This weekend, two of the three Mazda Road to Indy rungs kicked off their second race weekends of the year. Both Indy Lights and USF2000 hit the track today, with USF2000 contesting their first of two races this afternoon.
After a short practice session Thursday evening, USF2000 hit the track this morning for their first qualifying session. The session was delayed nearly on hour for track repair, but once the green flag waved, teams wasted no time in sending out their drivers. Oliver Askew was quickest early on, setting the pace with a lap of 1:24.105. That wouldn’t last long, however, as multiple drivers began to fall in and out of the top five.
Fortunately for Askew, he had more speed in his car and was able to claim the pole during the last ten minutes of the session. Kaylen Frederick qualified second, with Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis rounding out the front two rows.
At the start of Race 1, Askew was able to get a clean jump and hang on to the pole position. Frederick wasn’t far behind, however, and put constant pressure on the leader. Frederick had a golden opportunity when a mid-race caution came out for Askew’s teammate, Ricky Donison, but the 14-year old was unable to take advantage of the restart. Frederick remained close to Askew, 0.23 seconds, but Oliver would go on to claim his second win of the season. Rinus VeeKay held on to third, with Megennis and Parker Thompson rounding out the top five.
Indy Lights had a slower day on track, with only a single practice session. It was a fairly quiet session, with no red flags. Kyle Kaiser was the early leader, before local favorite Shelby Blackstock jumped to the top of the charts. Garth Rickards also showed improvement from his pace in St. Petersburg, moving to P2 midway through the practice session.
Blackstock would hang on to the top position, with Rickards and Zachary Claman De Melo in the top three. Kyle Kaiser fell to fourth, with championship leader Colton Herta rounding out the top five.
Both series will return tomorrow, with Indy Lights contesting their first qualifying session and race of the weekend. USF2000 will end their weekend tomorrow, with qualifying and race 2.