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INDY LIGHTS RACE REPORT: TORONTO ROUND 12

Clouds loomed and rain drops fell just as Andretti Autosport’s Indy Lights quartet took to the streets of Toronto for their second race of the weekend doubleheader, Round 12 on the 2017 schedule.
 
Earlier in the morning, it was rookie Colton Herta putting Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing’s No. 98 Deltro Energy Mazda on the pole for today’s race. Looking to best yesterday’s finish of fourth, Herta nabbed his fifth pole of the season while setting a new qualifying lap record.
 
Close behind him, teammate Nico Jamin, in the No. 27 Synova Mazda, looked to turn his tough luck around in Round 11, starting the race fourth. Hometown favorite Dalton Kellett, in the No. 28 K-Line Insulators USA Mazda, set to start the 45-lap event ninth with Ryan Norman, in the No. 48 Flip Side Mazda, starting 14th after colliding with the wall during the session.
 
With droplets starting to fall just as the green flag did, it was a wild first lap heading into the first turn. Unfortunately for Jamin, he was caught in the action, getting collected early and unable to continue. For Kellett and Norman, they navigated through the mess OK, but Kellett was forced to pit after reporting running over debris and a tire going down.
 
Getting back on track as his teammate (Herta) continued to lead, Kellett pushed forward, recovering from the early pit stop to work his way up to fifth on Lap 17. With Herta leading and Kellett in fifth, Norman also drove hard to turnaround his luck from yesterday’s race, running seventh.
 
Unfortunately for Herta, his lead came to a halt as he tagged the wall in Turn 8 on Lap 26, causing enough damage to end his strong run. Four laps later, Kellett went off track into the runoff, causing damage to the front wing. With quick work by the Andretti Autosport crew, he could return to the track and finish the race.
 
As Herta and Kellett faced tough luck, Norman continued his strong run, sailing to a finish of sixth.
 
Up next for the 2017 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series, the drivers return to road course racing and head to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, battling it out for Rounds 13 and 14, July 28-30.
 

Ryan Norman – No. 48 Flip Side Mazda
Started: 14 // Finished: 6
Championship: 10 / 15
 
“The race went pretty well from where we started at the beginning of the weekend to where we ended. I think we gained a lot of experience here and got my lap times down. We ran some competitive lap times. I just used my front tires during the race a little bit too much and was struggling to find grip – I was using my bars and everything but just couldn’t find it. That’s how Matheus (Leist) got around me in the end and pushed me back to sixth. The whole goal coming into this week was learning the track and gaining experience so next year when we come back we’ll be a lot stronger and hopefully we’ll be up front.”
 

Dalton Kellett – No. 28 K-Line Insulators USA Mazda
Started: 9 // Finished: 9
Championship: 9 / 15
 
“We finished where we started so I can’t be too mad, but it’s just a frustrating day overall. I ran over debris off the start, tire went down and had to pit. Came out in last place. We fought from there all the way up to fifth – that was good. Clearly, we made good tries to the car between qualifying and the race. I was going through Turn 8 and went in a little deep and hit a bump, locked up and I had to pit for nose damage. Luckily, we were still able to finish where we started but just a frustrating day. I would’ve loved to have had a top-five result for the fans that came out today. I’m very happy to see everybody out here for the home race, and thanks to everyone who came out.”
 

Colton Herta – No. 98 Deltro Energy Mazda
Started: 1 // Finished: 10
Championship: 3 / 15
 
“It was a tough day. I’d rather be out there, so I don’t think it was a really good race, but after tapping the wall it was an early end to our day. Onward and upward to the next one, though. We had a fast car – I was really quick. We just need to figure out the restarts. We couldn’t quite get the tires working when (Kyle) Kaiser could. I’m looking forward to rebounding at Mid-Ohio in a few weeks.”
 

Nico Jamin – No. 27 Synova Mazda
Started: 4 // Finished: 12
Championship: 7 / 15
 
“This was another really tough race for us. It looks like there is a black cat on us every single weekend – it feels like every single weekend we have something that goes wrong. Today we qualified well, up front in fourth and we had a great start. We went on the outside on Turn 1 and I wasn’t left any room whatsoever and was sent straight into the wall. Three wide into Turn 1 was not going to be a good idea anyways. In the end the result is the same, we’re last again and have lost points and have damage to the car. I feel for my team and my crew, and we’ll work hard to bounce back for the next race.”