INDIANAPOLIS – Ed Jones became the first multiple winner in Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires in 2016 after a fierce battle on the final restart at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course.
Jones got a good jump on the field at the start and maintained a steady pace over the course of the opening stint while Dean Stoneman remained in tow.
Contact between Neil Alberico and Scott Hargrove on Lap 23 brought out a late yellow flag, which erased Jones’ comfortable lead and brought Stoneman and Santiago Urrutia right on his tail.
After an aborted restart on Lap 25, things got crazy once the race went green. Heading down the frontstretch, Stoneman dove to the inside and into the lead as Urrutia went to the outside and pushed Jones back to third place.
Urrutia made a bold move on Stoneman heading into Turn 7 while Jones was lurking in third. Stoneman and Urrutia nearly came together as Jones dove to the inside and retook the lead. Jones stretched out a lead of 0.9501 of a second at the checkered flag.
“I knew Dean was going to come close to me,” Jones said. “I thought I defended enough really, but then he made the right decision to come down even more, which I didn’t cover enough.”
“I thought more people were going to pass me. I had (Felix) Rosenqvist behind me. I used a push to pass to defend from him, which led to Santiago and Dean having that moment which gave me the lead again.
Urrutia held off Stoneman for second place as Stoneman claimed his second straight podium.
O’Ward continues Pro Mazda dominance
Pato O’Ward’s dominance continued as the Mexican driver took his fourth win in five 2016 races in the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires.
O’Ward won the race to Turn 1 on the opening lap while Team Pelfrey teammate Aaron Telitz had a bad start and back to seventh.
Up front in clean air, O’Ward set himself apart from the pack, stretching the lead to 6.85 seconds at the checkered flag.
“I think it was a pretty dominant performance,” said O’ Ward, 16. “Even though I was in front, whenever you lay off is when you start making mistakes, so I just tried to keep myself consistent and get the most out of the car as we could. I tried to do that.
“I'm a winner at Indy and I'm very happy I could redeem myself from the bad weekend we had (at Indy) last year.”
USF2000 sees first-time winner in Martin
Anthony Martin led flag to flag to claim his first Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda win. Martin jumped away from teammate Parker Thompson at the start and built a comfortable lead until a brief yellow for Dale VandenBush going off track on Lap 2.
On the restart, the Aussie got another good start and picked up where he left off, building a comfortable lead and crossing the line 0.5143 of a second ahead over Thompson.
“It’s always hard to come out on pole at the start because of the massive straight here at Indianapolis,” Martin said. “I was able to get a good start, get a bit of a jump and keep the guys behind me.
“I was trying to conserve the tires a little bit. He did catch up a little bit near the end. I was just trying to keep a healthy lead.”