By Steve Wittich

The first Indy Lights practice began promptly at 9:30 am. The skies were bright blue, and temperatures were comfortable in the mid-60s.

Oliver Askew led the early part of the session, but it was close. The top six drivers were all within a half-second of the 22-year-old.

We were able to watch the onboard of presumptive champion Askew for several laps in the first half of the session. The Index Invest sponsored No. 28 looked stable through ten of the 11 turns. Turn 6 seemed sketchy, but the high-speed left-hander should never be comfortable.

At the one-third point of the 45-minute session, VeeKay was the quickest driver at 77.286 seconds. Askew, Norman, Megennis, and Malukas made up the remainder of the top five.

With 25 minutes remaining, only Megennis was on track. The rest of the field was on pit road making adjustments before bolting on fresh Cooper Tire rubber and heading back on the track.

Megennis finally brought his Cybersecurity sponsored car to pit road and was replaced on track by his teammate Askew, who was the first driver back on track after replacing his Portland International Raceway carry over Cooper Tires.

Askew was quickly joined by teammate Norman and Belardi Auto Racing rookie Lucas Kohl.

With 20-minutes remaining in practice, Askew turned his quickest lap of the morning. The Jupiter, Fla. native went to the top of the timing screen, dropping the lowest time in two consecutive laps. He hit pit road immediately after turning a lap of 77.1958 seconds.

Juncos Racing teammates VeeKay and Kellett were the only drivers still on pit road with 17-minutes remaining.

With 10-minutes left in the session, only VeeKay and Megennis were the only cars still on the track.

With four minutes remaining, Kohl spun at the exit of the Corkscrew. The Belco Trading/Kohltrade/IVI Vision didn’t leave the tarmac, and he was able to continue.

In the last three minutes of the session, the trio of Andretti Autosport drivers lowered the quickest lap time several times. Askew was the first driver to turn a sub-77-lap and was joined by Megennis in the 76-second range.

Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires Practice #1 results

1 28 Oliver Askew Andretti Autosport 1:16.350 –.—- 22 22
2 27 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 1:16.545 0.1949 24 24
3 48 Ryan Norman Andretti Autosport 1:17.177 0.8277 20 20
4 21 Rinus VeeKay Juncos Racing 1:17.267 0.9175 20 10
5 79 David Malukas HMD Motorsports 1:17.621 1.2709 20 8
6 2 Toby Sowery HMD Motorsports/Team Pelfrey 1:17.649 1.2989 22 18
7 67 Dalton Kellett Juncos Racing 1:18.481 2.1308 5 5
8 5 Lucas Kohl Belardi Auto Racing 1:18.592 2.2422 26 17

Indy Lights are back on track for qualifying at 3:55 pm. You can get their autograph session in the fan village at 1:30 pm.


Race Weekend Basics

Race #1: Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products
Race #2: Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products

Race #1 green flag time: Saturday, September 21 at 3:10pm
Race #2 green flag time: Sunday, September 22 at 9:10am

Race #1 distance: 30 laps or 45 minutes
Race #2 distance: 35 laps or 60 minutes

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca qualifying track record: 74.2329 seconds by Max Chilton (Carlin) in 2015
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca race track records: 76.1633 by by Max Chilton (Carlin) in 2015

  • Each entry can utilize four new sets of Cooper Tire slicks as well as one set of used/scuffed tires from the race at Portland International Raceway
  • The timing line is located at Turn 10
  • 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 and to the driver who leads the most laps.



Don’t miss any of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires action: