VeeKay takes forceful win in Indy Lights Race 2
Dutch teenager Rinus VeeKay scored a dramatic first Indy Lights Offered by Cooper Tires victory for Juncos Racing in St. Petersburg on Sunday. VeeKay, who received final 12 months’s Indy Professional 2000 Championship Offered by Cooper Tires, incomes a scholarship to graduate to the highest rung on the Street to Indy ladder system in 2019, made an aggressive move on polesitter Oliver Askew on the primary green-flag lap and by no means seemed again.
Yesterday’s winner, Canada’s Zachary Claman, strengthened his early championship factors lead with a second-place end. Englishman Toby Sowery as soon as once more performed a starring function aboard the distinctive yellow BN Racing/Workforce Pelfrey Dallara-AER IL-15 as he completed on the rostrum for the second straight day.
“To take a win in our first weekend provides me numerous confidence,” stated VeeKay. “I’ve struggled a bit getting comfy with all of the torque behind me among the many partitions, however the workforce has labored arduous to determine every little thing out. I knew I might go approach deeper going into Flip 1 firstly as a result of I used to be within the clear line, so I went tremendous deep and was subsequent to Oliver however we each ran out of street. I didn’t need to take an excessive amount of curb in Flip 2 as a result of I knew I might bounce off and that might find yourself dangerous for each of us, and I believed we had sufficient house. I really feel sorry for Oliver however I used to be completely satisfied to come back out with the lead.
“The previous few laps had been fairly powerful, a lot of trying in my mirrors as a result of I knew Zach had full push-to-pass. However it is a nice approach to begin the season for myself and my supporters, together with Mazda Motorsports.”
VeeKay’s victory makes him the eighth driver to win on all three ranges of the Street to Indy Offered by Cooper Tires, becoming a member of an unique membership that includes Matthew Brabham, Victor Franzoni, Jay Howard, Nico Jamin, Sage Karam, Spencer Pigot and Aaron Telitz. The 18-year-old additionally prolonged his spectacular report on the unforgiving streets of St. Petersburg, the place he’s now six-for-six when it comes to top-five finishes.
Fellow rookie Askew had been seeking to proceed his personal high quality report on his residence circuit, having earned the pole place yesterday for Andretti Autosport so as to add to his race win en path to the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship title in 2017 and one other pole place final 12 months in Indy Professional 2000. Sadly, after the preliminary try at a begin had been waved off, a conflict of wheels between Askew and VeeKay at Flip 2 resulted within the polesitter’s automotive making heavy contact with the skin retaining wall. Askew, who completed a strong third yesterday, was unharmed however his championship aspirations took a extreme hit.
VeeKay instantly set about extending his lead following a prolonged cleanup, romping away from Robert Megennis, who had certified third for Andretti Autosport, to the tune of three seconds inside the primary 4 laps of green-flag racing.
Megennis, Claman, Sowery and his BN Racing teammate David Malukas, plus Frenchman Julien Falchero (Belardi Auto Racing) and Ryan Norman (Andretti Autosport), ran in tight formation in the course of the opening levels till Claman lastly prized open the defenses of 2017 USF2000 race winner Megennis. Claman made a daring transfer across the outdoors in Flip 1, then inched forward for good because the pair accelerated towards Flip 2. Sadly for Megennis, the lack of momentum prompted him to fall all the way in which from second to fifth, with Malukas additionally managing to discover a well past Sowery for third.
Over the course of the subsequent 10 laps, all the prime six drivers took turns at posting a brand new quickest lap of the race to this point. The exceptional parity among the many main contenders meant that VeeKay’s lead was by no means underneath critical risk.
Behind, although, after hounding Malukas relentlessly, Sowery took the bit between his tooth on Lap 25. Benefiting from his AER turbo engine’s 50 extra horsepower from the push-to-pass system, Sowery dived to the within of his teammate in Flip 1 to take over third place.
Sowery then quickly closed down a 3.2-second deficit to Claman, however simply as he sized up a chance to make one other move in Flip 1, the yellow flags flew after Megennis’ sturdy run ended towards the wall in Flip 10.
The ultimate four-lap run to the end was largely uneventful. VeeKay drove conservatively to take the victory by 0.6328s over Claman, whereas Sowery narrowly held off Malukas for third. Impressively, BN Racing has taken the early lead within the Indy Lights Workforce Championship, and has completed on the rostrum in its very first season of competitors on all three ranges of the Street to Indy Offered by Cooper Tires.
A charging Falchero took residence the Tilton Arduous Charger Award after climbing from eighth on the grid to fifth.
Claman’s pair of top-two finishes assures him of a nine-point edge over VeeKay, 57-48, with Sowery only one extra level adrift because the Indy Lights collection heads subsequent to its first-ever races on the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, in two weeks’ time.
Rinus VeeKay (#21 Mazda/Jumbo Supermarkets/La Place Eating places/KNAF Expertise First-Juncos Racing Dallara-AER IL-15):