MRTI Observations: Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park
While the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires was a bit of a snooze fest, the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires made up for that.
Simply put, Parker Thompson dominated from green flag to checkered. Exclusive Autosport certainly showed up guns blazing this year in their move to Pro Mazda. Don’t expect him to slow down, and the blame on a boring race isn’t solely his doing. The passes lacked throughout the field without any drama to entice interest. The only hint of something was a possible battle for third that never materialized.
You have to give a shout-out to Harrison Scott as his runner-up is his best finish in three series starts, following a ninth and 12th at St. Petersburg. David Malukas is also showing good poise with his third, marking a second straight podium. It’ll be interesting to see how Rinus Veekay makes out on Sunday. He swept the season opener, only to place fifth at Barber.
Now Indy Lights may have only eight cars, but that didn’t mellow the show. The battle for the lead got heated in the second half, with Pato O’Ward driving masterfully to hold off Colton Herta. They both have a good team leader in Michael Andretti, too, as in speaking of their issues previous weeks, he said, “This is a learning series.” Welp, the boys are doing well right now – but don’t count out the competition just yet. Santiago Urrutia has three straight podiums for Belardi Auto Racing with his third.
The other half of the equation has to be Aaron Telitz. With stuff happening out of his control so far, he has failed to complete a single lap of competition. Certainly not what we expected following a pole at St. Petersburg to start this year after winning the 2017 finale at Watkins Glen International. Funding was a question for him entering 2018 and you have to wonder how this will affect his chances at running the full schedule.
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