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INDY LIGHTS RACE REPORT: TORONTO ROUND 11

Round 11 of the 2017 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires saw the Andretti Autosport drivers take to the streets of Toronto, battling it out for the first of two races of the weekend doubleheader. Qualifying earlier in the morning with a 25-minute session to open the day, Colton Herta, in Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing’s No. 98 Deltro Energy Mazda, led the Andretti drivers to the green starting fourth, with Toronto-native Dalton Kellett, in his No. 28 K-Line Insulators USA Mazda, starting behind him in fifth. Both having tough qualifying runs, Nico Jamin, in the No. 27 Synova Mazda, and Ryan Norman, in the No. 48 Flip Side Mazda, qualified 10th and 12th, respectively.
 
Taking the green flag on the sunny but notoriously bumpy street course, Herta and Kellett were both shuffled back on the start. Early in the 35-lap race on the 1.786-mile, 11-turn lakefront street course, Jamin got into the back of a spun competitor in Turn 8 on Lap 5. He was unable to continue from the damage, ending his race prematurely.
 
The restart saw Kellett making contact with a competitor just ahead of him while Herta made moves up at the green flag. Running fourth on Lap 16, Herta continued to lead the team with Norman running seventh and Kellett in 11th. Battling with Nicolas Dapero in the No. 31, Indy Lights rookie Norman did his best to hold him off in eighth while competing on the course for the first time.
 
With the race winding down with 13 laps to go, Herta continued to pressure Santi Urrutia in fourth, looking to advance his position. With 10 laps to go, Kellett saw his day end abruptly, putting a frustrating end to his racing return to his hometown.
 
With just two laps to go, Norman’s strong run in seventh saw a quick end, getting into the runoff in Turn 3. Herta did his best to hold on, finishing fourth and getting his third consecutive top-four finish.
 
Hoping to turn their luck around, the teams take to the course one more time this weekend, running the second event of the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Toronto Presented by Allied Building Products doubleheader. Coverage of Rounds 11 and 12 air Monday, July 17, at 7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.
 

Colton Herta – No. 98 Deltro Energy Mazda
Started: 8 // Finished: 4
Championship: 3 / 15
 
“I think it was a good recovery from the start of the race. Once you fall to the back, it’s kind of hard with all the aero-wash to get a run, but we came back to fourth and I’m happy with that. I think the car overall was pretty good. I hit the wall at one point during the race. I got pushed into the wall and something broke in the rear. Considering that, we still got the fastest lap and the car was really good.”
 

Ryan Norman – No. 48 Flip Side Mazda
Started: 12 // Finished: 10
Championship: 11 / 15
 
“Today was a lot of fun, the race battle was great. We definitely had more race craft going on than in St. Pete. I made a move at the end there on Juan (Piedrahita) and overcooked it, shut the car off I locked it up so hard and then I couldn’t get into reverse, so I was stuck there for a little bit in the runoff. I think it was definitely close between us. I don’t really know if that didn’t happen where we would end. Nicolas Dapero was also in there with a fun three-way battle during the race. We definitely gained a lot more speed and were going faster than we qualified, so we’re getting good experience and track time. We’ll be back tomorrow stronger and hopefully have a stronger race.”
 

Dalton Kellett – No. 28 K-Line Insulators USA Mazda
Started: 4 // Finished: 12
Championship: 9 / 15
 
“It’s disappointing where we finished and all the circumstances that led to that. Overall, I know we had a car that was on rails for the first seven or eight laps and I felt really confident that we were going to be able to make up some spots after the restart. I think we had something for Santi (Urrutia). I’m a little frustrated but I think we are going to have a strong car tomorrow for qualifying and do it again during the race tomorrow. It’s always a good confidence booster when you’re able to run guys down during the race and you know you are faster them. I think we definitely have a car that’s going to let us to drive forward, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
 

Nico Jamin – No. 27 Synova Mazda
Started: 10 // Finished: 14
Championship: 6 / 15
 
“Today was another tough race for us. We were off to a good start. We missed qualifying a little bit, maybe too long in the pit so we didn’t get enough flats on the second set. We had the pace to be in the top three for sure, so I was quite bummed for the race. We were already up to sixth or seventh with a good start, and then (Matheus) Leist spun in Turn 8 and he was out of my vision and I couldn’t see him and I just couldn’t avoid him, so that ended the race. We will try to bounce back tomorrow. I know we have a strong car. I think we will have a strong car in qualifying, so we will try for the pole or the top three and get a podium finish to pump up the team.”