INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Just more than a month after his first Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires victory – and on his 19th birthday – Sting Ray Robb stepped onto the top of the podium again Thursday after a victory on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Robb’s second win for Juncos Racing allowed him to close to within 10 points of series leader Devlin DeFrancesco at the halfway mark in the season.
A dramatic race was brought to an early conclusion after Braden Eves was involved in a frightening crash in which his Exclusive Autosport Tatuus PM-18 was flipped over onto its roll hoop. Eves was taken to the Infield Care Center and transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital.
“Braden is awake, stable and undergoing further evaluation,” said Dr. Geoff Billows, IndyCar Medical Director.
New Zealander Hunter McElrea rebounded from a disappointing result one week ago on the World Wide Technology Raceway oval to finish second for Pabst Racing. Canadian Parker Thompson rounded out the podium for DEForce Racing.
The drama began early when a concertina effect saw three cars sustain damage even before the start line and causing the first four laps to be run under caution.
After securing his first Cooper Tires Pole Award in qualifying this morning, Artem Petrov held onto his advantage in the early stages for Juncos Racing. He was even able to draw out a small margin over the field while his pursuers scrabbled for position in his mirrors.
Thompson held second place initially, after Robb was shuffled back from second on the grid to fourth, only to be displaced by McElrea under braking for Turn One soon after the restart.
Robb, meanwhile, leapt from fifth to second within a couple of laps of the green flag and then quickly latched onto teammate Petrov’s tail before making his move for the lead on lap nine. Robb never looked back, extending his advantage to almost three seconds before the yellow flags waved again following Eves’ incident.
Robb’s fine effort ensured another PFC Award for car owner Ricardo Juncos, whose team, Juncos Racing, extended its already emphatic lead in the Team Championship.
“We were really quick right from the start, so thanks to the team for giving me a good car. It’s quite the birthday present,” said Robb. “It was good to run out front – that comes from experience, to be able to hold the lead like that. We saw what happened last year, when I was running out front (at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca) and (eventual champion) Kyle Kirkwood was running me down. I ended up finishing second, but now that I’ve won – and won again – I know how to stay consistent. And to come to Indy and get my second win, it’s so special.”
Thompson claimed his second podium finish of the season as Petrov faded to fourth. Points leader DeFrancesco salvaged fifth place for Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport after qualifying a disappointing eighth and then sliding off the road at Turn Seven shortly after the start.
Colin Kaminsky took seventh ahead of 15th-place starter Kory Enders, who earned the Tilton Hard Charger Award after travel delays caused him to miss both the practice and qualifying sessions this morning.