Story Credit: Road to Indy PR
Photo Credit: Road to Indy Photo
The battle for this year’s Indy Pro 2000 championship and a scholarship valued at close to $600,000 to assist in the progression to Indy Lights for the 2020 season is shaping up nicely. Teenager Rasmus Lindh, from Gothenburg, Sweden, currently holds the edge for defending champion team Juncos Racing, but a run of five wins from the last six races for RP Motorsport USA has brought Kyle Kirkwood, from Jupiter, Fla., to within just 13 points with five races remaining.
Neither of the championship protagonists has raced previously at World Wide Technology Raceway, although both were among the leading contenders during a one-day test last week. Lindh, 18, set the pace for the first two sessions before Kirkwood, 20, vaulted to the top in the final 60-minute period – by a mere 0.0278 second over Lindh. Both were considerably faster than the 32.0991-second lap (139.738 mph) with which RP’s Harrison Scott secured the pole position in 2018.
DEForce Racing teammates Kory Enders, from Sugar Land, Texas, and Moises de la Vara, from Guadalajara, Mexico, posted by far their most competitive performances of the season during the test, ending up with the third and fourth best times. Both were within 0.2-second of the benchmark time.
Lindh’s Juncos Racing teammate, Sting Ray Robb rounded out the top five at the test. Robb, from Payette, Idaho, is still seeking an elusive first Indy Pro 2000 win.
Parker Thompson (Abel Motorsports), from Red Deer, Alb., Canada, and Danial Frost (Exclusive Autosport) from Singapore, remain in the championship hunt after claiming victories earlier in the year. Frost will be looking to regain the form which saw him dominate the only other oval event on this year’s schedule at Lucas Oil Raceway in May. The pair of title rivals will have support from respective teammates Jacob Abel, from Louisville, Ky., who finished fifth at Lucas Oil Raceway, and Los Angeles-based Russian Nikita Lastochkin, who carries momentum from a fourth-place drive in the last event at Mid-Ohio.
Another Russian, Artem Petrov, from St. Petersburg, will make his North American debut for RP Motorsport USA after competing previously in European Formula 4 and Formula 3, as well as in the New Zealand Toyota Racing Series. Petrov, 19, made steady progress during last week’s test to end up with the ninth fastest time.
Canadian Antoine Comeau, now a resident of Chicago, Ill., will continue his learning curve with Turn 3 Motorsport. Comeau, who has raced Radical sports cars in recent years, followed up a promising debut at Mid-Ohio last month with a strong oval test one week ago.
The Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Oval Challenge of St. Louis will get under way with a 30-minute practice session at 2:15 p.m. CDT on Friday, followed by qualifying at 6:30 p.m. The green flag for a 55-lap race is set to fly at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, August 24. All sessions will be live-streamed on the Road to Indy TV App, RoadToIndy.TV, indypro2000.com and indycar.com.