By Patrick Stephan

I am filling in for Steve Wittich who had to depart the track a little early for a different commitment.

8 minutes in to the 3o minute session, Hunter McElrea got knocked out of P1 by Christian Rasmussen who turned a lap of 1:06.5170.  As every0ne else got back out for what looked like their second run of the session, the times started dropping as Benjamin Pedersen took the top spot briefly until McElrea bested him with a 1:06.3722.

Another lap or two later Rasmussen jumps back to P1 as the drivers worked around the 1.8 mile St. Petersburg street course. Shadows are startign to fall over portions of the track as this session approaches halfway (and 6:00pm local time).

Danial Frost moved to P2 as HMD tries to break up the Andretti Autosport part on the time sheet. Frost then drops a 1:05.8655 to take the top spot, giving us a Top 5 of Frost, McElrea, Pedersen, Abel and Rasmussen.  That’s HMD with DCR, Andretti, Global with HMD, Abel and Andretti from a team standpoint respectively.

With a little more than 15 minutes to go, the track went red for Ernie Francis, Jr who was off track near Turn 12.

Due to long shadows and possibly the local time rules, the session was shortened by it appears to be 5 minutes judging by the clock on timing and scoring.

Frost was looking good to stay in P1 as the clock was winding down, but Hunter McElrea jumped back to the top spot with a lap of 1:05.7693.

Earlier today, McElrea took the top spot in qualifying with a lap 1:05.2812.

Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires will have tomorrow off, and then McElrea will lead the field to green at 9:30AM ET on Sunday morning.

Hunter McElrea on track at St. Petersburg. Penske Entertainment: Chris Owens

Here is the time sheet from today’s final practice session:

Pos Car # Driver Best Time Diff Total Laps Best Lap Team
1 27 Hunter McElrea 1:05.7693 1:05.7693 17 17 Andretti Autosport
2 68 Danial Frost 1:05.8655 0.0962 15 8 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
3 26 Linus Lundqvist 1:06.0056 0.2363 16 16 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
4 24 Benjamin Pedersen 1:06.1055 0.3362 16 8 Global Racing Group w/ HMD Motorsports
5 83 Matthew Brabham 1:06.1678 0.3985 17 16 Andretti Autosport
6 51 Jacob Abel 1:06.2174 0.4481 17 11 Abel Motorsports
7 28 Christian Rasmussen 1:06.2226 0.4533 14 9 Andretti Autosport
8 2 Sting Ray Robb 1:06.3766 0.6073 17 16 Andretti Autosport
9 59 Manuel Sulaiman 1:06.4843 0.715 14 13 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing
10 21 Kyffin Simpson 1:06.5756 0.8063 15 9 TJ Speed Motorsports
11 12 James Roe Jr 1:06.7291 0.9598 17 15 TJ Speed Motorsports
12 99 Ernie Francis Jr 1:07.1893 1.42 10 10 Force Indy
13 11 Antonio Serravalle 1:07.7730 2.0037 16 8 Abel Motorsports
14 7 Christian Bogle 1:07.8800 2.1107 12 11 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing