INDIANAPOLIS – After taking a little time to get to grips with his new surroundings, Brazilian Luiz Razia drove an exemplary race under constant pressure to score his first victory in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
It was also the first win of the year for four-time defending champion team Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian.
”There was a lot of pressure. Jack [Harvey] had a car that was a little bit better than me for some reason,” said Razia. “Our cars were the same but for some reason he had the pace, but I was able to hold him off and I don’t know how I did. I think I was blessed today to win this race and I feel great. The time in the race was not going by at all. For me, it felt like two hours. I just tried to keep corner by corner, shift by shift and just really live in the moment. I could keep the pace and take the win.”
Fellow Indy Lights rookie Jack Harvey, from England, never allowed his teammate to relax, shadowing his every move throughout the 40-lap race at the challenging 2.439-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course to finished just .641 seconds back in second place. Alex Baron narrowly prevailed over yesterday’s first-time winner, Matthew Brabham, for the final podium place.
After the first attempt at a start was waved off and then an early caution period due to an incident between Juan Piedrahita and Zack Meyer, Razia just managed to fend off an attack from Harvey at turn one. It was to set the tone for the remainder of the race. Behind, too, there was action as Andretti teammates Brabham and championship leader Zach Veach tangled wheels not once but twice within the first few laps.
When the dust had settled from the early skirmishes, Razia, from Barreiras, Brazil, and Harvey, from Bassingham, England, continued to circulate within a few car lengths of each other. Belardi teammates Baron and Gabby Chaves were a second or so farther behind, chased by Scott Anderson who made a fine start for Fan Force United to move into the top five. Brabham and Veach were hot on his heels, too.
Veach overtook Brabham for sixth on lap 13, only for Brabham to return the favor on lap 20. Three laps later, Brabham also slipped past Anderson, then homed in swiftly on the two Belardi cars. Chaves was Brabham’s next victim, on lap 32. Brabham set the fastest lap of the race with just two laps remaining but Baron just managed to hold onto his podium placing.
Veach also was on the move in the closing stages. He passed Anderson at turn one on Lap 35, but tangled with Chaves while attempting an outside-line pass at the same place just a couple of laps later. Anderson took advantage, slipping past both of the title rivals to finish a career-high fifth, followed by Juan Pablo Garcia, then Veach and Chaves.
Luiz Razia, Jack Harvey, Alex Baron, Matthew Brabham, Scott Anderson, Juan Pablo Garcia, Zach Veach, Gabby Chaves, Lloyd Read, Zack Meyer, Juan Piedrahita.