By Road to Indy
LEXINGTON, Ohio – As a precursor to Rounds 10 and 11 in late July, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship wrapped up a two-day test today at the always challenging 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Thirty drivers in total participated in the outing as the championship battles in both Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires ladder series continue to intensify.
Exclusive Autosport’s Danial Frost, 17, of Singapore was on point in Indy Pro 2000, posting the fastest time overall with a best lap of 1:16.2167 (106.654 mph) in the #68 Den-Jet Entry. Frost, who lies fourth in the championship and only seven points out of third, has impressed in his rookie season to date with a win and three additional podiums in the first five races. He is rebounding from a difficult stretch last weekend in Road America where he failed to finish both races.
“I’m really happy with getting the quickest time overall during the official Indy Pro 2000 test at Mid-Ohio,” said Frost. “Obviously, we are still looking for time to gain however the crew and I worked hard and developed our car very well over the two days. We are looking very competitive for when we get back in July.”
Current Indy Pro 2000 points leader Rasmus Lindh of Juncos Racing claimed bragging rights on the first day of testing, posting the fastest time in two of the three sessions to top the charts, and ended up second overall by only a tenth of a second to Frost. Kyle Kirkwood of RP Motorsport USA followed up a superb performance with a pair of race wins at Road America to emerge third on the overall speed charts followed by Parker Thompson of Abel Motorsports and Kirkwood’s teammate Ian Rodriguez to round out the top five.
While the sixth and final test session was canceled due to a severe thunderstorm which blanketed the area, it was newcomer Jak Crawford of DEForce Racing who turned heads in USF2000 by setting the bar with the fastest overall lap of 1:21.3106 (99.972 mph) aboard the #52 RE/MAX entry. Crawford, 14, made his USF2000 debut in May at the Indianapolis Grand Prix and has three top-six finishes to his credit in five starts.
“I feel good about our speed,” said Crawford. “We spent time developing the car for what I like. It should help going forward. I’m excited where we are now. Thanks to DEForce Racing for taking the time to develop the car and Scott Speed for spending the first day with me. I look forward to working more with him in the future.”
Hot on Crawford’s heels were championship points leader Braden Eves of Cape Motorsports and current series runner-up and recent race winner Hunter McElrea of Pabst Racing, who set the fastest time overall yesterday. The trio were separated by only 0.0362 seconds with another newcomer Francisco “Kiko” Porto, also of DEForce Racing, only a further 0.055 seconds in arrears and Pabst Racing’s Colin Kaminsky another 0.0788 seconds back to round out an ultra-competitive top five.
Prior to returning to Mid-Ohio, the Indy Pro 2000 and USF2000 competitors will visit Toronto, Ont., Canada on July 13/14 for the Cooper Tires Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products. They will be joined by Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires as the entire Road to Indy heads into a popular stop on the schedule in support of the NTT IndyCar Series.