By Steve Wittich
It’s easy to forget just how short and quickly the drivers get around the 0.894-mile Iowa Speedway oval, taking under ten minutes for the 13 pilots to complete 200 laps.
The first yellow flag of the 50-minute session came out after 13 minutes of practice. Reports from a recent test indicated there were quite a few cut tires, which TSO Ladder expected was the case again.
When the track went quiet, Veteran Matthew Brabham was the quickest of the drivers, turning a lap 157.419mph. He was followed by his Andretti Autosport teammates Hunter McElrea, Sting Ray Robb, and Christian Rasmussen, with Global Racing Group driver Benjamin Pedersen the fifth quickest driver.
All 13 drivers are making their first start at Iowa Speedway, with Hunter McElrea, Christian Rasmussen, Jacob Abel, Ernie Francis, Jr., Kyffin Simpson, and James Roe, Jr. all experiencing their first oval race in Indy Lights. However, the entire field did take part in a test earlier this year.
Brabham held the top spot until five minutes left in the session when drivers went out on fresh Cooper Tires. The first driver to go quicker on the new tires was championship leader Linus Lundqvist, who lowered the quickest time to 158.229mph. The Dane, driving for HMD Motorsports, was quickly followed by Jacob Abel in the No. 51 Abel Speedwagon.
The rest of the field also improved, with Brabham, McElrea, Rasmussen, and Jacob Abel, rounding out the top five.
The 13 drivers completed 799 laps, with Andretti Autosport’s Brabham matching his car number and completing 83 laps.
Of note: Rookie Kyffin Simpson, who started the season’s first eight races with TJ Speed Motorsports, has moved to HMD Motorsports for the final six races.
Indy Lights At Iowa Speedway practice results
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||TOP SPEED||LAPS|
|1||26||Linus Lundqvist||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||158.229||68|
|2||83||Matthew Brabham||Andretti Autosport||157.978||83|
|3||27||Hunter McElrea||Andretti Autosport||157.762||48|
|4||28||Christian Rasmussen||Andretti Autosport||157.661||58|
|5||51||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||157.619||69|
|6||2||Sting Ray Robb||Andretti Autosport||157.040||60|
|7||68||Danial Frost||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||157.014||51|
|8||24||Benjamin Pedersen||Global Racing Group with HMD||156.938||51|
|9||7||Christian Bogle||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||156.217||66|
|10||21||Kyffin Simpson||HMD Motorsports||155.516||69|
|11||99||Ernie Francis Jr.||Force Indy||154.914||66|
|12||11||Antonio Serravalle||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||152.959||49|
|13||12||James Roe||TJ Speed Motorsports||152.285||61|
The Indy Lights teams and drivers will be back on track for qualifying at 8:30 am tomorrow, and the 75-lap race is set to get the green flag at 11:15 am, completing a busy 24 hours of track activity for the top rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires.