Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Kaiser Wins Race 2 in Indy, Grabs Indy Lights Championship Lead

By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer

SPEEDWAY, Indiana- Kyle Kaiser had been knocking on the door all season for a victory. Two runner-up finishes at Barber Motorsports Park got the Californian up to second in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires standings, but a win eluded him until the second race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course where Kaiser took home the victory in dominating fashion.

Early in the race, Kaiser had a spirited battle with 2016 series runner up Santiago Urrutia. Urrutia had gotten past Kaiser once in Turn 1 but Kaiser was able to keep his momentum up and get through Turn 2 quicker to maintain his lead.

Eventually Matheus Leist was able to get around the Uruguayan to get second place but Urrutia fought back to get second place. Behind them, a spirited duel took place between Aaron Telitz and Shelby Blackstock. Eventually Blackstock had contact with another driver, causing him to go off track and stop

Late in the race, Carlin teammates Neil Alberico and Leist were fighting hard for third place. Alberico was unable to get around Leist and

While everyone else was fighting, Kaiser was checking out from the rest of the field, winning by almost 6.5 seconds. This victory was Kaiser’s first in Indy Lights since the first race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in September 2016 and his first victory away from the western U.S. in his Mazda Road to Indy tenure.

For Kaiser, despite winning by a large margin, it surely wasn’t boring out there, especially fighting Urrutia.

“He was quick, [Urrutia] was on me, it was tough,” Kaiser said. “I mean those first laps not having the push to pass is so hard, I thought I’d pull a good gap but the first couple of laps honestly the car balance wasn’t where it needed to be. We mostly set up the car for later in the race so we had a little bit lower tire pressures hoping that later it would be okay. So I think we struggled a little bit early and he was right on me, had to defend for like two or three laps and I was really nervous about it but in the end we came out in front so once we pulled that gap and we got outside that push to pass range I could calm down,” Kaiser added.

Urrutia got his first podium since St. Petersburg and will be looking to claw himself out of a massive deficit in the championship to the leaders.

“To be honest it was all right, I mean it’s a good track to get a podium here but it gives the same points as it gives at other tracks,” Urrutia said. “It’s been tough this year, we’ve been working so hard and we can’t get the speed out of the car but not just me, my teammates as well. So we have to figure out where is the problem and when we get the solution of the problem it will be all right,” Urrutia added.

Leist attacked early Urrutia early in the race but late in the race had to hold off his teammate.

“It was a great race, in the beginning the car was really really fast, went over to Santi and thought I could win the race, but it was a bit difficult. My teammate almost overtook me but I’m happy I saved this podium, it was a difficult run but definitely it’s a great place to get my first podium so I’m just very happy, the team did an amazing job this weekend,” Leist said.

Indy Lights Standings

Kyle Kaiser 139
Nico Jamin 126
Colton Herta 121
Neil Alberico 103
Aaron Telitz 97

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, DeHarde primarily focuses on the Verizon IndyCar Series, but has also covered NASCAR, the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Tudor United Sports Car Championship. A contributor to motorsport.com, Christopher DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.