INDIANAPOLIS – Rasmus Lindh completed a sweep of the Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix of Indianapolis, leading throughout Saturday’s 25-lap race to finish just more than two seconds clear of Juncos Racing teammate Sting Ray Robb.
Coming hot on the heels of his first Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires win yesterday, the victory catapults Lindh into the championship lead ahead of Canadian Parker Thompson, who finished fifth.
Rookie Danial Frost, extended his streak of podium finishes to three following another strong drive for Exclusive Autosport.
Lindh, who started on pole for the second straight race after narrowly eclipsing his own Indy Pro 2000 qualifying lap record on Friday, took off confidently at the start. Behind, a good getaway from third on the grid saw Kyle Kirkwood briefly challenging for the lead as the field accelerated toward the tight turn one.
The Jupiter, Fla., native elected not to push the issue and instead attempted to tuck in behind Lindh, but his conservative approach sadly backfired when Robb and Nikita Lastochkin made aggressive moves of their own to tag onto the leader’s tail.
In an instant, Kirkwood’s front wing was broken and he was obliged to head to the pit lane for repairs. He resumed a lap down and showed what might have been by turning the fastest lap of the race – for the third race in a row – but could manage no better than 13th at the finish.
The only other driver able to challenge Juncos Racing’s dominance was Frost, who overcame a poor start to demote Lastochkin from third on lap two. Frost quickly closed onto Robb’s tail but was unable to find a way past. Still, his third consecutive third-place finish represented another substantial points haul.
“The start was perfect from my perspective,” said Lindh. “I never let up. I saw that Sting Ray was behind me and while I knew I had been faster than him all weekend, I know where my weakness is and where I’m strong. So I focused forward, working on getting a gap and driving away as fast as I could. Once the gap got up to two seconds, I worked on keeping that gap. It was a perfect weekend for the team. But I still can’t believe it. We didn’t have the speed to win here last year (in USF2000), so I said to myself that I need to win here this year, and I did, so I am very happy for that.”
Lastochkin finished a distant fourth, having been embroiled in a close battle with Ian Rodriguez, from Guatemala, whose impressive debut weekend was sadly hindered by a mechanical problem which caused him to fall all the way to an unrepresentative 12th at the finish.
After sweeping both races at the opening event of the season at St. Petersburg, Fla., in March, Thompson suffered a torrid weekend with the Abel Motorsports team, although he was able to salvage a fifth-place finish following a protracted scrap with Mexico’s Moises de la Vara, who produced his strongest drive to date for DEForce Racing, and teammate Jacob Abel.