Benjamin Pedersen was bridesmaid 5 times over the last 2 seasons in Indy Lights. 2nd place no more for the Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports driver. The Danish driver led flag-to-flag en route to his 1st career victory in the top step of the Road to Indy ladder.
Pedersen won the pole on Saturday which was also his 1st career pole as well. He used that to net his 11th podium and turn his season back around.
The 21-year old started 2022 off with two straight runner-up finishes. He also had 3 of which in the opening 5 races. From then on, he had no top 5 finishes over the next 5 results. Then came World Wide Technology Raceway to where he started 2nd and finished 3rd for his first podium at that point since early June.
He backed that up with a career weekend in Portland.
Matthew Brabham charged from 6th to finish runner-up in his No. 83 entry for Andretti Autosport. Brabham kept his distant championship dreams alive with his 4th podium in the last 5 races including 7 top 4’s in the last 8. With beating Linus Lundqvist for a 2nd straight races, he moves from 108 points back to 103 heading to the doubleheader season finale next weekend in Laguna Seca.
The only reason the gap didn’t close much is because Lundqvist brought his No. 26 entry home in 3rd for his 9th podium of the year including three straight top 2’s now.
Jacob Abel was scored a career best result of 4th in his No. 51 entry while Hunter McElrea rounded out the top 5 in his No. 27 Andretti entry.
McElrea is 114 points out now leaving the championship battle to Lundqvist vs. Brabham.
The race went to a quick caution on Lap 2 when Lazier and Christian Bogle made contact in Turn 7. We’d get back green on Lap 6 before another full course caution a lap later when Danial Frost crashed hard into the Turn 11 tire barriers. That incident is what allowed Brabham up to 2nd in the sense that Frost started 2nd and 3rd place starter Christian Rasmussen were involved.
Pedersen took the green flag again on Lap 14 and never looked back. By Lap 20, his advantage over Brabham was already up to 1.6540-seconds. 8 laps later, it was pushed to 1.8142-seconds. by Lap 30, the lead was over 2 seconds.
Brabham made a last charge going from 2.0094-seconds back on Lap 30 to 1.3097-seconds arrears on Lap 32. The deficit was cut to 1.1339-seconds two laps later but Brabham ran out of time crossing the finish line .9651-seconds behind.