By Patrick Stephan of TrackSideOnine.com presented by Honda Racing/HPD (with help from Bruce Martin)
Frankly I wish this race was running a little later to better feature the Indy Lights series, but it is what it is. When they have 20 cars, perhaps the timing can improve. Weather of course is bright sunshine and about 60 degrees.
Jack Harvey started on the pole with Spencer Pigot to the outside. When the green flag waved, they raced to turn one where Harvey and Kyle Kaiser get spun. Both cars wound up against the wall as Kaiser who had started third rode over the back of his Harvey.
Felix Serralles became the leader, with Ed Jones, who started fourth, in second place. Pigot got off the throttle and dropped back to fifth place.
End of Lap 1 – RC Enerson has moved to third from sixth place, and Harvey is getting out of car as it appeared rear-wing assembly needed replace. Harvey gets buckled back into race car on Lap 3 and was clearly upset.
Lap 4 – Restart and Ed Jones blows pat Serralles down the frontstretch. Serralles comes up from the outside in Turn 7. Jones retakes the lead in the final turn before the hairpin.
RACE CONTROL REVIEWED RESTART AND ALLOWED IT
LAP 5 – Jones, Serralles, Enerson, Scott Anderson, Spencer Pigot, Matthew Brabahm, Max Chilton, Ethan Ringel, Juan Piedrahita, Shelby Blackstock. Harvey back to pit road for more rear-wing adjustments.
By lap 8 the top four had broken away from the field, Jones is still the leader.
Lap 9 – Matthew Brabham in the runoff area in Turn 1. Safety crew tending to him. He was running ninth, and his forgettable weekend gets even more difficult. They just never had that car working well. On lap 10, Pigot is now the fastest car out there and battling Enerson for third place. So, it’s Jones, Serrales, Enerson, Pigot and Scott Anderson.
Anderson spins in Turn 5 on lap 11, but is able to restart the car and return to the race. No caution. Pigot locks it up as he fights with Enerson. Quite a battle. Enerson has the advantage on the long front straightaway.
Kyle Kaiser told IMS Radio, “I made that mistake and that is something I will have to shake off the next weekend, learn from it and grow. I feel really bad for the team and everyone involved. It’s tough but its a long championship and I won’t let it affect me next weekend (at Barber).”
Lap 14 – Pigot’s battle pays off as he passed Enerson for third.
Lap 18 – Blackstock enters the pits. Harvey is three laps behind him and just trying to gain enough laps to take over ninth position from Blackstock.
Lap 20 – Pigot is now battling Serralles for second place. Goes to the inside in Turn 9 and makes the pass for second place. Serralles nearly got into the back of him at Turn 11.
Lap 21 and Piedrahita gets driven into the fence by Harvey in Turn 9. Harvey has heavy left-front damage. His day is done – and remember he was several laps down at the time already.
The order up front is Jones, Pigot, Serralles, Enerson and Chilton.
Back to green on Lap 25 and Jones gets a good restart but Pigot sticks to his rear. Pigot tries to go to the outside and then duck to the inside. Jones is able to hold him off.
Lap 26 — Enerson and Serrales bang wheels for third place but keep racing.
Harvey – “It was a good start and I was in the lead in Turn 1. I don’t know what Kyle was thinking. He made a mistake and from that point it was over. I was fast. I was much quicker and had to commit before I hit the barriers on the second crash. End of the race I cost us that. It’s just a terrible day. I’m not worried about championship points yet. We showed really good pace. The speed is there. To end the day in pit lane is just terrible, really.
“We have to turn it around for Barber.”
Lap 30 – Jones, Pigot, Serralles, Enerson, Chilton, Anderson, Ringel, Piedrahita, Blackstock, Harvey, Brabham, Kaiser.
Lap 32 – Pigot glued to the back of the leader, Jones.
Lap 33 – Pigot pressures Jones in Turn 1, and then decides to just follow him to wait for the moment to make a move.
Lap 35 – Jones leads by 0.5832 over Pigot.
Lap 40 – Jones, Pigot, Serralles, Enerson, Chilton, Anderson. Piedrahita gets out of car, his done officially done after completing 37 laps.
Lap 41 – Pigot stays close but not quite close enough. Pigot looks better in the tighter parts, but Jones seems to get off the hairpin and down the front straight a little better.
White Flag at the start of lap 42 (timed race now) and Jones leads by 0.8076 over Pigot.
Lap 42 Complete and the checkered comes out with Jones able to hold off Pigot to score the Indy Lights win after starting third. Wins the race by 0.6131 seconds.
Jones, Pigot, Serralles, Enerson, Chilton, Anderson, Ringel all running at the finish. Piedrahita, Blackstock, Harvey, Brabham and Kaiser were not running at finish.
Top four positions from four different teams (Carlin, Juncos, Belardi, SPM).
Dan Andersen, owner/promoter of the series says, “That was pretty exciting. Spencer was all over him. Unfortunately we had a rough start there. Sad day for Jack Harvey. Would have been fun to see him running at the end. These kids put on a great show.”
Jones started third and scored his third win in a row after sweeping the doubleheader at St. Pete. He now leads the championship by 31 over Pigot.
Pigot – “I was giving my all there. It was unfortunate on the start when a few guys got together and got back to fifth. I was able to make my way up to second by the end of the race. Everyone that is helping me, big thank you. It’s only my second race with push-to-pass so I may have overused it and needed to have saved it to the end.”
P No Name Laps Status
1 11 Ed Jones 42 Active
2 12 Spencer Pigot 42 Active
3 4 Felix Serralles 42 Active
4 7 RC Enerson 42 Active
5 14 Max Chilton 42 Active
6 77 Scott Anderson 42 Active
7 71 Ethan Ringel 42 Active
8 5 Juan Piedrahita 37 In Pit
9 51 Shelby Blackstock 33 Active
10 42 Jack Harvey 15 Contact
11 83 Matthew Brabham 7 Mechanical
12 18 Kyle Kaiser — Contact