It was a busy Saturday for the Mazda Road to Indy, with a total of four sessions this afternoon.
Qualifying for the two series kicked off the day, with Indy Lights hitting the track first thing this morning. It was a hectic session, with the top positions changing constantly. Rookie Nico Jamin led at the 10 minute mark, but wasn’t able to hold the position for long. In a continuance of his strong performance on Friday, Kyle Kaiser moved to the top of the charts and claimed the pole. Championship leader Colton Herta qualified second, with Jamin and Santiago Urrutia rounding out the front rows.
USF2000 race 2 qualifying immediately followed the Indy Lights session, with yesterday’s front runners Kaylan Frederick and Oliver Askew jumping to the top early on. The top positions would continue to change throughout the session, with Askew, Frederick, Thompson and Ming all holding P1 for a period of time. Just before the session ended, Askew put together a flyer of a lap to move fro m 8th to the top, claiming his second pole of the weekend. Frederick, Thompson and Ming would all start on the front two rows.
Indy Lights would hit the track first for their first race of the weekend in chaotic fashion, with multiple drivers running in to trouble on the first lap. Aaron Telitz, who qualified 13th, suffered an early mechanical issue, causing him to clip the rear of his Belardi Auto Racing teammate Shelby Blackstock before the green, delaying the start. The drama wouldn’t stop there, however as championship leader Colton Herta clipped the rear of Kaiser’s car when the leaders began to slow out of the final turn. And then, heading into Turn 1, Pato O’Ward made contact with Santiago Urrutia. All four drivers were forced to pit before the green.
After three laps under the pace car, the green finally flew. Kaiser lead into Turn 1, fighting off Nico Jamin. Heading in to Turn 5, Jamin made a spectacular move to the inside of Kaiser and stole the lead. He gradually increased his lead as the race progressed, and would cruise home to claim his maiden victory in Indy Lights. Kaiser held on to second with Neil Alberico, Leist and De Melo rounding out the top five.
The USF2000 series final race of the weekend was not devoid of drama either. While the initial start was clean, there were three separate incidents on lap 1, causing an extensive caution period. Once the green finally came out, pole-sitter Oliver Askew easily skated away and began the run to the checkered. In second, Kaylan Frederick was stalking Askew, until a mistake on Lap 11 caused him to lose a handful of seconds, effectively handing Askew his second victory of the weekend. Luckily for the 14-year old, he was able to fend off Parker Thompson for second.
With his first ever weekend sweep, Askew extended his points lead over the rest of the field. Frederick and Thompson finished the podium, with Veekay and Sowery rounding out the top five.
Indy Lights will return to the track tomorrow, for their second and final qualifying session and race. Both USF2000 and Pro Mazda will be back in May, for the Indy GP.