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Indy Pro 2000 race #2 – Thompson & Abel Motorsports cap dream start – Kirkwood recovers – Frost stands on podium for the first time

Parker Thompson, on a one event deal with Abel Motorsports to start the 2019 season, did everything he could to show potential partners that he can win the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires title and the valuable scholarship that comes with it.

The 21-year-old earned 64 of the 66 possible points winning his second straight race for the rookie Indy Pro 2000 team.

Parker Thompson and the Abel Motorsports crew after winning in their first two races of Indy Pro 2000 action (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

“I had the fantastic group of Abel Motorsports behind me,” said the 21-year-old. “They are a top-notch program. It is amazing to go out there and prove what they can do, and prove what the car can do on their rookie race.

“Technically, I wasn’t racing for a championship this weekend but coming out of here with two wins; hopefully, you’ll see a lot more of Parker Thompson and Abel Motorsports to come.”

The trip to victory lane is Canadian’s fifth in two years of Indy Pro 2000 action and is his 12th in 64 Road To Indy starts.

Reigning USF2000 champion Kyle Kirkwood was able to rebound from a disastrous first race to collect his 13th career Road To Indy podium.

“It was tough to put a situation like yesterday behind me, but the team kept me very positive,” said the 2018 USF2000 Champion. We knew we had a fast car, so I knew that if I could stay clean, we’d do well. Parker was much quicker than me in the beginning, and I was dealing with a balance issue, but the car came on at the end.

“We thought it would come in sooner, Lap 10 instead of Lap 25, but that’s all a symptom of not racing yesterday – we haven’t had more than five laps at a time this weekend so what will happen during a full 30-lap race is nearly impossible to predict. We had the pace, so to bounce back like that feels great.”

Danial Frost, the 17-year-old Exclusive Autosport rookie, utilized an aggressive first lap move from his outside third row starting spot to move into third and was able to hold off fellow Juncos Racing 17-year-old rookie Rasmus Lindh to capture his first Road To Indy podium.

Lindh, with a second and fourth place finish, has 45 points after the first weekend of competition. That leaves the Kullavik, Sweden based driver three points ahead of Frost and his fourth and third place finishes.

The baker’s dozen PM-18 machines lined up side-by-side going into the final two corners of the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit with Thompson and Kirkwood leading the field slowly to the green flag.

Thompson was able to get a great jump and made it to the apex of the first turn with no pressure from Kirkwood.

Behind the pair out front, it was Danial Frost who went three-wide with the Lindh and Moisés de la Vara. The rookie from Singapore was able to get to Turn 3 first to take the third spot.

Sting Ray Robb, Moisés de la Vara and Danial Frost go three-wide behind Parker Thompson and Kyle Kirkwood in the Indy Pro 2000 race in St. Petersburg (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

“I started P6 (today), and my team was telling me to go a bit harder,” explained Frost after the race. “In the first race, we didn’t gain any spots. I went 10% more aggressive, and that earned me the three spots. Coming into the first corner is always scary because you don’t know what could happen alongside you or what the other drivers could do.

“To be more aggressive can cause you to crash. It’s a big risk and big reward. I kept my foot in it and kept the pedal to the meddle and got that third spot. “

After the first lap, Thompson led Kirkwood, Frost, Robb, Moisés de la Vara (DEForce Racing), Lindh, Nikia Lastochkin (Exclusive Autosport), Antonio Serravalle (Pserra Racing) Phillipe Denes (Fatboy Racing!), Damiano Fioravanti (RP Motorsport), Kory Enders (DEForce Racing), Jacob Abel (Abel Motorsports) and Parker Locke (Exclusive Autosport).

Lindh, who started fourth was the biggest loser on the first lap, but by the fifth lap the Swedish rookie was able to get by de la Vara and teammate Robb to move back into fourth, the same position he started the race.

At the half-way point of the 30 lap race, Thompson was able to build a comfortable three-second gap to Kirkwood. Kirkwood had a comfortable margin over Frost. Frost was expertly making No. 68 Exclusive Autosport PM-18 just wide enough to keep Lindh behind him.

Lindh’s teammate Robb, in fifth place, was a further two seconds behind the fellow 17-year-old.

With ten laps remaining in the race, the best battle was between newcomers Denes and Fioravanti for eighth.

Kirkwood started to slowly eat into the lead, which had shrunk to just under 2.5 seconds.

The lead with three laps remaining had fallen to 2.2 seconds, and Kirkwood turned the fastest lap of the race at 68.7697 seconds to cut the final margin to 1.4 seconds.

Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Allied Building Products Race #2 results.

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM DIFFERENCE
1 8 Parker Thompson Abel Motorsports
2 28 Kyle Kirkwood RP Motorsport Racing 1.4334
3 68 Danial Frost Exclusive Autosport 1.4335
4 10 Rasmus Lindh Juncos Racing 13.8500
5 2 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Racing 16.3386
6 6 Moises de la Vara DEForce Racing 19.5364
7 90 Nikita Lastochkin Exclusive Autosport 30.2246
8 98 Phillippe Denes FatBoy Racing 36.4224
9 5 Damiano Fioravanti RP Motorsport Racing 36.6841
10 7 Kory Enders DEForce Racing 37.4875
11 51 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports 38.0881
12 91 Parker Locke Exclusive Autosport – 1 Lap
13 11 Antonio Serravalle Pserra Racing – 2 Laps

The middle rung of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires is back in action on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 9, 2019.

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Parker Thompson sets Indy Pro 2000 track record on the way to his second pole of the weekend

By Steve Wittich

For the eleventh time in his Road To Indy career, the fifth time in Indy Pro 2000 and third time on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., Parker Thompson will start from the inside of the front row.

The Red Deer, Alberta based driver broke the track record with a lap at 67.925 seconds, the only driver to break the 68-second mark.

Reigning Cooper Tires USF2000 Champion Kyle Kirkwood will start on the outside of the first row. Giving the Jupiter, Fla. native an excellent chance to redeem the weekend after a disappointing race on Friday afternoon

Sting Ray Robb, who is coming off a podium finish in yesterday’s race will start on the inside of the second row with Exclusive Autosport rookie Danial Frost on the outside of him.

The final Indy Pro 2000 qualifying session got underway just before 8 a.m. under a picture-perfect azure sky and the temperature at a comfortable 67F.

The distinctive note of the Elite Engine built 2.0L Indy Pro 2000 power plant served as an alarm for any of the residents of the condo buildings surrounding the circuit that were still asleep.

It didn’t take long for Thompson, who started the first Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Allied Building Products race on pole, to put the No. 8 Abel Motorsports on to the top of the timing sheets.

The Canadian was still there at the halfway point of the 20-minute session with a lap at 68.365 seconds. The rest of the top five with ten minutes remaining were Moisés de la Vara (DEForce Racing), Danial Frost (Exclusive Autosport), Nikia Lastochkin (Exclusive Autosport) and Robb.

Four minutes later RP Motorsport rookie Kyle Kirkwood turned a lap at 68.041 seconds, breaking the Indy Pro 2000 track record set by Oliver Askew last year.

Kirkwood’s track record and provisional pole didn’t last long when Thompson turned the first sub-68-second lap on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit.

Charles Finelli is not taking part in today’s action so that he can attend to a personal matter.

Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Allied Building Products qualifying #2 results

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM FAST LAP DIFFERENCE TOTAL LAPS
1 8 Parker Thompson Abel Motorsports 1:07.925 –.—- 15
2 28 Kyle Kirkwood RP Motorsport Racing 1:08.040 0.1153 14
3 2 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Racing 1:08.197 0.2719 14
4 68 Danial Frost Exclusive Autosport 1:08.232 0.3071 15
5 10 Rasmus Lindh Juncos Racing 1:08.241 0.3165 13
6 6 Moises de la Vara DEForce Racing 1:08.279 0.3539 15
7 90 Nikita Lastochkin Exclusive Autosport 1:08.599 0.6745 15
8 7 Kory Enders DEForce Racing 1:08.609 0.6842 15
9 5 Damiano Fioravanti RP Motorsport Racing 1:08.741 0.8159 15
10 11 Antonio Serravalle Pserra Racing/Jay Howard Driver Development 1:08.955 1.0298 15
11 51 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports 1:09.076 1.1514 15
12 98 Phillippe Denes FatBoy Racing 1:09.137 1.2119 16
13 91 Parker Locke Exclusive Autosport 1:09.800 1.8754 14
14 83 Charles Finelli Fatboy Racing! No Time

The race rolls off at 11:25 a.m. this morning.

Don’t miss any of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires action:

Parker Thompson grabbed his 10 career Road To Indy pole and the first for Abel Motorsports as a Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires team

For the tenth time in his Road To Indy career and fourth time in Indy Pro 2000, Parker Thompson will start a race from the inside of the front row.

The 21-year-old, who is confirmed for only this weekends event, took Abel Motorsports to their first Indy Pro 2000 pole in their very first race.

Thompson, who will start on the pole on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit turned a quick lap of 68.4137 seconds.

Parker Thompson hammers the Turn 1 apex of the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit on his way to the pole for the first Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires pole of 2019 (Photo Courtesy Of Andersen Promotions)

The top eight, which included Thompson, Rasmus Lindh (Juncos Racing), Kyle Kirkwood (RP Motorsport), Sting Ray Robb (Juncos Racing), Moisés de la Vara (DEForce Racing), Danial Frost (Exclusive Autosport), Kory Enders (Exclusive Autosport) and Nikia Lastochkin (Exclusive Autosport), were all within one second of Thompson.

Compared to USF2000 qualifying before it, the first Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires qualifying session of the season was relatively tame.

At the half-way point, Thompson was in the top spot with a lap clocked at 68.4137 seconds. Sting Ray Robb (Juncos Racing), Kyle Kirkwood, Rasmus Lindh, and Moisés de la Vara joined the experienced Canadian in the top five.

At the half-way point of the session, most of the field came to pit road for sticker sets of Cooper Tires and adjustments. Everybody, but Thompson, who only made adjustments in the hopes that he could hold onto the pole.

A pair of rapid rookies with fresh tires, RP Motorsport’s Kyle Kirkwood and Juncos Racing’s Rasmus Lindh, were able to get within two-tenths of a second of Thompson but had to settle for the outside front and inside the second row starting spots.

Cooper Tires Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by Andersen RacePark Qualifying 1 Results

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER TEAM FAST LAP DIFFERENCE TOTAL LAPS
1 8 Parker Thompson Abel Motorsports 1:08.414 –.—- 14
2 10 Rasmus Lindh Juncos Racing 1:08.591 0.1769 14
3 28 Kyle Kirkwood RP Motorsport Racing 1:08.614 0.2000 14
4 2 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Racing 1:08.696 0.2825 12
5 6 Moises de la Vara DEForce Racing 1:09.104 0.6899 16
6 68 Danial Frost Exclusive Autosport 1:09.111 0.6975 16
7 7 Kory Enders DEForce Racing 1:09.163 0.7492 16
8 90 Nikita Lastochkin Exclusive Autosport 1:09.300 0.8862 13
9 11 Antonio Serravalle Pserra Racing/Jay Howard Driver Development 1:09.595 1.1815 12
10 98 Phillippe Denes FatBoy Racing 1:09.805 1.3912 14
11 5 Damiano Fioravanti RP Motorsport Racing 1:09.891 1.4771 16
12 51 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports 1:10.301 1.8873 13
13 91 Parker Locke Exclusive Autosport 1:10.312 1.8979 16
14 83 Charles Finelli Fatboy Racing! 1:15.156 6.7422 9

The first Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires race of the year rolls off at 12:40 pm.

Don’t miss any of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires action:

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