By Steve Wittich and Tony DiZinno
The Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires season has four races left as it descends on World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway for its second and final oval weekend of the season. This oval precludes a tripleheader at Portland International Raceway next month.
Back in May, Louis Foster had promise in spades but hadn’t started winning yet. But a double dip of victories – first on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then again two weeks later at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park’s 0.686-mile oval – propelled the Exclusive Autosport driver into championship contention.
That magical month kicked off a run of six wins from the last eight races, including a weekend sweep last time out in Toronto. Foster now heads to the 1.25-mile oval with a 71-point lead over Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Reece Gold.
As at IRP, the WWT oval comes with the 50 percent points bonus. More on what lies ahead for the field of 15, and WWT oval history, is here from Steve:
World Wide Technology Raceway Indy Pro 2000 Nuggets
Saturday’s VP Racing Fuels Oval Challenge Of St. Louis will be the sixth Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires race at the 1.25-mile, World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway, with the eventual series champion – Victor Franzoni (2017), Rinus VeeKay (2018) & Kyle Kirkwood (2019) winning three times.
Previous Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires race winners at World Wide Technology Raceway At Gateway
|2021||Braden Eves||Exclusive Autosport|
|2020||Devlin DeFrancesco||Andretti Autosport|
|2019||Kyle Kirkwood||RP Motorsport|
|2018||Rinus VeeKay||Juncos Racing|
|2017||Victor Franzoni||Juncos Racing|
The pole sitter at this track has only won one time – Devlin DeFrancesco in 2020 – with the average starting position of the winner across the five races coming in at 3.8.
The average finishing position of the pole sitter is 2.4, with all five finishing in the top four.
Five different teams – Andretti Autosport, Cape Motorsports, Juncos Hollinger Racing, RP Motorsport & Turn 3 Motorsport have started on the pole in the five races.
Juncos Hollinger Racing with five podiums from five drivers – Victor Franzoni, Rasmus Lindh, Robert Megennis, Artem Petrov and Rinus VeeKay – lead all teams.
The 2019 race, won by Kyle Kirkwood, had four drivers and three lead changes, the highest in both categories.
Two of the five races have run caution free, and the other three have had a single caution.
New faces making their debuts
Three new drivers join the Indy Pro 2000 field this weekend, including two USF2000 veterans and one Australian newcomer.
Bijoy Garg will be in a second DEForce Racing entry, stepping up with the same team as he raced with in USF2000. Trey Burke, who races with Joe Dooling Autosport and has had Sage Karam as a driver coach, steps up for his Indy Pro 2000 debut. He deputizes for Jonathan Browne at Turn 3 Motorsport; Browne is tied up with mandatory university exams in Dublin this week.
“I’m super excited to be making my Indy Pro 2000 debut with Turn 3 Motorsport at such a high speed track,” said Burke. “I know the team and the car will be really strong all weekend long, meaning a good result is up for grabs. This weekend can’t come soon enough. Thanks again to Peter and the entire crew for giving me this opportunity, it really means a lot.”
At Jay Howard Driver Development, Brisbane, Australia’s Marcos Flack joins the fold. Flack is a top karter and has advanced into F4 and GB3 series championship competition. He scored his first GB3 win at Silverstone earlier this year.
“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to come race in the Road to Indy with a front-running team like Jay Howard Driver Development. I am looking forward to make my USA racing debut at Gateway. Ovals are a new discipline for me, and I think I will be able to learn a lot.”
JHDD, De Alba, top both test sessions
Jay Howard Driver Development ‘s Salvador De Alba topped both test sessions held Friday. The driver of the No. 6 Groupo Indi/Mecano/Sidral Aga Tatuus was the only driver over 140 mph in both sessions. Last year’s winner Braden Eves, in the No. 4 CCFI/Huston Insurance/Addison Holdings JHDD entry, was second in the first test and fifth in the second.
Reece Gold, in the No. 55 The Ticket Clinic entry for Juncos Hollinger Racing, clocked in third in the first session and second in the second.
Foster’s No. 90 Copart.com/Novara Technologies entry and Nolan Siegel’s No. 8 Towne Ford/Race for RP entry were fourth and fifth in the two sessions.
Session speeds are below. Saturday will see the series’ official practice at 9:45 a.m. CST and local time, qualifying at 11:45 a.m. and race at 2:15 p.m.
|1||6||Salvador De Alba||Jay Howard Driver Development||140.495||51|
|2||4||Braden Eves||Jay Howard Driver Development||140.088||49|
|3||55||Reece Gold||Juncos Hollinger Racing||139.929||52|
|4||8||Nolan Siegel||DEForce Racing||139.644||33|
|5||90||Louis Foster||Exclusive Autosport||139.577||78|
|6||3||Josh Green||Turn 3 Motorsport||139.399||54|
|7||5||Marcos Flack||Jay Howard Driver Development||138.938||39|
|8||47||Enaam Ahmed||Juncos Hollinger Racing||138.601||49|
|9||7||Bijoy Garg||DEForce Racing||138.468||49|
|10||18||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||137.826||72|
|11||19||Jordan Missig||Pabst Racing||137.751||73|
|12||1||Kiko Porto||DEForce Racing||137.315||56|
|13||2||Trey Burke||Turn 3 Motorsport||137.246||57|
|14||40||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports w Exclusive Autosport||136.752||63|
|15||93||Lindsay Brewer||Exclusive Autosport||132.900||61|
|1||6||Salvador De Alba||Jay Howard Driver Development||140.470||47|
|2||55||Reece Gold||Juncos Hollinger Racing||139.688||47|
|3||8||Nolan Siegel||DEForce Racing||139.682||36|
|4||90||Louis Foster||Exclusive Autosport||139.635||40|
|5||4||Braden Eves||Jay Howard Driver Development||139.071||45|
|6||3||Josh Green||Turn 3 Motorsport||138.702||48|
|7||19||Jordan Missig||Pabst Racing||138.662||57|
|8||18||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||138.183||51|
|9||7||Bijoy Garg||DEForce Racing||137.905||44|
|10||5||Marcos Flack||Jay Howard Driver Development||137.458||45|
|11||47||Enaam Ahmed||Juncos Hollinger Racing||137.373||37|
|12||40||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports w/Exclusive Autosport||135.886||38|
|13||1||Kiko Porto||DEForce Racing||135.795||23|
|14||2||Trey Burke||Turn 3 Motorsport||135.121||40|
|15||93||Lindsay Brewer||Exclusive Autosport||134.211||49|