By Steve Wittich
A second dominant performance by HMD Motorsports w/Dale Coyne Racing veteran Linus Lundqvist, his third straight win and fourth of the season, gives the Swede a massive 84-point lead in the fight for the scholarship and a seat in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
After a disappointing Saturday, McElrea and Robb rebounded for podium finishes.
After having two drive shafts fail on Saturday, the HMD Motorsports/Global Racing Group put ten new drive shafts in their five cars.
Race control gave the command to fire the 14 turbocharged 2.0L AER engines at 12:05 pm.
After morning showers, the skies were primarily cloudy, and the ambient temperature was struggling to hit 70F.
After a pair of pace laps behind the Chevrolet Corvette pace car, the front row of Lundqvist and Robb led the field to the green flag to get the 30-lap Indy Lights Detroit Grand Prix underway.
Either Lundqvist got a significant jump, or Robb got a poor start.
In Turn 3, Abel was pushed wide by a loose Brabham in Turn 3, bounding over the aggressive curbing and grass and losing a spot to Frost. Race control reviewed the incident but decided that no action was necessary.
The running order after the first lap was Lundqvist, McElrea, Rasmussen, Robb, Brabham, Frost, Abel, Serravalle, Francis, Jr. Simpson, Pedersen, Roe, Bogle and Phinny.
Pedersen, who started 13th after breaking a half-shaft in qualifying on Saturday, gained four spots to ninth over the first two laps.
On Lap 4, Simpson made a daring pass of Francis in Turn 12 to move to 10th, and ahead of them, Pederson continued his march forward. The Dane moved by Serravalle and Abel in consecutive laps to move to seventh.
After five laps, Lundqvist built a significant 3.4 seconds over McElrea, who had his mirrors full of teammate Rasmussen and Robb, who were within eight-tenths of a second of the American-born Kiwi.
Simpson, on Lap 7, moved to ninth, getting around Serravalle.
At the front
On Lap 8, the yellow flag came out when the Pelican Energy sponsored No. 7 of Bogle hammered the wall with the right side of his car at the exit of Turn 13. It appeared that the tallest driver in the field lost the rear end of the car before it hooked back up, hitting the wall at a 45-degree angle.
The 21-year-old from Covington, La., got out of the car under his own power.
At the same time, Phinny came to pit road and the attention of the Abel Motorsports crew, losing one lap.
The yellow flag erased an almost six-second lead for Lundqvist.
Under yellow, the running order was Lundqvist, McElrea, Rasmussen, Robb, Brabham, Frost, Pedersen, Abel, Simpson, Serravalle, Francis, Jr., Roe Phinny, and Bogle (out).
The restart came when the field started Lap 11, with the drivers remaining nose-to-tail for the first lap back to green.
On Lap 12, race control announced an incident between Serravalle and Francis Jr. between Turn 7 and Turn 8 was under review. The Canadian Serravalle was penalized for blocking and gave up the tenth spot to Francis, Jr.
On Lap 13, race control reported to the teams that spotters were reporting moisture around various points on the 2.35-mile, 14-turn Raceway at Belle Isle Park street circuit.
At the halfway point of the 30-lap race, Lundqvist’s lead over McElrea was 3.5 seconds as the drivers were reporting light drizzle.
The No. 27 of McElrea still had teammate Rasmussen and Rob on his gearbox, but that wasn’t the only battle on track. Pedersen, whose march forward had stalled at seventh, put immense pressure on his teammate.
For the second race in a row, reigning Indy Pro 2000 champion Rasmussen made contact in Turn 5 before coming to a stop in Turn 6 with damage to the nose of his car.
With ten laps remaining and under yellow for the incident with the No. 28, the running order was Lundqvist, McElrea, Robb, Brabham, Frost, Pedersen, Abel, Simpson, Francis, Jr., Serravalle, Roe, Phinny, Rasmussen (out) and Bogle (out).
The restart came with ten laps remaining. Abel, who was running seventh, slowed on the track, making it back to pit road and getting back on track after repairs.
The best battles on the track were between Andretti Autosport teammates Robb and Brabham for the final spot on the podium and between Global Racing Group/HMD Motorsports teammates Frost and Pedersen for fifth.
With seven laps to go, Francis spun in Turn 12 but was able to continue. At the same time, Abel was in the run-off area in Turn 3. Again, the Butler University student was able to continue but was slow.
With five laps remaining, Robb got sideways in Turn 1 while trying to chase down McElrea.
On Lap 26, Pedersen made a look around the outside of Turn 3. The teammates made light contact, with Frost and the Dan-Jet sponsored No. 68 holding the fifth spot.
With three laps remaining, McElrea and Robb each turned their quickest laps of the race while battling for the final two spots on the podium.
When he got the white flag from the starter’s stand, Lundqvist’s lead was 3.2 seconds, but behind him, the teammate battles were still raging.
McElrea had only 0.3 seconds over Robb for the second step on the podium, and Pedersen had the same gap to Frost in the tussle for fifth.
Indy Lights Detroit Grand Prix Race #2 Results
|1||26||Linus Lundqvist||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||30 LAPS|
|2||27||Hunter McElrea||Andretti Autosport||-3.7005|
|3||2||Sting Ray Robb||Andretti Autosport||-4.013|
|4||83||Matthew Brabham||Andretti Autosport||-5.4745|
|5||68||Danial Frost||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||-11.4373|
|6||24||Benjamin Pedersen||Global Racing Group with HMD||-12.1261|
|7||21||Kyffin Simpson||TJ Speed Motorsports||-12.2142|
|8||11||Antonio Serravalle||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||-24.8361|
|9||12||James Roe||TJ Speed Motorsports||-25.7713|
|10||99||Ernie Francis Jr.||Force Indy||-60.3121|
|11||61||Ryan Phinny||Abel Motorsports||-1 LAP|
|12||51||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||-7 LAPS|
|13||28||Christian Rasmussen||Andretti Autosport||-12 LAPS|
|14||7||Christian Bogle||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||-23 LAPS|