MRTI RACE REPORT: BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK, RACE 2
On a dreary and damp morning of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires’ special 400th race, rain-soaked conditions at Barber Motorsports Park forced qualifications for the weekend’s second race to cancel, setting the field by points. Colton Herta, Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing’s standout rookie and driver of the No. 98 Deltro Energy Mazda, saw both the green and checkered flags in Sunday’s 35 lap race leading from start to finish.
Staging a strong recovery after a dismal start to his rookie season in St. Petersburg, Frenchman Nico Jamin landed on the podium, starting in fourth and finishing third in his No. 27 Synova Mazda a day after winning his first Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires event. While Herta continues to lead the points race, Jamin moves up to third heading into the month of May.
In his sophomore season, Dalton Kellett, driver of the No 28 K-Line Insulators USA Mazda, put up quite the challenge for rookie teammate Ryan Norman as the race came to a close, making Norman earn his ninth place finish while Kellett had to settle for 10th. Kellett, who reported his car faded as the race wore on, managed to hang on for his second top 10 this season after sustaining contact on Lap 1. Norman, in his No. 48 Flip Side Mazda, attained his third top 10 in four races this season while continuing to gain valuable experience and seat time.
Coverage from Round 3 and 4 at Barber Motorsports Park airs Wednesday, April 26 at 12 a.m. ET on NBCSN. The team returns home next to Indianapolis for Rounds 5 and 6 on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 11-13.
Colton Herta - No. 98 Deltro Energy Mazda
“Starting from pole and leading from there, it was all about conserving tires today. We did it perfectly and ended up with an almost ten second gap in the end. Leading the points championship is great, but it’s still really early in the season. We’re for sure going to try and defend it throughout the year. That said, I can’t wait to race at Indianapolis coming up, especially on the oval. I’m really looking forward to May.”
Nico Jamin - No. 27 Synova Mazda
“Overall, it was a very good weekend for the Andretti team! P1 and P3 for me this weekend is very, very good for the points championship. It wasn’t good leaving St. Pete where we did, but now we’re up back there and hunting my teammate [Colton Herta]. He had a great race from starting on pole, which is a big advantage here. I feel like we did what we could and scored big points this weekend, but now we focus on the month of May.”
Ryan Norman - No. 48 Flip Side Mazda
“Today was very good from where we started the race. I made a fun pass on my teammate [Dalton Kellett] towards the end, and we gave each other enough room. Me, Shelby [Blackstock] and Dalton had a tricky situation going into Turn 1 going three-wide, and that wasn’t going to work so I kind of bailed out. Overall, it was a really fun race here. Front tires fell off a little towards the end, and that’s when I started to struggle during the run with Shelby. I wish we got qualifying in this morning after starting P13, but we’ll go harder and get ready for Indianapolis in May. I’m really looking forward to racing in front of fans at Indy.”
Dalton Kellett - No. 28 K-Line Insulators USA Mazda
“We had a great start to the race, jumping up to fifth. The first couple of laps were awesome, taking advantage of push-to-pass on the second lap. It felt like we had a really good car. I honestly feel we could’ve fought for a fourth place finish. We had a little contact on the start causing some damage to the car. After about the first 12 laps, it got to the point I just couldn’t turn the wheel anymore and was having to compromise in corners. It was kind of heartbreaking, but I had so much fun battling my teammate [Ryan Norman]. Not much you can do when someone catches you in your mirrors, but I hope Ryan got some good racing experience because I didn’t make it easy on him!”