Indy Pro 2000 Race Season Road to Indy WorldWide Technology Raceway (Gateway)

Kirkwood Edges Lindh in Indy Pro 2000 Oval Test

Story Credit: Road to Indy PR
Photo Credit: Road to Indy Photo

The battle for supremacy in Indy Pro 2000 between Rasmus Lindh and Kyle Kirkwood is no closer to being settled following today’s test. Separated by only nine championship points heading into the final five races of the season, the two title protagonists today were within a scant 0.0278 of a second of each other. Series leader Lindh, 18, from Gothenburg, Sweden, headed the charts for most of the day for defending champion team Juncos Racing, only for Kirkwood, 20, from Jupiter, Fla., to snatch away the bragging rights for RP Motorsport USA in the closing minutes by turning a lap of 31.6365 seconds, an average speed of 142.241 mph. Kirkwood’s lap was significantly faster than the lap of 32.0991 seconds which was enough for RP’s Harrison Scott to claim the pole position one year ago.

“We had some issues in the first session but we went back to the team’s baseline from last year’s pole-winning car in the second session,” related Kirkwood. “In the third session, we put fresh tires on and were able to get a quick lap there at the end, though I think there’s plenty of room for improvement. The team has confidence coming into the race weekend after their performance here last year, and since this is the second oval of the year.

“This is very different from Lucas Oil Raceway, as there are fewer reference points and you’re not running up high the entire time, and we’re going a lot quicker. This is the first time I’ve been on a ‘real’ oval so it was a good experience. I think we’ll be strong next weekend.”

Lindh also had good cause for optimism after topping the charts in the first two sessions. His team, Juncos Racing, has won at Gateway in each of the past two years, with Victor Franzoni claiming top honors – and the championship – in 2017, and Rinus VeeKay mirroring that feat in 2018.

“This is my first time on an oval like this and it was a good experience,” said Lindh. “You can work more with your driving here because you can run more of a normal line in the middle of the corner, rather than having to run a high line. It took a few laps to get used to it. It’s more difficult to find time on an oval like this, but if you’re in the top three, running here feels quite easy.

“Rinus did well here last year and we were P1 in the first two sessions so we’re very confident that we have a good baseline going into the race weekend. We focused on race runs in the final session and we’re very happy with the car. We have to be careful, as Kyle is catching us a bit, but I feel as though this will be a good race weekend for us.”

DEForce Racing also enjoyed a productive day with Kory Enders, from Sugar Land, Texas, and Mexico’s Moises de la Vara posting the third and fourth fastest times, both within 0.2 second of the benchmark time.

Lindh’s teammate, Sting Ray Robb, from Payette, Idaho, ended the day fifth on the charts ahead of Jacob Abel, from Louisville, Ky., and Abel Motorsports teammate Parker Thompson, from Red Deer, Alb., Canada.
Jared DePouw
Jared is the founder of but works as a small business accountant. He also officiates high school football and lacrosse in his free time.