MADISON, Ill — Friday’s first of two Indy Lights races at World Wide Technology Raceway was cut short by nine laps. That’s because of tire issues plaguing the event with multiple cut Cooper Tires throughout the 66 lap race.
What does this do for Saturday’s race? So far, that’s remains and unknown as an investigation is ongoing to figure out how to fix the problem. Saturday’s race is scheduled for 75 laps again, but will changes be made?
Luckily, we have a races worth of data to help alleviate the tire woes. Plus, without any ovals so far this season, it’s not too much of a surprise that we’d see this occur.
Nevertheless, this needs to be addressed as you can’t roll into Saturday and not change anything in wake of Friday’s race.
Pole sitter David Malukas led every lap in that race en route to his fifth career victory. By doing so, he cut his deficit in the standings from 11 to 2 heading into Saturday’s weekend finale.
“What a race,” Malukas said. “This means the world to me, coming from a crash in Indy two years ago, then to win my third oval race in the series. I’m so happy, that’s the one thing that’s been holding me down and I got it off of me today. I’m sorry that we had to end under yellow but I understand that it was for safety reasons, but I know I deserved this win. This field is so competitive, but it blows my mind, the team I have behind me. Coming into the test here a few weeks ago, I hadn’t been on an oval in two years. We struggled but in the end, we found the car we needed just in time for qualifying.”
Malukas said his tires were fine but he also had clean air and not many battles which is why he said his were okay.
Kyle Kirkwood had to settle for second in seeing his two race win streak come to an end. Combined, he and Malukas have now won each of the last eight Indy Lights races which is why they’re starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
“That was a hectic race, I’m glad to finish where we started,” Kirkwood said. “Linus and David were just quicker than us. My thought process going into the race was just to commit – to whatever the car had, whatever the track was, I just had to commit if I was going to get into the lead, because it’s so hard to pass once we’re up to speed. I committed on the outside, got back to power and the rear just let go. I thought I had it saved but I didn’t, I let it slide
Linus Lundqvist was 25 points out entering this weekend but falls to 45 arrears after crashing from second place on Lap 58. That caution is what ended up being the end of the race as the white flag came on Lap 65 while under yellow for the scheduled 75 lap race.
That allowed Benjamin Pedersen to slide into third on his oval debut for his third podium of the season.
Devlin DeFrancesco and Alex Peroni rounded out the top five.
Juncos had a rough race with both of their drivers finishing at the bottom of the order. Sting Ray Robb was listed out with a mechanical failure on Lap 17 with Toby Sowery crashing nine laps later.
Sowery is now 112 points out after his fourth straight finish outside the top five. He hasn’t had a podium since seven races ago.