Two of the three leading contenders for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship will start in the top two positions on the grid for the second race of the Mazda Road to Indy Grand Prix Presented by Royal Purple Supporting the Lupus Foundation of America weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Kyle Kaiser has his second pole position of the season for Juncos Racing, as the driver of the No. 18 Dallara IL-15 Mazda set the only sub-1:15 lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn circuit in Saturday morning’s 30-minute qualifying session, at 1:14.9629.
Kaiser has finished between second and sixth in all five races thus far and enters three points behind Andretti/Steinbrenner Racing rookie Colton Herta, like Kaiser a fellow Californian, ahead of today’s race. Herta put his No. 98 entry into second on the grid at 1:15.1339.
The two will be looking for a smoother start today then the last time they qualified first and second at Barber race one. There, Kaiser and Herta had the front row but a bunched up start coming to the line saw Herta damage his front wing while trying to slot in behind Kaiser going into the downhill, left-handed Turn 1. Herta ultimately fell to 10th while Kaiser was in some respects happy to be frustrated with second behind eventual winner Nico Jamin.
Jamin, the Andretti Autosport driver and Friday winner, who like Kaiser is also three points behind Herta entering today’s race (110-107), was only able to manage seventh on the grid today.
Brazilian Matheus Leist was best of the Carlin quartet in his No. 26 entry and will start third, ahead of Belardi with SPM driver Santiago Urrutia and Juan Piedrahita, impressing with fifth in the repaired No. 2 Team Pelfrey entry.
The Colombian driver will be set to make his 100th career start in the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires this afternoon, thanks to the Gary Neal-led team’s work in repairing the car. Neal told TSO the team was at the track until 8:30 p.m. on Friday following Piedrahita’s accident in practice, which saw him lose control through the chicane and sustain significant right side damage.
Neil Alberico was sixth ahead of Jamin, Dalton Kellett, Friday runner-up Zachary Claman De Melo and Shelby Blackstock. Aaron Telitz, the St. Petersburg winner, struggled to only 13th on the grid of 14 cars.
The feature race of the weekend sets sail this afternoon in the 1:15 to 2:25 p.m. window.
|9||13||Zachary Claman De Melo||1:15.673|