BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Santiago Urrutia became the latest first-time winner in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and the fifth different winner in as many races to start the 2016 season.
The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires champion in 2015, Urrutia made a bold move on the inside line to muscle his way past pole sitter Ed Jones for the lead on Lap 3 of the Legacy Indy Lights 100 and took off from there.
The driver of the No. 55 Mazda Stone Red Dallara IL-15 was never challenged and crossed the line with a healthy 4.2437 seconds in the bank ahead of Jones. With Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian getting to victory lane, it also means that four different teams have won races thus far in 2016.
“In these cars it is hard to pass,” said the 19-year-old native of Uruguay. “Many, many times you need to take some risks. Yesterday (in the first race of the weekend doubleheader), I took a risk and it was too much and I crashed, but today I took a risk and it was good.
“I’m happy for me because I got a good feeling with the car and everything. I’m happy for my first win in Indy Lights and I’m happy for the team.”
Jones’s second-place finish in the No. 11 Jebel Ali Resorts and Hotels Dallara IL-15 for Carlin moves him into the points lead, five ahead of Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing), who finished sixth today. Andretti Autosport’s Dean Stoneman finished third to claim his first career Indy Lights podium.
O’Ward doubles up Pro Mazda weekend wins
Pato O’Ward shined once again at Barber Motorsports Park, dominating today’s Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires to complete a weekend sweep of wins.
O’ Ward, in the No. 80 Team Pelfrey entry, led all 27 laps, with teammate Aaron Telitz finishing second. Juncos Racing’s Garrett Grist finished third as the podium was a repeat of Saturday’s first race at Barber. It is O’Ward’s third win in four Pro Mazda races this season.
“I’m so happy for the team,” O’Ward said. “They absolutely gave me an amazing car to be able to drive and I just tried to get the maximum out of myself, get 100 percent out of the car. It was all about managing when I was up front since this is such a fast track and it is hard to keep the tires under you.”
A scary crash sent Team Pelfrey’s Weiron Tan barrel-rolling following contact with Juncos Racing’s Jake Parsons on the second lap. Tan walked away from the crash unhurt as Parsons continued.