By Steve Wittich
Making an early statement at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during the lone Indy Lights test was Andretti Autosport rookie Kyle Kirkwood. The 22-year-old, who is eight points behind David Malukas (HMD Motorsports) on the championship table, turned a lap timed at 72.3606 seconds. That was almost three-tenths of a second quicker than Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport rookie Devlin DeFrancesco.
Positions two through eight on the timing screens were separated by less than 0.2 seconds, with spots two through six separated by only one-tenth of a second, with four of the top five drivers coming from the Andretti Autosport stable.
When the lone Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires practice began at 11:25 am, the ambient temperature was 69F, and the track temperature was 90F. The track temperature cooled down a little as thicker cloud cover started to build at the track, celebrating its 60th birthday in 2021.
The red flag came out only two minutes into the session after an incident that involved the No. 5 of Alex Peroni and the No. 26 of Linus Lundqvist.
The Carlin diver continued while the Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports rookie climbed from the car after contacting the tire barriers for the second straight session. The Dane also had an incident in the final test session this morning.
The crew could not get the Utah Airguns/HPD/Global Racing Group/FX Airguns/Paytrim/JULA sponsored No. 26 back on track, putting the 22-year-old on the back foot heading into a crucial qualifying session.
Malukas led much of the first half of 45-minute practice; before giving way Frost Kirkwood went to the top of the timing screens just before the halfway point, followed by Megennis, Frost, Toby Sowery (Juncos Racing), and Benjamin Pedersen (Global Racing Group).
Kirkwood held the top spot for the second half of practice as times started to fall. DeFrancesco grabbed the second spot on his final lap.
Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio practice results
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||QUICK LAP||DIFF.|
|1||28||Kyle Kirkwood||Andretti Autosport||1:12.3606||——|
|2||17||Devlin DeFrancesco||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport||1:12.6600||0.2994|
|3||68||Danial Frost||Andretti Autosport||1:12.6722||0.3116|
|4||79||David Malukas||HMD Motorsports||1:12.6782||0.3176|
|5||27||Robert Megennis||Andretti Autosport||1:12.7157||0.3551|
|6||2||Sting Ray Robb||Juncos Racing||1:12.7603||0.3997|
|7||51||Toby Sowery||Juncos Racing||1:12.7880||0.4274|
|8||24||Benjamin Pedersen||Global Racing Group wHMD Motorsports||1:12.8288||0.4682|
|10||11||Antonio Serravalle||Pserra Racing||1:13.3385||0.9779|
|11||59||Nikita Lastochkin||HMD Motorsports||1:13.3667||1.0061|
|13||26||Linus Lundqvist||Global Racing Group w/HMD Motorsports||No Time||—|
The top rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires is back on track for their first qualifying session at 3:35 pm.