The 2022 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season continued to produce exciting action during the Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis doubleheader, showcasing rising talent and evolving storylines.
The two days saw distinctively different scenarios play out at the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course, giving a good look at what you can expect from the 14-car field in the remaining 10 races of the season – starting with The Raceway at Belle Isle, June 4-5.
A few takeaways:
Sting Ray cruise: Last year, Sting Ray Robb, driver of the No. 2 Andretti Autosport car, earned one top-five finish in 20 starts. This year, in four events, he’s yet to finish worse than fourth, and his last three races have resulted in three third-place finishes.
The true testament to his rise in performance is he’s maintained solid finishes on a variety of track conditions. At Barber Motorsports Park, the surface changed from wet to dry, and during Race 2 on Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, conditions went from dry to wet – very wet. And during the latter is when he had, arguably, his best showing of the year, charging from 13th to third.
Robb’s performance has placed him third in series points behind the HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing teammates Linus Lundqvist and Danial Frost. Robb was consistent at The Raceway at Belle Isle last year, finishing 10th in both races. If he can bring his new and improved level of consistency back to the Detroit track, Robb may set himself up as a true championship contender.
Teammates thrive: The HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing teammates of Linus Lundqvist (No. 26) and Danial Frost (No. 68) made big statements at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course by sweeping the weekend.
First, Frost survived a wild start to Race 1 and methodically worked his way to the lead, grabbing his first career Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires victory Friday. Lundqvist battled for the lead early but collided with Christian Rasmussen at the apex of Turn 1, damaging both cars. However, he was able to work his way from the back to fifth by the end of the race.
Then, Lundqvist continued to prove his expertise in racing in the rain by dominating Race 2 at the Indy road course. It was his second win on a wet track this year and the third of his Indy Lights career.
Lundqvist also claimed the pole for both Indy events and led every lap in Race 2. Frost had put himself in contention for another podium finish, getting aggressive on restarts by not hesitating to enter a four-wide battle. However, Matthew Brabham took off his nose in the late stages of Race 2, and Singapore native Frost faded to seventh.
Swedish driver Lundqvist enters The Raceway at Belle Isle doubleheader – where he finished second twice last year – with the points lead and Frost 34 points behind him in second.
Finding consistency: Among the 2022 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Rookie of the Year contenders, Jacob Abel has quietly been the most consistent of the group, finish inside the top 10 in the first four races of the year.
Abel also earned his career-best finish and first top-five finish of the season during Race 2 of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway weekend, placing fifth in the No. 51 Abel Motorsports car. While his results put him eighth in points, they’ve shown his ability to finish a race without many, if any, issues.
On the other side of the coin, the leading Rookie of the Year contender Christian Rasmussen, driver of the No. 28 Andretti Autosport car, just started to find some consistency at Indy with two consecutive top-fives – his first of the year.
However, a mistake caused by pushing the limit cost him the chance at a potential win at Indy when he was catching Linus Lundqvist by half a second a lap. Finding where his limit is and avoiding trouble should help put Danish driver on a winning path.