MRTI RACE REPORT: GRAND PRIX OF INDIANAPOLIS RACE 2
Photographer: IMS Productions
Looking to repeat a weekend sweep for the second time this season, the Andretti Autosport Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires foursome took to a warm and sunny Indianapolis Motor Speedway for qualifications and Round 6’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
Colton Herta, in the No. 98 Deltro Energy Mazda, led the team to start in second after qualifying, with yesterday’s winner Nico Jamin, in the No. 27 DuraMAX Powered by RelaDyne Mazda, starting seventh. Dalton Kellett, in his No. 28 K-Line Insulators USA Mazda, followed behind Jamin in eighth, with rookie Ryan Norman starting his No. 48 Flip Side Mazda in 12th.
At the start of today’s 35-lap event, Herta was shuffled back to fourth diving into the first turn of Lap 1. Just after on Lap 2, Norman made contact with a competitor forcing him off track but continuing on the lead lap in 13th position.
As the race wore on, Norman kept pushing forward, maintaining the fastest pace of the field for some time while picking off positions to advance. Unfortunately for Herta, his streak of bad luck continued from Round 5, with his car slowing midrace and dropping to 11th.
As the checkers fell, Jamin crossed the finish line fourth, capping off a strong run with yesterday’s win to move up to second in the championship standings. Fighting his way through the field, Norman bested his highest career Indy Lights career finish yesterday, recovering from his Lap 2 contact to come in seventh. Kellett, making a late race pass as debris littered the track from a competitor’s broken wing, claimed ninth for his third top 10 finish of the season. Though battling tough luck all weekend, Herta was able to hold on for a top 10 finish, but slipping to third in championship standings.
Coverage from Round 5 and 6 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway airs Sunday, May 21, at 2 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. The Andretti Autosport Indy Lights teams now shift focus to their first oval event of the season, the famed Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Friday, May 26.
Nico Jamin – No. 27 DuraMAX Powered by RelaDyne Mazda
Started: 7 // Finished: 4
"It was a very good weekend for us, especially with the win yesterday from the pole. Today we had a small issue in qualifying where the fuel pump broke, so we started seventh and recovered to finish fourth. I don’t think we had much more today, but it's great points for the championship. We’re now up to second and not too far from the lead, so we’ll keep fighting and get up there."
Ryan Norman – No. 48 Flip Side Mazda
Started: 12 // Finished: 7
“On Lap 2, we made a pass on a competitor, making contact and running out of space. He tapped me in the left-rear, causing me to go off track. I put my head down to get to work, and I kept on picking people off. We had the fastest lap of the race for some time, and I feel great getting my highest finish in Indy Lights after fighting to recover. Andretti Autosport gave me a great car, and I couldn’t be happier with this weekend.”
Dalton Kellett – No. 28 K-Line Insulators USA Mazda
Started: 8 // Finished: 9
"All weekend the Andretti Autosport No. 28 K-Line Insulators USA Mazda crew worked hard, having really good pace initially but we were just kind of out of that window for qualifying. Our race pace kind of went back and forth with setup and changes, and we never really found the perfect combination. It took a little while to get up to speed, but I think once we were there, the pace wasn’t too bad. We just needed to be there right off the bat. Regardless, it was still an informative weekend. We’ll take what we've learned for the rest of the season. We’ve got the Freedom 100 coming up, and that was a great race for us last year. We know the Andretti oval cars are always exceptional, so I'm really looking forward to the race."
Colton Herta – No. 98 Deltro Energy Mazda
Started: 2 // Finished: 10
“That wasn't the race we wanted. Luckily, after being hit off early, we recovered to finish 10th which isn’t terrible. Onwards and upwards. It’ll be cool to spend the month of May in Indianapolis, and I'm excited to finally get the opportunity to race on the oval this year. I’ve never raced on a superspeedway like this before, so I’m just going to feel it out in testing and see how quick we are. We will definitely use the opportunity to test during Freedom 100 week to our advantage and learn what we can ahead of the race.”