By Steve Wittich
After a forgettable weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, 2019 Indy Pro 2000 champion Kyle Kirkwood began his home state event on the right foot. The Andretti Autosport rookie turned a lap at 65.3824 seconds, a slim one-hundredth of a second ahead of Carlin rookie Alex Peroni.
Rounding out the top five were David Malukas (HMD Motorsports), Danial Frost (Andretti Autosport) and Linus Lundqvist (Global Racing Group w/ HMD Motorsports).
Only three Indy Lights pilots are making their first Road To Indy starts on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn St. Petersburg street circuit. Peroni and Lundqvist finished the session in the top five, and Benjamin Pedersen (Global Racing Group w/HMD) was sixth-best.
One-second covered the top nine drivers, with all 13 entries covered by only 1.4 seconds.
After 15 of 45-minutes, Malukas was at the top of the timing screens with a lap timed at 66.9609 seconds. DeFrancesco, Frost, Lundqvist, and Kirkwood followed the HMD Motorsports sophomore in the top five.
With 23 minutes remaining in the session, Frost, who had a pair of Indy Pro 2000 podiums in St. Petersburg, Fla. in October, briefly took the top spot. The Singaporean’s time with the quickest lap was brief. On his next hot lap, Malukas went back to the point.
With 20 minutes remaining in the session, Frost became the first driver to break the 66-second barrier, with the following five drivers are within six-tenths-of-a-second of Frost.
With just over 16 minutes remaining in practice, the red flag came out Frost. His DAN-JET sponsored No. 68 IL-15 from the Andretti Autosport stable got too deep into Turn 10, running wide, clipping the tires with his right-rear before making moderate impact with the concrete jersey-barriers with the right front.
The 19-year-old got out of the car under his own power, but the Andretti Autosport crew will have some work to do to get his car ready for qualifying in just over two hours.
With a lap time at 65.9561 seconds, Frost had the quickest time when the green flag came back out with 13-minutes left in the lone Indy Lights practice session. The top five, including Malukas, Peroni, DeFrancesco and Kirkwood, were all within four-tenths-of-a-second of the top spot.
Timing and scoring went wonky over the last fifteen minutes of the session, but apparently, Kirkwood and Peroni found some speed near the end of the session after bolting on fresh Cooper Tire slicks.
Indy Lights Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by Foundation Building Materials practice #1 results
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||QUICK LAP||DIFFERENCE||TOTAL LAPS|
|1||28||Kyle Kirkwood||Andretti Autosport||65.3824||—||27|
|3||79||David Malukas||HMD Motorsports||65.6652||-0.2828||25|
|4||68||Danial Frost||Andretti Autosport||65.9561||-0.5737||16|
|5||26||Linus Lundqvist||Global Racing Group w/HMD Motorsports||66.0469||-0.6645||26|
|6||24||Benjamin Pedersen||Global Racing Group wHMD Motorsports||66.2086||-0.8262||26|
|7||17||Devlin DeFrancesco||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport||66.2278||-0.8454||27|
|8||27||Robert Megennis||Andretti Autosport||66.2484||-0.866||26|
|9||51||Toby Sowery||Juncos Racing||66.3729||-0.9905||27|
|10||2||Sting Ray Robb||Juncos Racing||66.6443||-1.2619||25|
|11||11||Antonio Serravalle||Pserra Racing||66.7245||-1.3421||24|
|12||59||Nikita Lastochkin||HMD Motorsports||66.7343||-1.3519||26|