Patricio O’Ward held off a late hard-charging effort from teammate and title rival Colton Herta on Saturday to capture a Race 1 in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The win marked the sixth of the season for O’Ward (No. 27 Andretti Autosport Mazda/Dallara IL-15), who started on pole and led all 30 laps to extend his championship lead to 25 points over Herta (No. 98 Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing).
Dalton Kellett (No. 28 Andretti Autosport) came across the line third to to complete a team sweep of the podium. It is Kellett’s best Indy Lights finish on a road course.
O’Ward said teammate Ryan Norman (No. 48 Andretti Autosport) had his attention in his mirrors until a restart on Lap 21, when Herta made a pass for the runner-up position.
“I saw Ryan behind me, basically the whole race,” O’Ward said. “Then when the restart came out, I saw Colton got by him. It’s so hard to get in front of people whenever you don’t have the push-to-pass, and the leader can’t use it. So I was just getting the countdown of how many he had left and just keeping the gap nice and steady so he wouldn’t have a go on me in Turn 4.
“The car felt great. We were all super tight. I was fast, Ryan was fast, Colton was fast and they definitely kept the pressure on me the whole race.”
The second weekend race is set to go green at 1:05 p.m. ET Sunday with O’Ward again starting from the pole position. The race will stream live on racecontrol.indycar.com.
VeeKay captures third straight Pro Mazda victory, takes points lead
Rinus VeeKay (No. 2 Juncos Racing Mazda/Tatuus PM-18) scored a dominant flag-to-flag victory from pole in the first race of a doubleheader weekend for the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The win was the third consecutive and fifth on the year for the 17-year-old Dutchman, who also grabbed the overall points lead by nine over Parker Thompson (No. 90 Exclusive Autosport) with four races remaining.
David Malukas (No. 79 BN Racing) finished second, 2.8753 seconds behind VeeKay, with Robert Megennis (No. 9 Juncos Racing) rounding out the podium in third.
“It feels amazing,” VeeKay said. “I think it feels even better than my wins in Toronto. I took over the championship lead. It’s the first win for Juncos Racing ever at Mid-Ohio. I’m really happy to give them a good return to all their hard work.”
The second Pro Mazda race starts at 11:05 a.m. ET Sunday, with Malukas leading the field to green after a record-setting run of 1 minute, 14.8576 seconds (108.590 mph) in qualifying that broke VeeKay’s track record set on Friday. The race streams live on racecontrol.indycar.com.
USF2000 champion Kirkwood continues winning ways
Kyle Kirkwood put in another dominating performance to take his second victory of the weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda.
Piloting the No. 8 Cape Motorsports Mazda/Tatuus USF-17, Kirkwood started second alongside pole sitter Kaylen Frederick (No. 24 Pabst Racing). However, Frederick went off in Turn 2 on the first lap and Kirkwood moved into first place.
Kirkwood went on to lead all 20 laps and win by 5.7167 seconds over Lucas Kohl (No. 22 Pabst Racing). Igor Fraga (No. 91 Exclusive Autosport) finished third to collect his third podium of the year.
Taking his eighth consecutive victory and ninth in 11 races this season, Kirkwood proved he isn’t ready to let up after clinching the USF2000 title on Friday.
“We're still pushing as hard as we can and we're still struggling to get these wins; it's not an easy task,” Kirkwood said.
“We qualified second … so it's not like we have a fast qualifying car, but our race car is absolutely incredible. We pulled away so much on the first two laps. A big clap to the Cape Motorsports guys for pretty much putting rails under my feet.”
By virtue of running the fastest race lap on Saturday, James Raven (No. 7 DEForce Racing) will start on pole for the third USF2000 race of the weekend. It starts at 12:10 p.m. ET Sunday and streams live on racecontrol.indycar.com.