By Tony DiZinno
The win that got away from Matthew Brabham at Iowa Speedway came back to him Saturday in the second and final Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race oval race of the season at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.
A decisive move late in the race on Iowa sparring partner Linus Lundqvist ended significantly better than their last go-for-the-win battle there, as they avoided contact. Brabham passed through on the inside with four laps remaining in the 75-lap race to capture his second win of the season, and first since St. Petersburg.
The 12 cars ran fairly clean early on with polesitter Lundqvist pacing the pack ahead of Brabham and Benjamin Pedersen, the latter still in search of his elusive first Indy Lights race win. Christian Rasmussen and Danial Frost had a good battle for fourth behind them.
Christian Bogle took his HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing entry to pit lane after wall contact in Turn 2, having bent the right rear toe link. He was able to resume later after losing nine laps.
At one-third distance, 25 of 75 laps complete, Lundqvist led Brabham by just over 0.7 of a second with Pedersen, Rasmussen and Frost in the top five.
Rasmussen kept focused and made it by Pedersen for third on Lap 40. But the would-be podium run came undone on Lap 52 as he ran wide exiting Turn 2, tattooed the wall and headed for the pit lane and an early retirement.
Brabham kept the tires and car underneath him and the driver of the No. 83 Andretti Autosport Dallara made his move on Lundqvist with four laps to go into Turn 3. He got by the No. 26 HMD with Dale Coyne Racing entry cleanly, kept the lead on corner exit and brought it home to the victory.
The win came after Brabham had astutely started running the higher line to gain pace and close on Lundqvist closer to the end of the race.
“I just wanted a win so badly, especially after Iowa. I had that grit! I could tell he was getting loose. I showed too much of what I can do at Iowa. Now I don’t want to show anyone anything! I was saving the top line for the last couple laps. I ran the high line and it worked. Awesome job by this whole team,” Brabham told Peacock’s Georgia Henneberry in victory lane.
Lundqvist was a strategic and smart second, Pedersen third with Frost and Hunter McElrea completing the top five.
Provisionally, Lundqvist’s championship lead is more than 100 points with just three races remaining.
Indy Lights at World Wide Technology Raceway – Unofficial Results
|1||83||Matthew Brabham||Andretti Autosport||75||LAP 75|
|2||26||Linus Lundqvist||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||75||0.6770|
|3||24||Benjamin Pedersen||Global Racing Group with HMD||75||11.6153|
|4||68||Danial Frost||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||75||12.9299|
|5||27||Hunter McElrea||Andretti Autosport||75||21.0565|
|6||2||Sting Ray Robb||Andretti Autosport||75||21.6109|
|7||51||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||75||28.8474|
|8||11||James Roe||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||74||1 LAPS|
|9||99||Ernie Francis Jr.||Force Indy||74||1 LAPS|
|10||21||Kyffin Simpson||HMD Motorsports||74||1 LAPS|
|11||7||Christian Bogle||HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing||64||11 LAPS|
|12||28||Christian Rasmussen||Andretti Autosport||52||Contact|