TORONTO – Kyle Kaiser made significant headway toward his championship quest in Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires with a win from pole today in Race 1 of the doubleheader weekend on the streets of Toronto.
“We executed exactly what we had to do,” said Kaiser, who also won a race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in May. “I have to thank Mazda, Cooper Tires and my team, Juncos Racing. This thing was a rocket ship today, nobody was close.”
Kaiser, the Indy Lights points leader, led all 35 laps on the 1.786-mile temporary street course and won by 3.6 seconds over Carlin’s Zachary Claman De Melo. Santi Urrutia (Belardi Auto Racing) finished third to make the podium for the third time in the last four races, though the Uruguayan has yet to win a race in 2017 after narrowly missing out on the Indy Lights championship in 2016.
After winning three of the last four races, Carlin’s Matheus Leist had climbed into the championship fight, just 13 points behind Kaiser coming into the weekend, but found the tire barrier on Lap 4, ending his race with a 13th-place finish.
With Race 2 to come on Sunday, Kaiser now holds a commanding 37-point lead over the field.
“I felt like we managed to race perfectly,” said the Californian. “I drove exactly how I had to, didn’t make any mistakes. (I had) a couple moments that you’d expect out there on this track, but I’m really happy.”
Race 2 qualifying is scheduled for 9 a.m. ET Sunday, with the race set to go green at 12:15 p.m. (live stream at RaceControl.IndyCar.com).
Thompson scores USF2000 win on native Canadian soil
Exclusive Autosport’s Parker Thompson set out this weekend with one goal: to defend home turf. So far, so good.
Thompson, an Alberta native, notched a pole and win today in Race 1 of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda weekend at Toronto, leading all 25 laps.
“There were definitely some tears shed on that final lap,” said the affable Thompson, who also won on the streets of Exhibition Place in 2016. “It’s unbelievable. What makes this year really special is obviously the Canadian team. My engineer is Canadian, my team owner, Michael (Duncalfe), is Canadian, my mechanic is Canadian, so to come here to Toronto and get the victory in front of the Canadian fans – words don’t describe it.”
Canada-based Exclusive Autosport joined the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires this year, and thus scored its first USF2000 win today. Championship leader Oliver Askew of Cape Motorsports followed Thompson across the line, with Rinus VeeKay of Pabst Racing landing the last step on the podium.
Askew snatched the Race 2 pole in qualifying this morning with a lap of 1 minute, 12.2192 seconds. He will be joined by 15-year-old David Malukas (BN Racing) on the front row. Thompson will have a little more work ahead of him in Sunday’s race, starting from the fourth position in his fight to sweep the weekend.
USF2000 Race 2 from Toronto begins Sunday at 9:40 a.m. ET. Live streaming of the event can be found at RaceControl.IndyCar.com.