By Patrick Stephan
The first Indy Pro 2000 presented by Cooper Tires race got off to a difficult start. Louis Foster brought the field down nicely packed up by the time they hit the front straight. Josh Foster jumped out of line to make it three wide entering Turn 1 but the field made it through there.
Up at Turn 2 (an exciting place all day in every division), Yuven Sundaramoorthy was inside Reece Gold and spun to the outside. Braden Eves also got involved (though I didn’t see exactly how) and he picked up a damaged front wing. Sundaramoorthy’s car wind up on the outside of the grass and he would retire for the day.
When the field came back around to take the yellow at the end of Lap 1, the order up front was Foster, Siegel, De Alba, Porto, Brichacek, Miller, Green and Ahmed.
Back to green on Lap 4 and in the upcoming laps De Alba would get by Siegel for 2nd, and Green would get back to 7th around Ahmed.
The order on Lap 9 is Foster, De Alba, Siegel, Porto, Brichacek, Miller, Green, Ahmed, Missig, Gold, Eves, Browne and Sundaramoorthy.
We were under yellow on Lap 9 due to Jonathan Browne spinning in to the gravel trap at Turn 1. The AMR INDYCAR Safety team was able to get him out so he could rejoin the field and we went back to green to start Lap 11.
On that lap, Josh Green got by Jack William Miller in Turn 4 to take over the 6th spot. Next lap (12) and Ahmed would also pass Miller to take 6th.
Up front, Foster is leading De Alba by 1.3 seconds, followed by Nolan Siegel, Kiko Porto and Wyatt Brichacek.
At the halfway point (15 of 30) it’s still Foster by 2.6, with Siegel another 0.75 back. Porto, Brichacek, Green, Ahmed, Miller, Gold, Eves and Missig are all on the lead lap – and 3rd through 10 are mostly nose to tail except for a couple 1.0 second gaps.
On Lap 20, Josh Green is putting a lot of pressure on Brichacek heading in to Turn 12 – not an easy place to pass – and he gets another run the next lap and takes the 5th spot.
Lap 22 and Jack William Miller slides off Turn 2 and goes through the grass, that’ll cost him 8th as he drops down to 10th.
Foster continues to expand his gap, now up to 6.7 seconds over De Alba who is now leading Siegel by just .04 and in danger of losing the 2nd spot as second, third and fourth (De Alba, Siegel, Porto) run nose to tail around the circuit with Green just 1.2 back of that battle in 5th.
Wyatt Brichacek’s tires seem to be going away as he has dropped to 9th on Lap 24. Braden Eves got 8th with a strong move in to Turn 12.
It’s still Foster up front, now by 8.8 seconds with 5 laps to go as De Alba is still very much under pressure by Siegel for second. Porto, Green, Ahmed, Gold, Eves, Brichacek, Miller and Missig follow. Browne is 12th – but one lap down.
Lap 28 and Foster’s lead is 11.5 as De Alba has to be more concerned with keeping second from Siegel than trying to push and catch the leader – a situation that’s been happening for most of the race.
Taking the white flag, 2nd through 5th are nose to tail at the start finish line and they start dicing up in Turn 2 and Porto gets inside of Siegel but can’t complete the pass.
Foster picks up his 4th win of the season and extends his point lead over Reece Gold to 38. This is De Alba’s 3rd podium and Siegel’s 4th.
UNOFFICIAL Results Indy Pro 2000 presented by Cooper Tires Race #1 at Mid-Ohio:
|1||90||Louis Foster||30||LAP 30||1||Exclusive Autosport|
|2||6||Salvador De Alba||30||14.5615||5||Jay Howard Driver Develpment|
|3||8||Nolan Siegel||30||15.1053||2||DEForce Racing|
|4||1||Kiko Porto||30||15.7064||3||DEForce Racing|
|5||3||Josh Green||30||16.046||7||Turn 3 Motorsport|
|6||47||Enaam Ahmed||30||16.5739||10||Juncos Hollinger Racing|
|7||55||Reece Gold||30||16.8683||8||Juncos Hollinger Racing|
|8||4||Braden Eves||30||17.8391||13||Jay Howard Driver Development|
|9||92||Wyatt Brichacek||30||20.3986||4||Exclusive Autosport|
|10||40||Jack William Miller||30||24.129||6||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports w/Exclusive Autosport|
|11||19||Jordan Missig||30||27.6448||11||Pabst Racing|
|12||2||Jonathan Browne||29||1 LAPS||12||Turn 3 Motorsport|
|13||18||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||—||Contact||9||Pabst Racing|