MONTEREY, Calif. -- Pole sitter Rinus VeeKay put the finishing touches on a great season by going flag-to-flag to complete the weekend sweep in Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The 19-year-old Dutchman was untouched for all 30 laps en route to pushing his No. 21 Juncos Racing Dallara IL-15 across the finish line by 5.2942 seconds ahead of rival and newly-crowned champion Oliver Askew (No. 28 Andretti Autosport).
“I’m very happy to finally sweep a weekend in Indy Lights,” VeeKay said. “My mind is already on IndyCar now. I’m super happy and this is the best way to end the season.”
Toby Sowery (No. 2 HMD Motorsports/Team Pelfrey) snagged the third and final spot on the podium, just ahead of Robert Megennis (No. 27 Andretti Autosport).
Lindh takes win, Kirkwood claims Indy Pro 2000 title
Pole sitter Rasmus Lindh kept it clean to capture the victory in the final race of the season for Indy Pro 2000 presented by Cooper Tires.
Piloting the No. 10 Juncos Racing Tatuus PM-18, Lindh escaped a plethora of issues to lead 17 of 25 laps to beat Parker Thompson (No. 8 Abel Motorsports) by 0.8684 of a second. Kory Enders (No. 7 DEForce Racing) managed to come away with the third and final spot on the podium.
“It is a special track,” Lindh said. “I was thinking about this track when I was little and playing video games. It’s special to end the weekend here. We took the last pole and also the race win, so I’m very happy. Thank you to Juncos for this year. I am very happy.”
Daniel Frost (No. 68 Exclusive Autosport) led eight laps and looked to be a challenger for victory until going off midway through the race, leaving with a 12th-place finish.
Kyle Kirkwood (No. 28 RP Motorsport USA) needed only to start the race to officially clinch the championship, which proved to be a good thing after he fell victim to an opening lap crash in Turn 1. In the end, he finished 14th out of a field of 15 and captured the title by a slim two points (419-417) over Lindh.
Eves takes victory to capture USF2000 title
There was simply no denying Braden Eves as a spirited drive delivered the victory en route to also claiming the title in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.
The driver of the No. 8 Cape Motorsports Tatuus USF-17 surged by pole sitter Colin Kaminsky (No. 23 Pabst Racing) at the drop of the green flag to take the lead. Meanwhile, Hunter McElrea (No. 22 Pabst Racing) came into the final race of the season as the championship leader, but was forced to start last in the field of 18 after an engine sensor issue plagued his run in qualifying.
McElrea would through the field with a dramatic performance of his own, pushing into the top 10 by Lap 4 of 20. With his rival out front, McElrea was forced into a situation to finish fourth or better and claim a bonus point for the fastest lap of the race. In the end, though, he could only manage to fight up to seventh position as hopes of a title faded.
At the front, Eves managed to fend off all challengers for the entirety of the race despite being under constant pressure, ultimately finishing 0.8527 of a second ahead of Christian Rasmussen (No. 6 Jay Howard Driver Development). Kaminsky fell to third, just ahead of Zach Holden (No. 14 Legacy Autosport) and Eduardo Barrichello (No. 91 DEForce Racing).
“This is everything I dreamed about,” said Eves, who provided Cape Motorsports with their ninth consecutive championship. “All my life I have been trying to make a career in racing, and the Road to Indy is how you do it. It gives opportunity to people with talent that earn their way up the ladder. That was the hardest race of my entire life, without a doubt. Everyone around me had new tires, I had used tires. I had to win in order to win the championship. The team – they are the absolute best team ever – Cape Motorsports. Oh my gosh!”