Briton Harvey Heads Schmidt Peterson Sweep of Indy Lights Freedom 100
Serralles Notches New Lap Record of 196.374 mph on Dallara-Mazda Indy Debut
Indianapolis, Ind. – Englishman Jack Harvey has been too often the bridesmaid in his year and a half of competition in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, but he was out in front when it mattered in this afternoon’s Freedom 100 Presented by Allied Building Products at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race was held in glorious weather conditions in front of a sizable Coors Light Carb Day crowd, part of the build-up toward Sunday’s 99th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian teammates Ethan Ringel, Scott Anderson and RC Enerson completed a sweep of the top four positions as the race finished under caution after series points leader Ed Jones (Carlin) crashed out of seventh place in Turn Four with just three laps remaining.
For Ringel and Anderson, the finishes represented the best of their careers in Indy Lights. The race also established a new Indy Lights race lap record for Felix Serralles (Belardi Auto Racing) as he circulated the 2.5-mile speedway at an average speed of 196.374 mph, eclipsing the previous mark of 192.301 mph set by Brandon Wagner in 2011.
Harvey and Ringel, who qualified on the pole yesterday at a new record average speed of 197.684 mph, quickly established themselves as the pacesetters. Harvey immediately grasped the advantage by sling-shotting past Ringel at Turn One on the opening lap, as the teammates soon began to inch clear of Kyle Kaiser, who had vaulted from sixth to third on the first lap for Juncos Racing earning the RePlay XD Move of the Race Award.
The two leaders exchanged places several times during the first 10 laps, while Anderson worked his past both Sean Rayhall (8Star Motorsports) and Kaiser to move into third. Enerson also drafted into contention as the four Schmidt Peterson cars edged away at the front of the field.
Harvey was content to settle in behind Ringel through the middle stages of the 100-mile race, but as the leaders circulated relatively conservatively in the 190 mph range – as opposed to the 194 mph pace in the early laps – Kaiser and a train of cars behind him began to inch closer to the leaders.
The pace quickened again on Lap 23 – back above 192 mph – whereupon Ringel and Harvey again edged clear of Enerson, who had drafted past Anderson for third on Lap 22. Harvey, who began the weekend second in the points table (after also finishing second as a rookie in 2014, losing out only on a tie-break to eventual champion Gabby Chaves), grasped the lead on Lap 25, only for Ringel to regain the upper hand next time around.
Finally, on Lap 34, Harvey took advantage of the draft from Spencer Pigot’s lapped Juncos Racing Dallara-Mazda to slip back into the lead at Turn One. It proved to be the decisive move, as the yellow flags waved on Lap 38 and there was insufficient time for the race to be restarted. The sixth win of Harvey’s career elevates him to the championship lead by 192-179 over Jones.
Anderson repassed Enerson for third on Lap 36, while Kaiser finished fifth ahead of Rayhall and Juan Piedrahita (Belardi Auto Racing.)
The second half of the 16-race Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season will commence with a pair of races on the streets of Toronto, Ont., Canada, on June 12-14.
Jack Harvey #42 Racing Steps Foundation/Curb Records-Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian): “I was happy Ethan was on the pole, but I wanted to win the race. We started to establish a gap but Ethan was trying to save his tires and it let RC and Scott back into it. It’s a chess game: you don’t really want to lead going into the last lap but when the caution comes out, all you want to do is lead. I’m sorry for the fans that we didn’t have a four-wide finish, but for me, this is what I wanted to achieve. I think everyone knew last year that I had the pace on road and street courses but the ovals needed a little work. I worked really hard over the winter and the first one we come to, we get our first win – and it’s in the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis. This is the one race I wanted to win, because I understand the importance of it, what it means. To achieve two out of three wins here, I’m incredibly proud of my team for giving me the car – and that I didn’t hit any walls! I still haven’t found the words to fully describe it but the first thing I said to (team owner) Sam (Schmidt) was ‘can I drive your Indy car?'”
About Indy Lights: The third and final step on the unparalleled Mazda Road to Indy debuted as Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires in 2014. Sanctioned by INDYCAR, the series is operated by Andersen Promotions, which oversees all three levels of the ladder system. Indy Lights has a rich history as a development step for many of today’s top drivers. Its series’ champion is awarded a three-race scholarship in the Verizon IndyCar Series including the Indianapolis 500. For more information, visit www. indylights.com.
About Mazda, Mazda Motorsports, and MAZDASPEED: Mazda is a leading player in all aspects of sports car racing with an emphasis on endurance road racing. Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America among both club racers and professionals. Thousands of Mazda-powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built. Via the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy and the Mazda Road to Indy, Mazda supports racers at all levels of the sport from club racing up to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship where it races with production SKYACTIV Technology.
Mazda remains the only Asian car company to score an overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1991). Mazda has had a naming rights agreement at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since 2000.
Mazda Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
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About Cooper Tire & Rubber Company: Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, together with its subsidiaries, is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative, great-performing tires that people depend on for all of life’s road trips, whether on city streets, off-road adventures or high-speed tracks. In fact, Cooper Tire is proud to sponsor and race in all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy development program within the IndyCar racing series. Cooper tires can also been seen on the track as a sponsor of the IMSA Prototype Lites Series, and competing in the short course off-road TORC Series. Headquartered in Findlay, Ohio, Cooper, together with its subsidiaries, has manufacturing, sales, distribution, technical and design facilities in 11 countries around the world. This year, as we head into our second century in the tire industry, Cooper is looking toward a future where innovation will continue to drive our products and our products will continue to drive the world. To connect with Cooper Tire, visit www.coopertire.com, www.facebook.com/coopertire or www.twitter.com/teamcoopertire