By Tony DiZinno
The seventh round of the 2022 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season at Road America will mirror the fourth round at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course: it’s got a mid-race pause following a red flag.
The difference on this occasion is that the IMS road course delay was weather-enforced due to lightning in the area. This one was due to an incident at Turn 5, with Christian Bogle’s car hitting the entrance curbing in the center, launching nose first into the catch fencing and proceeding to tear down a section of the fence.
Bogle got out of his No. 7 Pelican Energy Dallara IL-15 for HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing OK, but work began immediately to diagnose and repair the fence section. Bogle was seen and released from the infield medical center following the incident.
With a time-certain window of 12:30 p.m. EDT / 11:30 a.m. CDT and local time for today’s Sonsio Grand Prix At Road America race for the NTT INDYCAR Series, prioritization was made to ensure repairs took place in the run-up to the race.
Indy Lights Race Control reported at 10:20 a.m. CDT local time: “The race will not resume in its current window. Cars will be brought back to the fuel area near INDYCAR Tech Inspection for impound. Resumption info will be published soon.”
This was an immediate change from an initial communication where teams were to return to their tents. By changing from their tents to impound, this will allow the teams to tear down their tents.
At 10:48 p.m. CDT, IndyCar and Indy Lights confirmed a restart time of 2:15 p.m. for this race. Radical Cup and Vintage Indy Registry action shift to 3:05 and 4:05 p.m., respectively.
Race Recap Through 9 Laps
Before the red flag, it was a pretty eventful first nine laps.
The Andretti Autosport quartet of Sting Ray Robb, Hunter McElrea, Christian Rasmussen and Matthew Brabham started up front ahead of three of the five HMD with DCR cars: Danial Frost, Linus Lundqvist and Benjamin Pedersen.
The opening lap featured Rasmussen darting to the inside of Robb into Turn 1, moving into the lead and appearing to push Robb off the road on corner exit. Brabham moved up to third, with McElrea fourth. Behind them Pedersen was working to get around the outside of Frost for fifth at Turn 6, having already passed Lundqvist. Brabham’s lap then featured an off-road excursion at Turn 7, and fell in behind Jacob Abel. Ernie Francis Jr. attempted to advance but went into the back of Frost. He caromed off the course and into the gravel through Turn 8.
Pedersen, meanwhile, went around Abel on the outside through the Kink. That was the last move complete before Race Control called a full-course caution to retrieve Francis.
So after the eventful Lap 1, the order was Rasmussen, Robb, McElrea, Brabham, Pedersen, Abel, Frost, Lundqvist, Bogle, Serravalle, Roe and Simpson with Francis Jr. into pits for a new front wing and two new front Cooper Tires.
The restart occurred at the start of Lap 4 with more action.
McElrea overshot the apex of Turn 1, with Brabham moving by on the inside into Turn 3. Pedersen locked up to avoid contact. McElrea late tried on the outside of Brabham into Turn 5 and was unable to complete the pass, and three corners later ran wide at Turn 8. That moved Pedersen up to fourth. After the fracas, McElrea radioed in to ask if he had damage to his front wing, but it appeared all good.
At Lap 5, Rasmussen led Robb by 0.647 of a second with Brabham, Pedersen and McElrea still in the top five ahead of Abel, Frost and Lundqvist.
Serravalle pulled off course driver’s left at Turn 6 with a heavy plume of smoke coming out the rear of his No. 11 HMD with DCR entry, and a large amount of oil coating the track. HMD team manager A.J. Smith told the Peacock broadcast there was a fire he needed to tend to, but Serravalle was able to get out of his car fine.
The race resumed at the end of Lap 8 and start of Lap 9 with more action on the run to Turn 5.
In a three-wide battle among the Andretti teammates, Brabham was outside, Rasmussen in the middle and Robb on the inside into Turn 1. They somehow all made it through the corner with Robb ahead of Rasmussen, Brabham having to back out from the outside, with Robb forceful in his maneuvering to the front. Pedersen’s eventful race continued as he had to dart to the inside entering Turn 3, hit signs on the grass, and resumed.
The full-course caution flew then for Bogle’s car stopped on course with front end damage driver’s right at Turn 5. But the replay showed it had been a more significant bit of contact than otherwise expected.
Bogle, seeking to avoid running into the back of teammate Lundqvist as the field concertinaed into Turn 5, hit the curb driver’s right and launched into the catch fencing. The fence caught car, sheered away sections, and brought it back down to earth.
This brought out the third full course caution of the race, and then the red flag.
Fortunately, there was a lighter note that followed.
New leader Robb spoke to Peacock reporter Georgia Henneberry and made a callback to another red flag that affected James Hinchcliffe in the past, at Barber in 2018.
“The starts here are absolutely insane with your three teammates,” he explained. “I have a good car underneath me. I drank too many fluids… I’m trying to not pull a James Hinchcliffe in the rain at Barber.”
That reference was when Hinchcliffe did an interview with Kevin Lee in the rain there, noting he had to answer nature’s call mere moments before INDYCAR officials called drivers out of their cars.
Hinchcliffe was filling in for Charlie Kimball in the Peacock booth this week with Lee, and laughed noting “Speaking from experience, he should do what he needs to do.”
Once officials called the drivers out of their car, Robb’s pace continued as he was able to dart swiftly to a nearby restroom but still had to wait. Some fun banter ensued on the broadcast.
Here is the order at the red flag:
Indy Lights GP at Road America – Race – Order Through 9/20 Laps
|1||2||Sting Ray Robb||Andretti Autosport||9||LAP 9|
|2||28||Christian Rasmussen||Andretti Autosport||9||In Pit|
|3||83||Matthew Brabham||Andretti Autosport||9||In Pit|
|4||27||Hunter McElrea||Andretti Autosport||9||In Pit|
|5||68||Danial Frost||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||9||In Pit|
|6||51||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||9||In Pit|
|7||24||Benjamin Pedersen||Global Racing Group with HMD||9||In Pit|
|8||26||Linus Lundqvist||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||9||In Pit|
|9||21||Kyffin Simpson||TJ Speed Motorsports||9||In Pit|
|10||12||James Roe||TJ Speed Motorsports||9||In Pit|
|11||7||Christian Bogle||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||8||Contact|
|12||99||Ernie Francis Jr.||Force Indy||8||In Pit|
|13||11||Antonio Serravalle||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||5||Mechanical|
Indy Lights GP at Road America – Push-to-Pass Time Remaining (Out of 150 Seconds)
|1||2||Sting Ray Robb||Andretti Autosport||143|
|2||28||Christian Rasmussen||Andretti Autosport||143|
|3||83||Matthew Brabham||Andretti Autosport||118|
|4||27||Hunter McElrea||Andretti Autosport||123|
|5||68||Danial Frost||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||133|
|6||51||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||115|
|7||24||Benjamin Pedersen||Global Racing Group with HMD||126|
|8||26||Linus Lundqvist||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||148|
|9||21||Kyffin Simpson||TJ Speed Motorsports||144|
|10||12||James Roe||TJ Speed Motorsports||140|
|11||7||Christian Bogle||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||133|
|12||99||Ernie Francis Jr.||Force Indy||144|
|13||11||Antonio Serravalle||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||135|