James Roe||Turn 3 Motorsport||1:21.0206||1.0725|
|13||40||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||1:21.4013||1.4532|
Race #1 of the triple-header is set to roll off at 11:45 am.