By Tony DiZinno
Spoke to a handful of drivers, primarily in the Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tires paddock but also a couple folks in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda series, before tonight’s Carb Night Classic races.
Scott’s lost IMS opportunity, and oval debut
Talented young Englishman Harrison Scott of the RP Motorsport Racing team won his first race in dry conditions in the first of two Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course races. He very nearly had a second, had it not been for an electrical issue that cost him the telemetry on his steering wheel halfway through the race.
Scott told TSO Ladder he was closing significantly on Carlos Cunha during the race before the issue. He’d spent most of the race recovering following contact from David Malukas off the start, which knocked him out of the top five down to sixth.
Scott enters tonight’s race fourth in the standings with 116 points. He is 34 behind Parker Thompson, the championship leader, who had a huge weekend at the IMS road course with a fifth and first.
For Scott, tonight is a unique opportunity as he and the RP Motorsport Racing team make their oval debuts.
Scott called it a “different world” as he, teammate Lodovico Laurini and the RP team have a lot to learn about the completely different type of circuit. He’ll start sixth tonight.
But Scott and Laurini have quickly taken a liking to Indianapolis as a city, as they now share an apartment and have acclimated to the environment.
Megennis clarifies race two at the IMS road course start
In response to some confusion and/or misinformation following the start of the second Pro Mazda race at the IMS road course, Juncos Racing’s Robert Megennis sought to clarify it going into Lucas Oil Raceway this weekend. He released his on-board footage and posted it to social media.
Megennis actually had darted left off the start to get up to second going into Turn 1, having taking advantage of the clash between Scott (No. 10) and Malukas (No. 79), an incident which subsequently caught up one of Megennis’ other teammates Rinus VeeKay as the Dutchman slowed past the start/finish line.
Megennis, then, got tapped from behind at Turn 2, which is what basically ended his win hopes that race. He kept going but lost a lap.
As for Megennis’ return to Lucas Oil Raceway – he is one of a handful of drivers with past track experience here in USF2000 – he said it’s a massive step up to run in the Pro Mazda Tatuus PM-18 Mazda here. He’s adjusting to the grip level, but was very happy with fourth on the grid.
Exclusive’s happy pair of drivers
Pro Mazda polesitter Parker Thompson almost surprised himself when he saw a 107.716 mph lap pop up on his second qualifying lap in the No. 90 Exclusive Autosport car. But he said the setup engineer Tim Lewis has put together was excellent.
One of the Exclusive team’s USF2000 drivers, Igor Fraga, reflected on his pending oval debut. The Japanese Brazilian said of driving on ovals, “You almost have to be a robot. You are on edge, but you have to do the same lines every time. I love it so far.”
Roe’s encore visit
James Roe Jr. posted a highly impressive debut in the USF2000 series in the second Swan-RJB Motorsports car at the IMS road course two weeks ago. The Irishman is here at Lucas Oil Raceway this weekend supporting the Swan-RJB team too. His next F2000 Championship race is at VIRginia International Raceway next week. After he’d finished fifth in his second USF2000 start, he flew to Watkins Glen International and won of the races there.
Roe is unsure yet if he’ll make another USF2000 start this season. But between his impressive debut and turning up to support the team at another weekend, he hasn’t hurt his prospects by being present for more than just a one-off drive.
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