INDIANAPOLIS – Nico Jamin stomped the field during Friday’s Indy Lights Series event on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix circuit.
With the victory Jamin, driving for Andretti Autosport, closed the gap to series championship leader Colton Herta to just three points. Herta could only managed a 12th-place finish after an unscheduled pit stop.
After securing the pole position in qualifying this morning, Jamin capitalized by holding the lead into turn one. In his wake, a bold maneuver around the outside at turn one from Herta, who had qualified sixth, saw the 17-year-old vault all the way up into second ahead of Kyle Kaiser, Aaron Telitz, Neil Alberico and surprise front row qualifier Zachary Claman De Melo.
Herta placed teammate Jamin under intense pressure for the opening couple of laps before settling into second place. A remarkably consistent series of fast laps enabled Jamin to stretch his lead to almost two seconds by lap 11, whereupon Herta suddenly began to come under attack from a train of cars comprising Kaiser, Claman De Melo and Alberico.
On lap 14, Herta lost a couple of positions before realizing that his car had lost its balance. A slow leading tire puncture was quickly diagnosed, forcing Herta to head for the pits for a replacement left-rear tire.
By this time Jamin held a comfortable lead of 3.7 seconds over a battling Kaiser and Claman De Melo, but that margin was gradually whittled down until, on lap 22, the two leaders were separated by less than two seconds. The next time around Claman De Melo squeezed past Kaiser on the run toward turn one to take second.
Even though the pass cost him a little bit of ground to the race leader, the young Canadian kept on turning fast laps to take the checkered flag just 0.8405 seconds adrift of Jamin.
“It is amazing emotions – I don’t think it gets any better than winning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” Jamin said. “I was nervous starting on pole. You’re always happy to get the pole and the check but I saw in USF2000 here two years ago that the guys behind you can really get a good run into turn one. I knew I had to get a good jump and I did, though I didn’t want to look in my mirror because I knew it would be a mess.
“I broke really late into turn one but Colton was close behind me and I had to defend. We made it clean so it was alright in the end. I pushed hard in the beginning to get away from Colton, who was on his push-to-pass, but then Zach was a rocketship at the end and was catching up. The guys were yelling on the radio for me to push harder, but I couldn’t. But I’m very happy to have gotten the pole and the win for the DuraMAX guys, who have joined me this month.”
Kaiser was third at the checkered flag, with Alberico finishing fourth ahead of Matheus Leist in fifth.
Nico Jamin, Zachary Claman De Melo, Kyle Kaiser, Neil Alberico, Matheus Leist, Aaron Telitz, Santiago Urrutia, Ryan Norman, Shelby Blackstock, Garth Rickards, Nicolas Dapero, Colton Herta, Dalton Kellett, Juan Piedrahita.