By Steve Wittich
With only six points separating Rasmus Lindh and Kyle Kirkwood at the top of the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires points table. The middle rung on the Road To Indy ladder is the closest of the three championships headed to the final two events of the 2019 season.
Juncos Racing rookie Lindh has held the lead since the second race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in May, a span of nine races.
The duo has shared the podium six times this season, including the last four races.
Kirkwood had two finishes outside of the top 10 in the first five races of the season, giving Swede Lindh a 45-point head start after the series left Indianapolis, Ind.
Since then, Kirkwood has won six of seven races to close the gap to six points with four races remaining.
The Jupiter, Fla. native leads Lindh six wins to two wins, but Lindh has been more consistent. Scoring ten podiums – versus eight for Kirkwood – and has not finished worse than fourth this season. Lindh’s average finish in the first 12 races of the season is 2.4 versus Kirkwood with an average finish of 4.1.
Both drivers visited the Portland International Raceway as USF2000 drivers last year. Kirkwood won both races with Lindh finishing fourth in the first race and second in the final race of the season.
The middle rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires has visited Rose City for in nine seasons and contested a total of 11 races.
Previous Indy Pro 2000 winners at Portland International Raceway
|2018 Race #2||Davis Malukas||BN Racing|
|2018 Race #1||Oliver Askew||Cape Motorsports|
|2008 Race #2||John Edwards||AIM Autosport|
|2008 Race #1||Tom Gladdis||Andersen Racing|
|2007||Devin Cunningham||AIM Autosport|
|2006||Michael Potekhen||Apex Racing|
|2005||Graham Rahal||Andersen Walko Racing|
|2004||Michael Potekhen||Eurosports Racing|
|2001||Marc De Vellis||De Vellis Racing|
|2000||Alex Figge||World Speed Motorsports|
With the title fight certainly headed to the finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, bonus points could very well come into play.
Each race has three bonus points available; one each for winning the pole, leading the most laps, and turning the quickest race lap.
Kirkwood has scored 15 bonus points so far, leading Lindh by five points in the critical category. Currently, only six drivers have scored bonus points in Indy Pro 2000 this season.
RP Motorsport rookie Kirkwood has four poles, led the most laps six times and has been the fastest driver during a race on five occasions.
Eighteen-year-old Lindh has started on the pole four times, led the most laps in three races and has been the fastest driver three times.
Indy Pro 2000 bonus points
|1||Kyle Kirkwood – R||163|
|2||Rasmus Lindh – R||158|
|3||Sting Ray Robb||111|
|6||Ian Rodriguez- R||99|
|7||Danial Frost – R||86|
|8||Phillippe Denes – R||79|
|9||Antonio Serravalle – R||68|
|10||Moisés de la Vara||63|
|11||Kory Enders – R||56|
|12||Jacob Abel – R||49|
|14||Jacob Loomis – R||48|
Natural terrain road courses
Kyle Kirkwood has a slight advantage over Rasmus Lindh when it comes to the series first six races on natural terrain road courses – two each the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Road America and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The pair have won all six races.
Kirkwood has four wins, two poles, five podiums and led 73 laps to collect 163 points.
Lindh has two wins, three poles, five podiums and led 55 laps to score 158 points.
Danial Frost, Sting Ray Robb, Ian Rodriguez and Parker Thompson each have two natural terrain road course podiums.
Other things to play for
One of the prizes for the first three drivers in the Indy Pro 2000 championship is an Indy Lights test, something that Oliver Askew parlayed into a ride last year.
Currently, Abel Motorsports veteran Parker Thompson holds down the third spot in the championship with 259 points but has a pair of hungry drivers nipping at his heels.
Exclusive Autosport rookie Danial Frost is only five points adrift, while Sting Ray Robb, the hottest of the three, is only 18 points back.
Over the last three races, the Juncos Racing veteran has scored 68 points versus 52 points for both Thompson and Frost. Game on!
The drivers between seventh and 12th in the championship – Kory Enders (DEForce Racing), Moisés de la Vara (DEForce Racing), Phillippe Denes (Fatboy Racing!), Jacob Abel (Abel Motorsports), Ian Rodriguez (RP Motorsport) and Antonio Serravalle (Pserra Racing) are separated by only 27 points.
2019 Indy Pro 2000 points through 12 of 16 races
|1||Rasmus Lindh – R||323|
|2||Kyle Kirkwood – R||317||-6|
|4||Danial Frost – R||254||-69|
|5||Sting Ray Robb||241||-82|
|7||Kory Enders – R||158||-165|
|8||Moisés de la Vara||148||-175|
|9||Phillippe Denes – R||146||-177|
|10||Jacob Abel – R||140||-183|
|11||Ian Rodriguez- R||132||-191|
|12||Antonio Serravalle – R||131||-192|
|14||Jacob Loomis – R||48||-275|
|16||Damiano Fioravanti – R||22||-301|
|17||Artem Petrov – R||21||-302|
|18||Parker Locke – R||20||-303|
Home race for Sting Ray Robb
The trip from Sting Ray Robb’s Payette, Idaho home to Portland Ore. is just under 400 miles. That makes the Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products at Portland International Raceway the Idahoan’s ‘home race.’
