BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Ed Jones claimed his first Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires win in more than a year with a dominating performance in the Legacy Indy Lights 100 at Barber Motorsports Park.
Starting from pole, Jones got a clean jump and was setting sail until Felix Rosenqvist and Santiago Urrutia came together on Lap 4, which brought out the race’s lone full-course caution.
Jones, in the No. 11 Jebel Ali Resorts and Hotels Dallara IL-15, performed a perfect restart on Lap 6 and pulled away from the pack. His Carlin Racing teammate, Felix Serralles, moved into second place following a collision between RC Enerson and Scott Hargrove.
Serralles hounded Jones the rest of the way but could never make enough of a run before the checkered flag fell after 35 laps. Jones won by 1.5881 seconds over Serralles, his first Indy Lights victory since opening the 2015 season with three consecutive triumphs.
“It was very tough with Felix pushing hard,” Jones said. “I was conserving the Cooper tires a bit because they did degrade quite a lot during the race. The Mazda engine with the push-to-pass was really effective. I could see when he was using it and I had to cover him with those, but I was able to hold him off.”
Zach Veach (Belardi Auto Racing) held off Shelby Blackstock (Andretti Autosport) to claim his second podium of the year. Zachary Claman de Melo (Juncos Racing), moved to the rear of the starting grid after his car failed post-qualifying inspection, came from last to finish fifth.
Points leader Kyle Kaiser’s day ended early when his Juncos Racing Dallara IL-15 stalled on Lap 27. Kaiser finished 15th.
The second race of the Indy Lights weekend starts at 1:20 p.m. ET Sunday (streamed live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com).
O’Ward and Telitz continue Team Pelfrey dominance in Pro Mazda
Team Pelfrey continued its Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires dominance with Pato O’Ward leading a 1-2 finish in the first of a weekend doubleheader at Barber Motorsports Park. Teammate Aaron Telitz, the pole sitter who led the first 21 of the 26-lap race, finished second.
O’Ward, 16, and Telitz each won a race in the season-opening weekend at St. Petersburg, with the other finishing second.
O’Ward jumped from fourth to second on the opening lap and then trailed teammate Telitz until he could make his move in Turn 15 on Lap 22, shortly after a restart following the race’s only caution.
“Aaron was really, really fast,” O’Ward said. “The rear tires go off when you are behind someone when you are at such a fast track like this. I think I managed it well and during the safety car period I tried to cool down the tires a little bit because I overheated them in the beginning.”
Garrett Grist (Juncos Racing) rounded out the podium. Pro Mazda runs its second race at 12:15 p.m. ET Sunday (streamed live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com).
Thompson makes sweep of USF2000 race weekend
Parker Thompson completed a clean sweep to close out the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, leading every lap for the second straight race.
Starting second, Thompson took the lead from Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Anthony Martin on the inside in Turn 2 of the opening lap as Luke Gabin (JAY Motorsports) followed him. Thompson never put a wheel wrong and held off the pack on two restarts to take his second win of the weekend.
“I knew it was going to be really difficult to get by Martin,” said Thompson. “I knew I had to get it done early and I got a really good jump off the line, right up beside him, that was perfect. Held the outside, thanks to him he gave me room and was able to take the inside in Turn 2 and didn’t look back.”
Gabin claimed his first podium of the season with a second-place finish. Robert Meginnis (Team Pelfrey) was the biggest mover of the day, finishing in third place after starting in 10th.