Mid-Ohio Indy Lights: Lundqvist dominates, Kirkwood is champ

Kyle Kirkwood has become the first driver to win all three categories of the Road To Indy, after clinching the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires championship, but he made it difficult in a strange and wet finale, while Linus Lundqvist made his third victory look easy.

Mid-Ohio Indy Lights: Lundqvist dominates, Kirkwood is champ

Despite needing only a Top-11 finish to win the title, Kirkwood looked like he’d made it a little harder for himself after qualifying, as he went off and damaged his front wing, leaving him fifth on the grid, while chief rival David Malukas of HMD Motorsports took pole. Malukas also had the other HMD/Global Racing Group cars of Linus Lundqvist and Benjamin Pedersen, and another Andretti driver, Devlin DeFrancesco between him and his title rival.

Then in the pouring rain Malukas dropped a wheel off at Turn 1 at the drop of the green and spun to the back of the pack, leaving Lundqvist up top ahead of Pederson and DeFrancesco.

Malukas battled hard to claw his way back up the field, while Kirkwood, who got past DeFrancesco on a restart to claim third, had a spin and went in the opposite direction, falling to sixth as Malukas made it a HMD 1-2-3.

But the real star was leader Lundqvist who simply disappeared from his opposition, seemingly able to find the grippiest line around the 2.258-mile course so that his lead was 17sec at the halfway point of the 30-lap race and that’s despite early yellow-flag laps.

Yet Malukas set an even faster lap than the leader to close onto the tail of Pedersen as he chased second, and he dived down the inside of his teammate at Turn 4 on Lap 19 – but was some 19.5sec adrift of Lundqvist.

Behind this trio – 37sec behind – were a trio of Andretti drivers, Danial Frost ahead of DeFrancesco and Kirkwood, until Lap 20 when the luminous #17 car of DeFrancesco passed Frost, who then put up no opposition to allow Kirkwood through to fifth along the pitstraight to start Lap 21.

Malukas kept chasing Lundqvist, trying to claim an eighth win, but the Swede seemed able to control the gap once Malukas had trimmed it to 16sec.

Similarly, Kirkwood initially tried to pass DeFrancesco for fourth but had to concede he didn’t have enough, especially given that it became a timed 50mins race.

Lundqvist and Malukas finished 10sec apart, with Pedersen a further half a minute back.

Behind DeFrancesco, Kirkwood fell off the track at Turn 4 on the final lap and lost fifth to Frost, but the latter was in generous mood and handed the place back to his teammate.

P

Name

Laps

Diff

Gap

Team

Points

1

Linus Lundqvist

29

LAP 29

 

Global Racing Group w/HMD Motorsports

449

2

David Malukas

29

10.6198

10.6198

HMD Motorsports

524

3

Benjamin Pedersen

29

40.6383

30.0185

Global Racing Group w/HMD Motorsports

357

4

Devlin DeFrancesco

29

64.7023

24.0640

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport

325

5

Kyle Kirkwood

29

78.5828

13.8805

Andretti Autosport

537

6

Danial Frost

29

81.5807

2.9979

Andretti Autosport

338

7

Sting Ray Robb

28

1 LAPS

45.8358

Juncos Hollinger Racing

249

8

Rasmus Lindh

28

1 LAPS

27.1877

Juncos Hollinger Racing

81

9

Robert Megennis

27

1 LAPS

37.6127

Andretti Autosport

319

10

Christian Bogle

26

3 LAPS

1 LAPS

Carlin

227

11

Manuel Sulaiman

25

4 LAPS

1 LAPS

HMD Motorsports

75

12

Antonio Serravalle

5

Mechanical

2 LAPS

Pserra Racing

176

 

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Mid-Ohio Indy Lights: Kirkwood wins Race 1, has one hand on title

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