Story Credit: Road to Indy PR
Photo Credit: Road to Indy Photo
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Sting Ray Robb tied up the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires earlier this month at New Jersey Motorsports Park and added another string to his bow with an emphatic performance in today’s Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Cooper Tires. Robb, from Payette, Idaho, led every inch of the way on the demanding street circuit and capped it all by establishing a new lap record on the 25th and final lap of the race.
Singapore’s Danial Frost profited from the misfortune of Parker Thompson (DEForce Racing) by finishing second for Turn 3 Motorsport. Robb’s Juncos Racing teammate, Artem Petrov, from “the other” Saint Petersburg, in Russia, completed the podium in third.
Robb laid the groundwork for his excellent day by claiming his fourth Cooper Tires Pole Award of the year in qualifying yesterday afternoon. He immediately translated that into the lead of the race, stamping his mark on the proceedings right from the start as he completed the first lap a full 1.2 seconds clear of Thompson, who had started third but managed to find a way past Frost at the first corner.
As Robb steadily increased his lead, the main focus was on the battle for second. Thompson remained under intense pressure from Frost, only for his efforts to go unrewarded when a mechanical problem forced him to pull forlornly into the pits after 10 laps.
Once released into second place, Frost halved the deficit to Robb from almost four seconds with five laps remaining, briefly holding a new lap record before Robb responded to maintain his advantage. The eventual margin of victory was a relatively comfortable 1.9774 seconds.
Petrov’s hold on third place appeared to come under threat from New Zealander Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing) during the middle phase of the race, only for the Russian to increase the tempo and edge clear before the finish.
Mexico’s Manuel Sulaiman took sixth for DEForce Racing after holding off a race-long challenge from Sweden’s Rasmus Lindh, who made an impressive return to the series with Turn 3 Motorsport after finishing second in the 2019 title-chase behind Kyle Kirkwood. Colin Kaminsky (Pabst Racing), from Homer Glen, Ill., also was part of this battle before indulging in a quick spin with five laps remaining. Kaminsky rejoined to finish ninth behind Mexican Moises de la Vara, who claimed his second Tilton Hard Charger Award of the season after rising from 10th on the grid.
Victory for Robb ensured Ricardo Juncos of his ninth PFC Award of the year as the winning team owner. He will go into tomorrow’s final race of the season with high hopes for another one, too, following another impressive effort by Robb during the second qualifying session this morning, which also netted him a new qualifying lap record.
Provisional championship points after 16 of 17 rounds:
1. Sting Ray Robb, 418
2. Devlin DeFrancesco, 326
3. Artem Petrov, 314
4. Danial Frost, 307
5. Hunter McElrea, 289
6. Manuel Sulaiman, 278
7. Parker Thompson, 274
8. Colin Kaminsky, 227
9. Antoine Comeau, 181
10. Braden Eves, 163