BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Nico Jamin became the third rookie to win so far this Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tire season with a dominating win today in the first of two weekend races at Barber Motorsports Park.
Jamin also becomes the latest driver to win in all three rungs of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires development ladder.
Driving the No. 27 Synova Dallara IL-15 for Andretti Autosport, Jamin avoided a calamity on the opening lap when second-place starter Colton Herta rubbed the rear wheel of pole sitter Kyle Kaiser while Pato O’Ward and Santiago Urrutia collided further back. The incidents brought out the race’s lone full-course caution.
On the Lap 3 restart, Jamin moved his way around race leader Kaiser in Turn 5. The 21-year-old Frenchman never put a wheel wrong throughout the remainder of the 30-lap event and cruised to a healthy 2.65-second margin at the checkered flag.
“It felt so long out there,” said Jamin, who joins Sage Karam, Matt Brabham, Spencer Pigot and Aaron Telitz as drivers who have won at all three Mazda Road to Indy levels since 2010. “I thought I had to take the lead at the start because it’s so hard to pass around here. I went on the push-to-pass right away and that worked out great.”
Kaiser (No. 18 Juncos Racing) earned his ninth career podium while Neil Alberico (No. 22 Rising Star Racing) led a 3-5 sweep for Carlin Racing followed by rookie Matheus Leist (No. 26 TMA) in fourth and Zachary Claman De Melo (No. 13 ZCD Montreal/Zoological Wildlife Foundation) in fifth.
Sunday’s milestone 400th Indy Lights race is set to start at 12:45 pm ET, following qualifying at 9 a.m. Both sessions will be streamed live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.
Askew repeats to claim USF2000 weekend sweep
Oliver Askew repeated his winning performance from Friday to cap off the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda weekend with a sweep.
Today’s race was nearly a carbon copy of Friday as Askew, driving the No. 3 Mazda Motorsports/MC Racing Tatuus USF-17 for Cape Motorsports, jetted away from Kaylen Frederick (No. 81 Team Pelfrey Pilot ONE Racing). Frederick was never able to challenge as Askew pulled away to win by 3.8037 seconds at the end of the 17-lap event.
“I pretended it was a qualifying session and just put in the laps,” Askew said. “I don’t look in the mirrors. I’ve trained my eyes not to because I would just see that yellow car (Frederick) behind me.”
Parker Thompson (No. 90 Exclusive Autosport Openhwy) finished third, his second podium of the season.
Askew’s win propels him to a points total of 122 after four races. Frederick is tied with Rinus VeeKay for second with 88 points.