The soon to be 18-year-old will well over 100 guests in attendance and taking part in several activities with his fans, family, and sponsors.
The Juncos Racing veteran will:
- host a fan camp on Friday and Saturday
- take part in the Kingdom Racing Miles of Smiles program
- be interviewed on the Cooper Tire Stage (by Steve from TSO Ladder)
- and, in possibly the most Idaho thing ever at a race track, host potato sack races
Matthew Round-Garrido, a podium finisher in USF2000 in Toronto, Ontario earlier this year, will be making a move up a step on the ladder. The 20-year-old will in the Excel Labs/No Stone Unturned sponsored No. 27 from the Jay Howard Driver Development stable. It’s the first time the team and driver have run an Indy Pro 2000 race.
Antonio Serravalle along with family-run Psera Racing is moving the Tycoon Capital Limited No. 11 from under the Jay Howard Driver Development tent to the RP Motorsport tent.
“I am really excited to join RP Motorsports this coming weekend,” explained Serravalle. “From the outside, they look to be a great team and obviously have fast equipment which has been proven by Kyle Kirkwood. We needed a change, and with only two events remaining on the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 calendar, it was better to explore our options now, rather than wait until the offseason.”
Other Steve type things
- Kyle Kirkwood has led 135 straight laps and 158 of the last 194 laps
- Kyle Kirkwood has 18 Road To Indy wins in 26 starts, a win percentage of an astounding 69.2%.
- Parker Thompson making his 75th Road To Indy start in Race #1
- Kory Enders first Indy Pro 2000 podium on the World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway oval moved him from 11th in points to 7th in points.
- The only Indy Pro 2000 champions that won at Portland International Raceway were Joey Hand (1999) and John Edwards (2008).
- The pole sitter at Portland International Raceway has only won twice in 11 races. The average starting position of the winners is 2.8.
- In 2010, Devin Cunningham won from the outside of the fifth row, the furthest back a winner has come from.
- On two occasions, Jason LaPoint in 2000 and Adrian Carrio in 2006, the pole-sitter has failed to finish the race.
- The average finishing position of the inside front row starters is 9.1.
Race Weekend Basics
Race #1: Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products
Race #2: Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products
Race #1 distance: 30 laps or 40 minutes
Race #2 distance: 30 laps or 40 minutes
Each entry can utilize three new sets of Cooper Tire slicks as well as one set of used/scuffed tires from the test at Portland International Raceway.
Drivers failing to slow at least 15% in a timing sector with a local yellow will be subject to a two-place grid spot penalty
Drivers who fail to heed the checkered flag at the end of a session will receive a two-grid spot penalty
Causing one red flag will result in a driver losing their fastest lap
Causing a second red flag will wipe out all of drivers laps and they will be parked for the remainder of the session
Driver points are distributed as follows: 30 – 25 – 22 – 19 – 17 – 15 -14 – 13 – 12 – 11 – 10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – an additional one point will be awarded to the pole sitter, to the driver who leads the most laps, and to the driver who turns the quickest race lap
Watch last year’s races from Portland International Raceway.
Don’t miss any of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires action:
- download the Road To Indy TV app from the Apple App Store or on Google Play to get video, audio, timing & scoring, news from TSO Ladder and much more – you can also get Road To Indy TV via Apple TV, Amazon Video, Roku or Microsoft Xbox One
- IndyCar Radio will have all of your Indy Lights action at IndyCar Race Control, indycarradio.com, the tune-in app and website, XM Channel 209, Sirius Channel 216, Web Channel 970, or the Sirius / XM app
- Indy Lights races will be available for view with the purchase in the USA with the purchase of the NBC Gold IndyCar Package
- Outside of the USA, you’ll be able to watch the Indy Lights races on all of the Road To Indy TV app delivery options, Indy Lights YouTube channel, and Road To Indy TV Facebook page
- live timing – Road To Indy TV – Indy Lights – Pro Mazda – USF2000 – IndyCar Race Control
- on twitter – TSO Ladder – Team Cooper Tire – Road To Indy TV – Indy Lights – Indy Pro 2000 – USF2000
- on all social media channels via the #TeamCooperTire and #RoadToIndy hashtags
- please subscribe to the following YouTube channels: Road To Indy TV for a post-race weekend wrap-up show, and USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 for previous races.