MRTI RACE REPORT: BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK, RACE 1
Photographer: IMS Photography
It was all rookie Frenchman Nico Jamin in today’s Mazda Indy Lights Grand Prix of Alabama Presented by Cooper Tires Race 1, dominating the 30-lap event at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Alabama in his No. 27 Synova Mazda. In nabbing his first win in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires competition, Jamin becomes the fifth driver to win in all three levels of Mazda Road to Indy competition since 2010.
After starting third and passing Neil Alberico on the fourth lap, he went on to win today’s race with a gap of 2.65 seconds over second place finisher Kyle Kaiser. With today’s win, Jamin becomes the third rookie to win in three races this season.
Canadian Dalton Kellett continued a strong showing in his second season, bringing the No. 28 K-Line Insulators USA Mazda across the finish line sixth. After getting his highest career start in Indy Lights competition at St. Petersburg’s, Kellett continued his momentum by starting eighth in today’s race and looks to tomorrow’s qualifying and race to build on his sophomore season.
Colton Herta, who started second, made contact on the first lap of the race resulting in front wing damage. After the No. 98 Deltro Energy Mazda crew made quick work of changing the wing, Herta returned to the road course to take the restart from the rear of the field. Overall, Herta was able to recover for a top 10 finish and maintain the points lead, but looks to tomorrow’s Race 2 for redemption.
Ryan Norman, in the No. 48 Flip Side Mazda, continued to gain valuable experience in his rookie season of Indy Lights racing. After struggling in practice with a greasy track, he didn’t get the qualifying session he’d hope for. Starting today’s race 14th and finishing 12th, he looks to recover and progress in Sunday’s events.
Fans can catch coverage of weekend action from Barber Motorsports Park, Wednesday, April 26 at 12 a.m. ET on NBCSN. Up next, the team takes to the 2.38-mile, 17-turn road course for Race 2 of this weekend's double-header event.
No. 27 Synova Mazda
“Man, that was just so amazing. I can’t thank Andretti Autosport enough. That was just an incredible race. I thought I had to take the lead at the start because it’s so hard to pass here, so I went with push-to-pass right away and into attack mode. That worked out great, and the car was amazing. Thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires, we were able to run the same pace pretty much the whole race for 30 laps, and that’s quite incredible. The car was amazing. Big thanks to Andretti Autosport and Synova, and to my team. I’m just so happy today!”
No. 28 K-Line Insulators USA Mazda
“It was a good finish for the first race at Barber Motorsports Park. That was definitely an exciting start to the race. It’s too bad that a bunch of guys got caught up in the start, but in the end we were able to pick up some spots. When we went to the restart, we lost one spot but finished sixth overall today. The Andretti Autosport crew gave me a great car. We were consistent through qualifying and the first race, and we’re going to look at the data and talk with engineers to see what we can do for qualifying bright and early tomorrow. It’s definitely a hard track to pass at, so I want to make sure we start up front.”
No. 98 Deltro Energy Mazda
“I was looking good starting on the front row, but unfortunately had some contact in Turn 1 that took off my front wing and had to come in and changes. We went back out last, and drove to come back 10th. It’s not a terrible comeback and we’re still leading the championship. We’ll look forward to tomorrow, a good qualifying session, and hopefully some rain.”
No. 48 Flip Side Mazda
“Overall, I think the race went well considering where we started and how hard this place is to pass. After the first lap, I didn’t have any push-to-pass and I wasn’t able to use that the whole race. There were a couple of moments where I think I could of probably went for a move if I had that. It’s definitely important to get good qualifying position at Barber, so we’re going to come in tomorrow pushing to qualify well so we can start towards the front.”