By Diane Swintal
Two Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires races Saturday, one race on Sunday, to decide the series champion.
At stake is a scholarship packaged valued at almost $615,000 to graduate to the 2023 Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.
Exclusive Autosport’s Louis Foster holds a 77-point lead over Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Reece Gold and only needs to finish 11th or better to secure the title – the first driver’s championship for the team.
78F under hazy/sunny skies as we get ready for the second of four Road to Indy races today.
Green flag at 12:18 p.m. – with chaos once again ensuing in turn one, with six cars going through the chicane and two cars stopping in turn one. Yuven Sundaramoorthy, Jack William Miller, Nolan Siegel, Kiko Porto, Bijoy Garg, Lindsay Brewer and Jordan Missig all involved.
It appeared that Miller, moving from the inside of the corner to the middle, tagged Sundaramoorthy and started the chain reaction. All eight cars managed to continue with no full course caution.
With all the chaos, Marcus Flack – in his series debut – wisely checked up early and went from last to fourth on lap one.
Once the field settled in, the race quieted rapidly. Gold remained right behind Foster but was not able to make a move. Enaam Ahmed paced four seconds behind Gold, with Flack in fourth.
For Foster, it was the polar opposite race than the non-stop battle USF2000 points leader Rowe had experienced an hour earlier. Once Foster had established a three-second lead over Gold, it was just a matter of keeping his head down and not making any mistakes.
But behind Foster, Gold and Ahmed, fourth through 10th fought nose-to-tail, with Sundaramoorthy going through the chicane on lap 27 and losing eighth position. Flack worked to hold off Jonathan Browne, Braden Eves, Jordan Missig, Salvador de Alba, Joseh Green and Bijoy Garg.
Back at the front of the field, the 19-year-old Brit did not put a foot wrong and when the checkered flag flew after 30 laps, he had captured his first championship title in the U.S. – and the first driver title for Michael Duncalfe’s Exclusive Autosport.
“It’s been a whole year of hard work, long nights, long weekends, as well as a bit of frustration here and there,” said Foster, holding the champion’s trophy. “But our hard work has come to fruition this season – it just shows that if you work hard enough, something good happens. It’s so good to seal the deal in race one. I managed to get pole and while Reece charged really hard into turn one, I managed to keep him back there. From there, it was just a matter of preserving the tires. It’s been an amazing day but there are two more races to win! But I’m the 2022 champion, I can’t thank the team and the series enough.”
Portland Indy Pro 2000 Race #1 Results:
|1||90||Louis Foster||30||LAP 30||Exclusive Autosport|
|2||55||Reece Gold||30||2.1474||Juncos Hollinger Racing|
|3||47||Enaam Ahmed||30||11.6947||Juncos Hollinger Racing|
|4||5||Marcos Flack||30||28.1933||Jay Howard Driver Development|
|5||2||Jonathan Browne||30||29.1087||Turn 3 Motorsport|
|6||19||Jordan Missig||30||30.4428||Pabst Racing|
|7||4||Braden Eves||30||30.9413||Jay Howard Driver Development|
|8||6||Salvador De Alba||30||32.8622||Jay Howard Driver Develpment|
|9||3||Josh Green||30||33.1841||Turn 3 Motorsport|
|10||7||Bijoy Garg||30||33.7361||DEForce Racing|
|11||18||Yuven Sundaramoorthy||30||36.4132||Pabst Racing|
|12||93||Lindsay Brewer||30||47.7191||Exclusive Autosport|
|13||40||Jack William Miller||21||9 LAPS||
Miller Vinatieri Motorsports w/Exclusive Autosport
|14||8||Nolan Siegel||—||Contact||DEForce Racing|
|15||1||Kiko Porto||—||Contact||DEForce Racing|