Indy Lights qualifying:
After coming close at Barber Motorsports Park, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Milwaukee Mile, 18 year-old rookie RC Enerson scored his first career Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire pole just edging championship leader Jack Harvey with a quick lap of 1:12.9582.
At precisely 8am the purr of twelve turbo-charged 2.0L Mazda engines served as the perfect alarm clock for the large clusters of campers scattered around the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Harvey, who won both races at Mid-Ohio last year said that “being disappointed with second is a good day.”
But it was also obvious from his body language and tone that he really wanted to get the extra point for pole.
Pigot, who is second in the championship standing will start inside the second row and Ed Jones who is third in the championship struggled, qualifying in a disappointing tenth.
Ten minutes into the 35 minute qualification and the top five were Jones, Shelby Blackstock, Pigot, Ethan Ringel and Enerson.
The majority of the field stayed out on track for the first half of the session before coming off Turn 12 and into pit lane to make adjustments and put on fresh Cooper Tire slicks. At that half-way point the top five were: Jones, Max Chilton, Enerson, Harvey and Kyle Kaiser.
As the drivers hit the track for the final ten minute run for the pole they were chasing the Juncos Racing duo of Spencer Pigot and Kyle Kaiser.
The final five minutes of the session began with championship leader Jack Harvey on the top of the timesheet. He was followed by Pigot, Kaiser, Rayhall, Kaiser and Enerson.
Late in the session the No. 8 of Sean Rayhall had an off-track excursion in The Carrousel. The track remained green with a local yellow in Turn 12.
The final five minutes of the session saw a back and forth battle between the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian teammates of Enerson and Harvey with youngster topping the rookie on his last lap.
Enerson told IndyCar radio that the track conditions were really tricky and that his engineer Doug Zister made significant changes between the first and second stints of the session.
There were seven drivers within one second of pole-sitter Enerson.
The qualifying track record of 1:12.8624 on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course was set by Martin Plowman in 2010. After running quicker than that yesterday, it looked like the track record would fall, but the cool early morning conditions combined with the rubber from the sports cars that ran late yesterday was not conducive to making speed until late in the session when the their was sufficient Cooper rubber laid down.
The first Indy Lights race of the weekend will take place at 1:55pm this afternoon. It will be a 55-minute timed race.
USF2000 Race #2
Cape Motorsports with /WTR sophomore Nico Jamin is on a roll. The 18 year-old stood on the top step of the podium for the sixth time in the last eight races.
The Rouen, France native started from poll for the ninth straight Cooper Tires USF2000 powered by Mazda race and was squeezed into the grass at the kink coming to the green flag. Jamin dropped two wheels into the grass and kept his foot in it. He popped back onto the track only a few inches in front of Eidson avoiding a calamity in front of 16 tightly bunched Mazda powered USF2000 cars.
The first lap alsw saw Parker Thompson and his No. 80 JDC Motorsports machine get around Anthony Martin for fourth place. Martin was able to get by Thompson again on the next lap, but ran into trouble later in the race. The 20 year-old John Cummiskey Racing driver had not put a wheel wrong so far in his rookie season. The Kalgoorlie, Australia native had string on nine straight top five finishes come to an end when he spun at the tricky Turn 9. He was able to continue in eighth place but made another mistake in Turn 1 on the final lap of the race and ended up in fourteenth place.
By Lap 13, Jamin had built a 5.5 second gap over Eidson when the No. 9 of Clint McMahan lost control in Turn 9 and hit the wall on drivers left. The Covington, GA native was OK, but the track went yellow.
That yellow set-up a two lap shoot-out, but Eidson was unable to make a move for the lead. Jamin scored a maximum of 33 points for the third straight race and has built his championship lead up to 39 points. Jamin says that with three races left he still isn’t confident of winning the championship and realizes that a DNF would bring Eidson to within striking distance going into the finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Buddy Rice protege Parker Thompson tied his best career finish with a fourth and was able to eat into Martin’s Rookie Of The Year Lead.
After an early exit from yesterday’s race, Garth Rickards tied his best career Mazda Road To Indy result with a fifth place finish.
Rickard’s teammate Ayla Agren, who has won at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the F1600 Formula F Championship Seriess at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, started the race on the outside of row three and came across the line in sixth. Both were Mazda Road To Indy career bests for the 22 year-old for Oslo, Norway
For the second straight race Afterburner Autosport’s Sennan Fielding was the top USF2000 newcomer.
Complete Race #2 USF2000 results:
RANK — DRIVER — LAPS COMPLETED
1 Nico Jamin 20
2 Jake Eidson 20
3 Aaron Telitz 20
4 Parker Thompson 20
5 Garth Rickards 20
6 Ayla Agren 20
7 Luke Gabin 20
8 Yufeng Luo 20
9 Sennan Fielding 20
10 Nikita Lastochkin 20
11 Keyvan Andres Soori 20
12 Jack Mitchell 20
13 Max Hanratty 20
14 Anthony Martin 20
15 Alex Mayer 20
16 James Dayson 20
17 Andrew List 20
18 Clint McMahan 8
The third of three USF2000 Allied Building Product Grand Prixs will take place at 6pm this evening (Saturday, August 1).