For the second straight Road To Indy race, it was a Soul Red car of a scholarship winner that drove to victory lane at Road America. Reigning USF2000 champion Kyle Kirkwood made a strong pass on a restart and led 13 of 15 laps to win his first Indy Pro 2000 race. It’s the 13th career Road To Indy win for the 20-year-old RP Motorsport pilot.
An impressive sixth to second place drive by Guatemalan Ian Rodriguez secured a one-two finish for RP Motorsport, matching the one-two finish in the middle-rung of the Road To Indy ladder at Road America last year.
Pole-sitter Parker Thompson, a solo Abel Motorsports this weekend, got his season back on track with his ninth Indy Pro 2000 and 27th career Road To Indy podium.
When the green flag flew to start the 15-lap race, pole sitter Thompson got a significant jump on outside front row sitter Sting Ray Robb and the entire outside lane. Kyle Kirkwood, who started right behind Thompson was able to follow the Canadian cleanly through the high-speed Turn 1.
Behind them, Robb, Danial Frost, and Rasmus Lindh went three-wide into the first corner. An incident between the three drivers left Frost stranded on course, with Robb and Lindh both falling back a few positions.
The yellow flag came out to retrieve Frost’s Exclusive Autosport No. 68 and the running order at the end of the first lap was: Thompson, Kirkwood, Ian Rodriguez, Moisés de la Vara, Robb, Lindh, Phillippe Denes, Nikita Lastochkin, Kory Enders, Jacob Loomis and Frost (who was retired).
RP Motorsport rookie Kirkwood was able to make a move to the lead on the restart, leading his first lap of the season.
On lap five, Lindh was able to get by de la Vara to move up to fourth, and seven laps later moved up to the final spot on the podium.
Behind the top five, Lastochkin was able to gain three spots in five laps to move to fifth after getting by de la Vara.
On Lap 8, the yellow flag came out when de la Vara’s DEForce Racing No. 6 skipped across the gravel trap and into the tire barriers on the outside of the Carousel.
The running order when the green flag came out with five laps to go was: Kirkwood, Thompson, Rodriguez, Lindh, Lastochkin, Robb, Denes, Loomis and Enders.
Thompson, for the second straight restart, lost positions. This time, it was the second RP Motorsport driver, Rodriguez, who along with Lindh, was able to get past the veteran on the first lap back to green.
Kirkwood’s lead at the start of the second to the last lap was 2.4 seconds over his RP Motorsport teammate, who was being pressured heavily by Lindh.
The battling between the No. 5 and No. 10 allowed Thompson to get back into the fight, with the three cars covered by less than a second.
Rodriguez, in only his third Road To Indy start, was able to hold Lindh and Thompson behind him to complete an RP Motorsport one-two result.
Thompson got a great exit of Turn 3 on that final lap and was able to make a text-book pass of Lindh on the inside of Turn 5.
Thompson was able to get back on the podium, passing Lindh on the inside into Turn 5, taking back the final step of the podium and outscoring championship leader Lindh.
Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Road America Powered by Elite Engines Indy Pro 2000 Race #1 Unofficial Results.
|1||28||Kyle Kirkwood||RP Motorsport Racing||15 LAPS|
|2||5||Ian Rodriguez||RP Motorsport Racing||-4.7096|
|3||8||Parker Thompson||Abel Motorsports||-5.2599|
|4||10||Rasmus Lindh||Juncos Racing||-5.9208|
|5||90||Nikita Lastochkin||Exclusive Autosport||-6.6035|
|6||98||Phillippe Denes||FatBoy Racing||-7.5689|
|7||2||Sting Ray Robb||Juncos Racing||-7.9741|
|8||9||Jacob Loomis||JDL Racing||-10.5813|
|9||7||Kory Enders||DEForce Racing||-12.7469|
|10||6||Moises de la Vara||DEForce Racing||-11.4078|
|11||68||Danial Frost||Exclusive Autosport||-15 LAPS|
Indy Pro 2000 gets the green flag for their second race of the weekend at 10:05 am on Sunday.