By Steve Wittich
With the top ten Indy Pro 2000 drivers from the first practice separated by less than a half-second, the pair of Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix Of Mid-Ohio races will be a must-watch.
Exclusive Autosport sophomore Artem Petrov, a 2020 Indy Pro 2000 winner at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, turned a lap timed at 77.8364 seconds, leading the first practice of a vital championship weekend. The Russian comes to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 56 points from the Indy Pro 2000 championship lead.
Only seven-hundredths of a second behind Petrov was Jacob Abel, a winner in the Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered By Honda at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last weekend. Also within a half-second of Petrov were championship leader Christian Rasmussen (Jay Howard Driver Development), Jack William Miller (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports), Braden Eves (Exclusive Autosport), Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing), Manuel Sulaiman (Juncos Racing), Kyffin Simpson (Juncos Racing), Reece Gold (Juncos Racing) and James Roe (Turn 3 Motorsport).
The ambient temperature when the 30-minute session began was 69F, and the track temperature was 89F.
At the session’s halfway point, Eves was the quickest, with Abel, Petrov, Rasmussen, and McElrea rounding out the top five.
With ten minutes left in practice, Eves, with a circuit of the 2.258-Mile, 13-Turn Mid-Ohio Road Course timed at 78.1435 seconds, was still at the top of the timing screens.
The first driver to knock the Ohioan from the top spot was his teammate Petrov, followed closely by Miller.
Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix Of Mid-Ohio practice results
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||QUICK LAP||DIFF.||LAPS|
|1||42||Artem Petrov||Exclusive Autosport||1:17.8364||1:17.8364||20|
|2||51||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||1:17.9129||0.0765||17|
|3||1||Christian Rasmussen||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:18.0598||0.2234||15|
|4||40||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||1:18.0845||0.2481||20|
|5||91||Braden Eves||Exclusive Autosport||1:18.1435||0.3071||20|
|6||18||Hunter McElrea||Pabst Racing||1:18.1634||0.3270||20|
|7||22||Manuel Sulaiman||Juncos Racing||1:18.1978||0.3614||17|
|8||21||Kyffin Simpson||Juncos Racing||1:18.2252||0.3888||16|
|9||55||Reece Gold||Juncos Racing||1:18.2563||0.4199||14|
|10||3||James Roe||Turn 3 Motorsport||1:18.2976||0.4612||17|
|11||5||Wyatt Brichacek||Jay Howard Driver Development||1:18.6174||0.7810||21|
|12||11||Hunter Yeany||Velocity Racing Development||1:18.8124||0.9760||16|
The middle rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires is back on track for qualifying at 1:45 pm.