By Aaron Bearden, Open Wheel Editor
BROWNSBURG, Ind. — Alex Baron and Russ McDonough found themselves at odds after a run-in at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Baron was running third in his No. 19 Swan-RJB Motorsports machine when he caught McDonough’s lapped No. 29 BN Racing machine on Lap 29 of Friday’s Freedom 75. The French driver attempted to overtake McDonough going into Turn 3 on the .686-mile oval, but the duo made contact.
The resulting shunt sent Baron into the outside wall, knocking the 23-year-old out of the race in 21st.
“When you get lapped on an oval, and when there’s blue flags out, drivers need to know that they shouldn’t be racing with the leaders,” Baron told Motorsports Tribune afterward. “They should be giving room when they’re passing, because they’re doing their own race. There’s people driving out there and not giving you room.”
McDonough continued on briefly, but the damage ultimately forced him off-track after 30 laps, relegating him to a 20th-place result. The Arkansas native defended himself following the race, claiming he gave enough room for Baron to complete the pass.
“We were just going into Turn 3 side-by-side, and I don’t know if (Baron’s) car got loose or what, but he washed out toward me and his rear wheel hit my front, which put him in the wall,” he said. “I wish it could have been avoided, but unfortunately it happened.
“I think once (Baron) looks at some video, he’ll realize I didn’t do anything to cause it.”
The crash continued a recent trend of crashes between Baron and BN Racing drivers – a fact Baron himself didn’t shy away from.
“All three accidents I’ve had have been against BN Racing,” he said. “No offense meant to anyone on their crew or anything like that, but I just find it funny that every time I have an accident it seems to be with a BN car. Unfortunate.”
Friday’s incident also served as a serious championship blow to Baron. He maintained second in the championship standings, but points leader Kyle Kirkwood’s win elevated the Floridian to a 59-point advantage.
Wish such a massive deficit to overcome, Baron claims his sight will be set on checkered flags alone for the rest of the USF2000 Championship season.
“I’m not even going to think about the championship,” he said. “From here on out, I’m just going to try to go balls out and just try to win every single race. I’m not going to worry about what others think or try to be overly nice, I’m just going to go for it and be very selfish on-track.”