By Tony DiZinno
Salvador De Alba’s weekend of dominance on the 1.25-mile World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway continued with his first win on the road in Indy Pro 2000 competition this weekend. He inherited his first earlier this year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, but this second win of the year was authoritative in a flag-to-flag victory from pole position.
A quick, brief heavy shower interrupted proceedings but only pushed the Indy Pro 2000 start back by less than 10 minutes. The field of 14 cars, down one with Jordan Missig unable to start following his accident in qualifying, took the green flag at 2:24 p.m. CST and local time.
De Alba led the field to green over Gold, Foster, Siegel and Green. The field made it through the first lap cleanly with Siegel gaining two positions, up to second with Gold, Foster and Green just behind.
De Alba maintained the gap ahead of Siegel but Green showed promise, with he and Foster getting by Gold on Lap 4. Further back, Sundaramoorthy was a big mover up to ninth, just behind Eves.
Through 10 of 55 laps, De Alba led Siegel by 2.0718 seconds. Green, Foster and Gold completed the top five with Eves sixth, Ahmed seventh, Flack, Sundaramoorthy and Garg in the top 10. The field of 14 was separated by 18.7976 seconds, so about 14 seconds away from the leaders hitting traffic.
Miller pitted on Lap 14, the first driver to hit trouble this race, and retired with a mechanical issue.
On Lap 19, Eves got Gold for fifth and began to charge after Foster.
At the halfway point, Lap 28 of 55, De Alba led Siegel by 3.8967 seconds. Green, Foster and Eves were in the top five with Gold, Ahmed, Flack, Sundaramoorthy and Garg completing the top 10.
Siegel was having to hang onto second with Green and Foster able to close up. Eves was within decent striking distance as well in fifth.
Green tried the outside of Turn 4 on the run into Turn 1 to get by Siegel for second, and the Turn 3 Motorsport driver completes the move exiting Turn 2. Siegel meanwhile fought back, trying back on the inside into Turns 3 and 4. But he wasn’t able to keep it as Green moved back ahead.
With 20 to go, De Alba’s lead to Green was 4.8426 seconds. At 10 to go, the lead was 6.1303 seconds.
Siegel made it back around Green for second on Lap 46 with big commitment on the high side, and that left Green ready to fall back into Eves’ clutches. Eves tried to Green’s inside to get third, which allowed Siegel a bit of wiggle room to go away. Foster had a good bit of momentum to get by Green as well.
Just 5 to go and De Alba’s lead was 6.7474 seconds with Siegel, Eves, Foster and Green the new top five.
Checkered and De Alba takes his first win on the road this year, second this season (IMS road course won following a post-race technical infringement) by 5.9398 over Siegel, with Eves, Foster and Green completing the top five. Gold, Ahmed, Flack, Sundaramoorthy and Garg finish the top 10 in a caution-free race.
VP Racing Fuels Oval Challenge of St. Louis – Race
|1||6||Salvador De Alba||Jay Howard Driver Develpment||55||LAP 55|
|2||8||Nolan Siegel||DEForce Racing||55||5.9398|
|3||4||Braden Eves||Jay Howard Driver Development||55||6.3174|
|4||90||Louis Foster||Exclusive Autosport||55||6.7537|
|5||3||Josh Green||Turn 3 Motorsport||55||9.9415|
|6||55||Reece Gold||Juncos Hollinger Racing||55||17.1472|
|7||47||Enaam Ahmed||Juncos Hollinger Racing||55||26.7828|
|8||5||Marcos Flack||Jay Howard Driver Development||55||27.1056|
|9||18||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||Pabst Racing||55||28.9998|
|10||7||Bijoy Garg||DEForce Racing||55||31.8387|
|11||1||Kiko Porto||DEForce Racing||54||1 LAPS|
|12||2||Trey Burke||Turn 3 Motorsport||54||1 LAPS|
|13||93||Lindsay Brewer||Exclusive Autosport||53||2 LAPS|
|14||40||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports w/Exclusive Autosport||13||Mechanical|
|15||19||Jordan Missig||Pabst Racing||—||DNS|