Parker Thompson, on a one event deal with Abel Motorsports to start the 2019 season, did everything he could to show potential partners that he can win the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires title and the valuable scholarship that comes with it.
The 21-year-old earned 64 of the 66 possible points winning his second straight race for the rookie Indy Pro 2000 team.
“I had the fantastic group of Abel Motorsports behind me,” said the 21-year-old. “They are a top-notch program. It is amazing to go out there and prove what they can do, and prove what the car can do on their rookie race.
“Technically, I wasn’t racing for a championship this weekend but coming out of here with two wins; hopefully, you’ll see a lot more of Parker Thompson and Abel Motorsports to come.”
The trip to victory lane is Canadian’s fifth in two years of Indy Pro 2000 action and is his 12th in 64 Road To Indy starts.
Reigning USF2000 champion Kyle Kirkwood was able to rebound from a disastrous first race to collect his 13th career Road To Indy podium.
“It was tough to put a situation like yesterday behind me, but the team kept me very positive,” said the 2018 USF2000 Champion. We knew we had a fast car, so I knew that if I could stay clean, we’d do well. Parker was much quicker than me in the beginning, and I was dealing with a balance issue, but the car came on at the end.
“We thought it would come in sooner, Lap 10 instead of Lap 25, but that’s all a symptom of not racing yesterday – we haven’t had more than five laps at a time this weekend so what will happen during a full 30-lap race is nearly impossible to predict. We had the pace, so to bounce back like that feels great.”
Danial Frost, the 17-year-old Exclusive Autosport rookie, utilized an aggressive first lap move from his outside third row starting spot to move into third and was able to hold off fellow Juncos Racing 17-year-old rookie Rasmus Lindh to capture his first Road To Indy podium.
Lindh, with a second and fourth place finish, has 45 points after the first weekend of competition. That leaves the Kullavik, Sweden based driver three points ahead of Frost and his fourth and third place finishes.
The baker’s dozen PM-18 machines lined up side-by-side going into the final two corners of the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit with Thompson and Kirkwood leading the field slowly to the green flag.
Thompson was able to get a great jump and made it to the apex of the first turn with no pressure from Kirkwood.
Behind the pair out front, it was Danial Frost who went three-wide with the Lindh and Moisés de la Vara. The rookie from Singapore was able to get to Turn 3 first to take the third spot.
“I started P6 (today), and my team was telling me to go a bit harder,” explained Frost after the race. “In the first race, we didn’t gain any spots. I went 10% more aggressive, and that earned me the three spots. Coming into the first corner is always scary because you don’t know what could happen alongside you or what the other drivers could do.
“To be more aggressive can cause you to crash. It’s a big risk and big reward. I kept my foot in it and kept the pedal to the meddle and got that third spot. “
After the first lap, Thompson led Kirkwood, Frost, Robb, Moisés de la Vara (DEForce Racing), Lindh, Nikia Lastochkin (Exclusive Autosport), Antonio Serravalle (Pserra Racing) Phillipe Denes (Fatboy Racing!), Damiano Fioravanti (RP Motorsport), Kory Enders (DEForce Racing), Jacob Abel (Abel Motorsports) and Parker Locke (Exclusive Autosport).
Lindh, who started fourth was the biggest loser on the first lap, but by the fifth lap the Swedish rookie was able to get by de la Vara and teammate Robb to move back into fourth, the same position he started the race.
At the half-way point of the 30 lap race, Thompson was able to build a comfortable three-second gap to Kirkwood. Kirkwood had a comfortable margin over Frost. Frost was expertly making No. 68 Exclusive Autosport PM-18 just wide enough to keep Lindh behind him.
Lindh’s teammate Robb, in fifth place, was a further two seconds behind the fellow 17-year-old.
With ten laps remaining in the race, the best battle was between newcomers Denes and Fioravanti for eighth.
Kirkwood started to slowly eat into the lead, which had shrunk to just under 2.5 seconds.
The lead with three laps remaining had fallen to 2.2 seconds, and Kirkwood turned the fastest lap of the race at 68.7697 seconds to cut the final margin to 1.4 seconds.
Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Allied Building Products Race #2 results.
|1||8||Parker Thompson||Abel Motorsports|
|2||28||Kyle Kirkwood||RP Motorsport Racing||1.4334|
|3||68||Danial Frost||Exclusive Autosport||1.4335|
|4||10||Rasmus Lindh||Juncos Racing||13.8500|
|5||2||Sting Ray Robb||Juncos Racing||16.3386|
|6||6||Moises de la Vara||DEForce Racing||19.5364|
|7||90||Nikita Lastochkin||Exclusive Autosport||30.2246|
|8||98||Phillippe Denes||FatBoy Racing||36.4224|
|9||5||Damiano Fioravanti||RP Motorsport Racing||36.6841|
|10||7||Kory Enders||DEForce Racing||37.4875|
|11||51||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||38.0881|
|12||91||Parker Locke||Exclusive Autosport||– 1 Lap|
|13||11||Antonio Serravalle||Pserra Racing||– 2 Laps|
The middle rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires is back in action on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 9, 2019.