By Tony DiZinno
The Jay Howard Driver Development pace at the 1.25-mile World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway continued in both pre-race Indy Pro 2000 sessions Saturday morning. Braden Eves led practice while Friday’s test leader, Salvador De Alba, has secured the pole for today’s race.
After two test sessions on Friday, the Indy Pro 2000 contenders rolled out early Saturday morning at 9:45 a.m. CST for a busy day of activity with official practice, qualifying and the race all within several hours at the 1.25-mile World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.
As it was on Friday, the Jay Howard Driver Development team was fastest in official practice. This time it was Braden Eves atop the charts at 141.439 mph in his No. 4 entry. Eves, last year’s winner here, led Nolan Siegel in the first of the DEForce entries and Friday’s pacesetter Salvador De Alba in the second of three JHDD entries. Championship leader Louis Foster (Exclusive Autosport) and Yuven Sundaramoorthy (Pabst Racing) completed the top five.
All 15 entries ran more than 20 laps during the session before qualifying at 11:45 a.m. CST and local time.
|1||4||Braden Eves||Jay Howard Driver Development||141.439||42|
|2||8||Nolan Siegel||DEForce Racing||141.363||26|
|3||6||Salvador De Alba||Jay Howard Driver Develpment||141.161||39|
|4||90||Louis Foster||Exclusive Autosport||141.112||43|
|5||18||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||140.278||41|
|6||7||Bijoy Garg||DEForce Racing||140.197||39|
|7||19||Jordan Missig||Pabst Racing||139.982||41|
|8||5||Marcos Flack||Jay Howard Driver Development||139.936||41|
|9||55||Reece Gold||Juncos Hollinger Racing||139.664||27|
|10||3||Josh Green||Turn 3 Motorsport||139.547||35|
|11||1||Kiko Porto||DEForce Racing||139.427||46|
|12||47||Enaam Ahmed||Juncos Hollinger Racing||139.156||24|
|13||40||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports w/Exclusive Autosport||138.301||38|
|14||2||Trey Burke||Turn 3 Motorsport||138.131||41|
|15||93||Lindsay Brewer||Exclusive Autosport||135.149||30|
The first four drivers out included the three series debutantes in Marcos Flack, Bijoy Garg and Trey Burke, and Lindsay Brewer in her first oval start. They slotted in in that order out of the gate.
Fifth driver out, Jordan Missig, lost the rear through Turns 3 and 4 and suffered significant left rear damage as he backed into the wall. With a minimal time frame between qualifying and race, it left the Pabst Racing driver rather vulnerable to missing the start.
Missig’s teammate Yuven Sundaramoorthy was next out after the track went back green. He chased the car in both corners on both laps, with significant wiggling, but was still able to slot in second.
Jack William Miller was the second Exclusive Autosport affiliated driver out after Brewer, and the Miller Vinatieri Motorsports driver’s pace struggles continued this weekend as he was only fourth of the six completed runs so far.
Salvador De Alba was a possible pole contender for Jay Howard Driver Development, having paced both test sessions on Friday. He had a 137.3 mph warmup lap, which set him up for a great qualifying run. A speed of 138.794 mph delivered that as he moved to the top.
After Kiko Porto took a run, Braden Eves slotted into second behind his JHDD teammate. He was close but not close enough to beat De Alba.
Nolan Siegel (DEForce Racing) and Josh Green (Turn 3 Motorsport) also were close but no cigar to De Alba, but ahead of Eves.
The last three drivers to take a run at De Alba were the Juncos Hollinger Racing pair of Enaam Ahmed and Reece Gold, and championship leader Louis Foster (Exclusive Autosport), but none pulled off the pole heist.
|1||6||Salvador De Alba||Jay Howard Driver Develpment||138.560|
|2||55||Reece Gold||Juncos Hollinger Racing||138.442|
|3||90||Louis Foster||Exclusive Autosport||138.262|
|4||8||Nolan Siegel||DEForce Racing||137.744|
|5||3||Josh Green||Turn 3 Motorsport||137.657|
|6||4||Braden Eves||Jay Howard Driver Development||137.569|
|7||47||Enaam Ahmed||Juncos Hollinger Racing||137.495|
|8||5||Marcos Flack||Jay Howard Driver Development||136.149|
|9||18||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||135.846|
|10||7||Bijoy Garg||DEForce Racing||135.827|
|11||40||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports w/Exclusive Autosport||135.786|
|12||2||Trey Burke||Turn 3 Motorsport||135.518|
|13||1||Kiko Porto||DEForce Racing||134.772|
|14||93||Lindsay Brewer||Exclusive Autosport||133.918|
|15||19||Jordan Missig||Pabst Racing||No Speed|