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INDY LIGHTS RACE REPORT: MID-OHIO ROUND 14

Round 14 of the 2017 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season saw Colton Herta lead the field for a sixth time this season in his Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing’s No. 98 Deltro Energy Mazda. Nabbing more poles than any other driver in the field this season, Herta helped Andretti Autosport to its 45th in Indy Lights competition.
 
Qualifying Saturday morning before Race 1 at Mid-Ohio Motorsports Park in Lexington, Ohio, Herta claimed the pole with a fastest lap of 114.326 mph over Urrutia in second and teammate Nico Jamin, in the No. 27 Synova Mazda. Laying his fastest lap of the session down at 1:11.3945, Jamin qualified third for Race 2 of the weekend, with Ryan Norman, in his No. 48 Journey Mazda lining up sixth behind him. Norman’s quickest lap of the session clocked in at 1:12.0909, with Dalton Kellett, in the No. 28 K-Line Insulators USA Mazda, starting 10th after qualifying at 1:12.5374.
 
Leading the field to green for the 38-lap event on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course, Herta looked to take off on the start, but found himself in a spirited battle with Jamin after overtaking second place from Belardi’s Santi Urrutia.
 
On Lap 3, Jamin overtook the lead from Herta after spinning. Able to continue, Herta fell back to 12th as Jamin took off. Further back in the field, Kellett found himself running alongside Garth Rickards, making contact with the No. 11 and forcing the Canadian to pit after sustaining front wing damage. With quick work by his crew, Kellett was able to return to the track after the wing change, looking to make up lost ground.
 
With the field settling in, Jamin continued to lead while Herta climbed, picking off positions as he raced by. Between them, Norman looked to improve upon his Race 1 finishing position, running solidly in seventh for most of the day.
 
As the checkers fell, Jamin claimed his third victory of the 2017 Indy Lights season, marking his sixth win in seven races in the Mazda Road to Indy program at Mid-Ohio, his seventh straight podium at the track. Herta dug in hard behind him, recovering to finish sixth after falling toward the tail end early, while Norman crossed the finish line seventh. After suffering front wing damage, Kellett fell a lap down, finishing 13th.
 
The Andretti Autosport Indy Lights drivers look to take on their third and final oval of the season, racing around the 1.25-mile Gateway Motorsports Park for Round 15, Aug. 25-26 in Madison, Illinois.
 

Nico Jamin – No. 27 Synova Mazda
Started: 3rd // Finished: 1st // Championship: 6th (242 pts.)
 
“The race was absolutely incredible, I can’t believe it. The track was good, the car was good. I knew I had to make ground at the start because it’s so hard to pass around here. I got right on Colton’s gearbox at the start and it worked great. I knew it was going to be a great fight the whole race with my teammate and was sorry to see him spin. I’m so happy for the whole 27 team to be back on the top step of the podium. My brother came to support me and I’m really glad to have him here for this. Everyone asks me what it is about Mid-Ohio that makes me successful, I don’t really know. I think it’s all about the rhythm of the track; you don’t really have time to rest here. I think the biggest thing is that I’ve been racing here so much that I know what I want out of the car, the team was able to give that to me and together we were successful.”
 
 
Colton Herta – No. 98 Deltro Energy Mazda
Started: 1st // Finished: 6th // Championship: 2nd (255 pts., tied)
 
"Disappointed doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel after Race 2 today. We started on the pole, were in a great battle with my teammate and the 98 had that race. I had gained a good lead by Lap 3 and then spun. We fell back to the rear of the field and were able to work our way back up to sixth – but there’s a big difference between sixth and a win. All in all, we should be leaving Ohio with more points which we need, but we’re not completely out of the championship hunt just yet. We’ll be looking for wins at Gateway and Watkins Glen to keep the fight alive.”
 
 
Ryan Norman – No. 48 Journey Mazda
Started: 6th // Finished: 7th // Championship: 11th (176 pts., tied)
 
“The race didn’t go so well at the beginning – we had power issues like what we had yesterday and up until about the fourth or fifth lap, I was like a sitting duck. After that, I put my head down and just waited for opportunities. I’m kind of disappointed for this weekend. I know we have a fast car, and I know we could have been out front but just didn’t have any luck with mechanical issues. We’ll be back stronger at Gateway, and then hopefully end even stronger in Watkins Glen.”
 
 
Dalton Kellett – No. 28 K-Line Insulators USA Mazda
Started: 10th // Finished: 13th // Championship: 10th (176 pts., tied)
 
“Today definitely wasn't the best race for us here today. I’m pretty disappointed with where we ended up. We would have had a quick race car, but got into an incident with Rickards. We were side by side through [Turn] 4, I was on the outside and he tried to squeeze me. It’s frustrating but it is what it is. Overall, the Andretti guys did a great job all weekend and congrats to my teammate Nico on the win. I’m looking forward to getting back on track at Gateway for the next oval race.”