MRTI Observations: USF2000 Royal Purple Grand Prix of Indy Race 1
With youth and inexperience throughout the Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda field, there was no surprise to contact on Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. However, the fans got treated to some great racing along the way, too.
It didn’t take long for the contact to begin, either, as it happened right from the start with Darren Keane, Michael D’Orlando, and Lucas Kohl. While continuing the bad string of results for D’Orlando, it just adds another layer to the up-and-down year that has been for the other two drivers. Keane placed third and 12th at St. Petersburg, while Kohl placed 13th and third in the season opener. When you have the likes of Alex Baron and Kyle Kirkwood finishing one-two at St. Petersburg, and running up front here, you can’t afford to have any races where you finish in the teens. Both of those drivers having a pair now this early may haunt them.
Speaking of Baron, he put on a great performance en route to his victory, including a thrilling pass that saw him go from third to first in a single corner. If you had any doubts about his talent, let’s hope that those were erased today. Though in reality, the same could be said about Kyle Kirkwood because combined with Baron, the pair put on a great battle for the lead that had the fan’s attention. The championship battle between these two moving forward could be filled with highlights.
On the flip side, Pabst Racing is probably wishing they were in that boat as they certainly didn’t have the day they wanted as following Kohl’s problems off the top, both Ramus Lindh and Kaylen Frederick ran into problems mid-way after starting up front.
Of note, there were other great battles in the field that were worth mentioning. The sixth through 10th competition could’ve used a close-up by the television coverage as those guys were getting at it, with changes in line and three-wide at times. Calvin Ming got the upper hand by the checkered flag, giving him his third straight top-eight finish.
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