Rosenqvist controls Race 2 to claim debut weekend win
Belardi Auto Racing's Indy Lights rookie Felix Rosenqvist was victorious in his second race in the category in St. Petersburg.
Rosenqvist led all 45 laps of Race 2 and, despite some mid-distance drama involving lapped traffic, never looked like losing first place.
While the Swede bogged down at the start on Saturday and his teammate Zach Veach excelled, the Sunday getaway was a polar opposite - with Rosenqvist easily maintaining the lead and Veach allowing Kyle Kaiser through for second place.
The field all managed to complete the first few corners without incident, but at Turn 5, Scott Hargrove spun around off the Andretti of Shelby Blackstock, bottling up the field.
Dean Stoneman just squeezed by between a spinning Hargrove and the wall, but RC Enerson behind him did not make it through, picking up front wing damage - and with a number of cars having come to a halt, the FCY came out.
After a quick clean-up, Rosenqvist led the field at the restart and quickly established a gap of almost two seconds, albeit Kaiser would subsequently manage to slow the rate of his escape.
And the advantage the Swede had built up was negated when Rosenqvist caught traffic in the form of a fight between Blackstock and Santiago Urrutia, who had had to pit due to front wing damage earlier.
"The call came in from race direction that [Blackstock and Urrutia] are racing too, which is questionable at best," Rosenqvist's team boss Brian Belardi commented during the race.
The duo took several laps to yield to the blue flags, Urrutia making the first move to finally allow Rosenqvist through - and the Swede, soon past Blackstock as well, quickly rebuilt the gap over Kaiser.
He was five seconds up the road with two laps to go when a crash happened between Neil Alberico and Enerson.
The latter was trying to work his round teammate Scott Anderson when he was plowed into by Alberico, who appeared to have missed his braking point.
Amid the chaos, Rosenqvist took the checkered flag, with Kaiser and Veach making up the podium.
Yesterday's winner Felix Serralles took fourth, ahead of Andre Negrao, who managed to successfully repel the attacks of Ed Jones.
Jones would also yield to Stoneman for sixth after the Emirati's attempt to pass Negrao into Turn 1 resulted in a spin.
Juan Piedrahita finished eighth, ahead of Anderson and Dalton Kellett, the latter himself recovering from a Turn 1 off.
Juncos rookie Zach Claman DeMelo had been the race's first retirement, losing his car to a mechanical failure while battling Stoneman for seventh on lap 11.
|1||Felix Rosenqvist||Belardi Auto Racing||51:45.862|
|2||Kyle Kaiser||Juncos Racing||4.368|
|3||Zach Veach||Belardi Auto Racing||7.474|
|5||Andre Negrao||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||13.434|
|6||Dean Stoneman||Andretti Autosport||14.244|
|8||Juan Piedrahita||Team Pelfrey||19.820|
|9||Scott Anderson||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||1:07.633|
|10||Dalton Kellett||Andretti Autosport||1:08.916|
|11||Shelby Blackstock||Andretti Autosport||1 Lap|
|12||RC Enerson||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||1 Lap|
|13||Santiago Urrutia||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||1 Lap|
|14||Scott Hargrove||Team Pelfrey||1 Lap|
|15||Neil Alberico||Carlin||3 Laps|
|16||Zach Claman DeMelo||Juncos Racing||35 Laps|
Serralles inherits St. Pete win after disaster strikes Veach
Hargrove confirmed for three more races with Pelfrey