Zach Veach scored his second career win at Barber
Zach Veach’s weekend couldn’t be going any better right now. He scored maximum points in the first of two races for the Indy Lights series by winning the pole position, leading the most laps (all of them, in fact), and winning the race over fellow podium finishers Luiz Razia and Jack Harvey.
Veach was greatly aided by a small collision between Belardi Auto Racing teammates Alex Baron and Gabby Chaves, who started second and third, respectively. Chaves tapped his teammate at the first corner and slightly bent the suspension on the right front of the car, but was able to salvage a sixth place finish despite heavy pressure from Juan Pablo Garcia.
“The start was really tight, everyone was really packed together, and I knew I would try to go on the outside of Gabby, and he tried to out brake me and he touched Alex, and I took advantage of the opportunity,” Razia said.
Chaves was descriptive about his car’s condition during the race.
The story of the race, however, was Alex Baron. Despite being dead last after the first corner collision, Baron was able to pull himself through the field from 12th to finish fifth, making the last two passes to gain fifth on the same lap against Garcia and Chaves. He had a few factors that contributed to his drive through the field.
“It’s a combination of both determination and a good car from the team since the beginning of the weekend. Of course I was really annoyed with the start, so I really wanted to make back some places. So all of that just made me want to move up the field again,” Baron said.
Baron’s race through the field wasn’t without incident, as he had a slight tangle with Juan Piedrahita in turn 16 of the 17 turn road course after Baron clipped Piedrahita’s right rear corner.
“I wanted to pass him, I saw him look at me in his mirror and he still made the turn, so I think it’s just a racing incident because I couldn’t do anything else,” Baron said.
But for Veach, it was a flag-to-flag victory without much drama. He was the only driver that lapped in the 1:18 range and was able to maintain a 3-4 second gap during the race.
“I think the biggest thing [in this race] was tire management. I don’t think there was a single time in the race that I got wheelspin, and I think that’s the most important thing with these tires. My engineer was really on me about that, and trying to save them the best I could. I think that’s where a year of experience really comes in to help with these cars, Veach said.”
For race two, Chaves starts on pole, Veach starts second, Baron starts third, Harvey fourth, Razia fifth and Brabham sixth.