By Steve Wittich
For the second straight race, Juncos Racing veteran was the first driver to cross the iconic yard of bricks, leading flag to flag after starting on the pole and leading all 20-laps.
The just-turned 19-year-old is the first Indy Pro 2000 driver to win three races this season, and a ‘max’ point haul has moved the Idahoan to within four points of championship leader Devlin DeFrancesco.
Robb’s win is the Speedway, Ind. Juncos Racing’s seventh win at their hometown track.
Robb had the quickest lap of the race and will start the event’s final race from the pole.
With a terrific first lap, DeFrancesco moved from fourth to second, grabbing his fifth podium of the season. The 20-year-old had the third quickest lap of the race and will start race #3 from the inside of the second row.
Rounding out the Race #2 podium was Artem Petrov; it’s his fourth podium of 2020.
Pabst Racing rookie Hunter McElrea had the second quickest lap of Race #2 and will start outside of Robb, his best starting spot of the season.
The call to fire the 275hp engines for the Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix race #2 came a few minutes late at 1:02 pm.
The pace car brought the field through the first 12 turns of the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course before turning things over to the front row of Robb and Petrov.
Robb got a significant jump, getting to Turn 1 first and grabbing the lead. DeFrancesco, who started fourth, was able to move up to the second spot.
Just as they finished the first lap, Colin Kaminsky came to pit road for a quick repair. He was able to get back on track on the lead lap.
The running order at the end of the first lap was Robb, DeFrancesco, Petrov, Thompson, Frost, Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing), Manuel Sulaiman (DEForce Racing), Jacob Loomis (BN Racing with Team Benik), Moisés de la Vara (DEForce Racing), Nate Aranda (Juncos Racing), Antoine Comeau (Turn 3 Motorsports) Kory Enders (DEForce Racing), Bob Kaminsky (Pabst Racing), and Colin Kaminsky (Pabst Racing).
After his hard crash on Thursday, Braden Eves (Exclusive Autosport) was not able to start. We’ll
On Lap 2, in Turn 1, McElrea and Sulaiman made contact, with the No. 8 DEForce Racing PM-18 of the Mexican driver going through the grass. He made it to the back straight but pulled off and out of danger, keeping the track green.
At the one-quarter pole, Robb’s lead over DeFrancesco had grown to 1.3 seconds. The Kimoa sponsored No. 17 had only a 0.7-second gap to third place Petrov. Thompson and Frost rounded out the rest of the top five.
The two best battles on track was between Frost and McElrea for fifth and also between Aranda, Loomis, and Comeau for eighth.
In the latter portions of the first half of the race, Robb was turning laps one or two tenths quicker than DeFrancesco. Right behind DeFrancesco, Petrov and Thompson were also lapping just a little quicker than the Andretti Steinbrenner Racing driver.
At the halfway point of the 20-lap race, Robb’s gap to second place DeFrancesco was 1.8 seconds, with DeFrancesco, Petrov, and Thompson separated by only 1.3 seconds. The rest of the top 10 was Frost, McElrea, de la Vara, Loomis, Aranda, Comeau, Bob Kaminsky, Colin Kaminsky, Enders, and Sulaiman.
On Lap 11, DeFrancesco was able to gain four-tenths of a second on Robb, moving to within 1.5 seconds.
On Lap 12, in Turn 1, Thompson got loose but could gather the car back up and didn’t lose a position.
Throughout the next four laps, Robb was able to pull out to a comfortable 2.1 second lead with five laps remaining.
Behind Robb, DeFrancesco was facing pressure from Petrov and Thompson for the step on the podium.
The Andretti Steinbrenner Racing driver had a 0.8-second gap to Petrov with three laps to go. The leaders were starting to encounter traffic, but all of them were able to navigate that safely.
With two laps remaining, Robb’s lead was 2.1 seconds.
Robb took the white flag with a 1.9-second gap to second place DeFrancesco, who was turning the same lap times as the two drivers chasing him.
Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Indy Grand Prix race #2 qualifying results (unofficial)
|1||2||Sting Ray Robb||Juncos Racing||20 LAPS|
|2||17||Devlin DeFrancesco||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport||-1.9818|
|3||42||Artem Petrov||Juncos Racing||-2.8869|
|4||9||Parker Thompson||DEForce Racing||-3.9163|
|5||68||Danial Frost||Turn 3 Motorsport||-7.1628|
|6||18||Hunter McElrea||Pabst Racing||-8.4453|
|7||6||Moises de la Vara||DEForce Racing||-21.4232|
|8||36||Jacob Loomis||BN Racing||-24.579|
|9||69||Nate Aranda||Juncos Racing||-37.1746|
|10||57||Bob Kaminsky||Pabst Racing||-56.6819|
|11||19||Colin Kaminsky||Pabst Racing||-1 LAP|
|12||3||Antoine Comeau||Turn 3 Motorsport||-1 LAP|
|13||7||Kory Enders||DEForce Racing||-15 LAPS|
|14||8||Manuel Sulaiman||DEForce Racing||-19 LAPS|
Friday, September 4, 2020
4pm – 4:50pm – Indy Pro 2000 Race #3 (25 laps or 50 minutes)