Artem Petrov in the Road To Success/Bell/226ers sponsored No. 42 Exclusive Autosport PM-18 during testing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Photo credit: Gavin Baker Photography/Road to Indy

By Steve Wittich

With the top ten Indy Pro 2000 drivers from the first practice separated by less than a half-second, the pair of Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix Of Mid-Ohio races will be a must-watch.

Exclusive Autosport sophomore Artem Petrov, a 2020 Indy Pro 2000 winner at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, turned a lap timed at 77.8364 seconds, leading the first practice of a vital championship weekend. The Russian comes to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 56 points from the Indy Pro 2000 championship lead.

Only seven-hundredths of a second behind Petrov was Jacob Abel, a winner in the Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered By Honda at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last weekend. Also within a half-second of Petrov were championship leader Christian Rasmussen (Jay Howard Driver Development), Jack William Miller (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports), Braden Eves (Exclusive Autosport), Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing), Manuel Sulaiman (Juncos Racing), Kyffin Simpson (Juncos Racing), Reece Gold (Juncos Racing) and James Roe (Turn 3 Motorsport).

The ambient temperature when the 30-minute session began was 69F, and the track temperature was 89F.

At the session’s halfway point, Eves was the quickest, with Abel, Petrov, Rasmussen, and McElrea rounding out the top five.

With ten minutes left in practice, Eves, with a circuit of the 2.258-Mile, 13-Turn Mid-Ohio Road Course timed at 78.1435 seconds, was still at the top of the timing screens.

The first driver to knock the Ohioan from the top spot was his teammate Petrov, followed closely by Miller.

Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix Of Mid-Ohio practice results

1 42 Artem Petrov Exclusive Autosport 1:17.8364 1:17.8364 20
2 51 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports 1:17.9129 0.0765 17
3 1 Christian Rasmussen Jay Howard Driver Development 1:18.0598 0.2234 15
4 40 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1:18.0845 0.2481 20
5 91 Braden Eves Exclusive Autosport 1:18.1435 0.3071 20
6 18 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1:18.1634 0.3270 20
7 22 Manuel Sulaiman Juncos Racing 1:18.1978 0.3614 17
8 21 Kyffin Simpson Juncos Racing 1:18.2252 0.3888 16
9 55 Reece Gold Juncos Racing 1:18.2563 0.4199 14
10 3 James Roe Turn 3 Motorsport 1:18.2976 0.4612 17
11 5 Wyatt Brichacek Jay Howard Driver Development 1:18.6174 0.7810 21
12 11 Hunter Yeany Velocity Racing Development 1:18.8124 0.9760 16

The middle rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires is back on track for qualifying at 1:45 pm.