Kyle Kaiser completed a Toronto double to leap into a commanding lead in the Indy Lights championship, although polesitter Colton Herta was the early star of the race.
Herta made a strong start, but fellow front-row starter Santi Urrutia, allowing Race 1 winner Kaiser on his inside, and Nico Jamin on his outside. Exiting Turn 1, three-wide was never going to work, and Jamin nosed into the wall, losing his front wing.
This abruptly slowed him, causing Shelby Blackstock, Neil Alberico, Juan Piedrahita and Garth Rickards to all run into each other, leaving Herta, Kaiser, Urrutia and the lead Carlin car of Zachary Claman De Melo as the top four, followed by Aaron Telitz (Belardi), Nicolas Dapero (Juncos), Ryan Norman (Andretti) and Matheus Leist (Carlin).
The restart was civilized, and Claman De Melo found a way past Urrutia who on Lap 7 was passed by teammate Telitz. Two laps later, Leist gave away eighth place by having a single-car incident, nosing gently into the tires at Turn 3 before getting going again without damage.
Having initially looked a threat to Herta while they were on cold tires, Kaiser had dropped four seconds behind by Lap 11, and was coming under increasing pressure from Claman De Melo and Telitz.
Herta’s lead was reduced to zero at the start of Lap 12 when Urrutia’s car came to a halt on the pitstraight. He was towed away, and the race restarted on Lap 15. Herta kept Kaiser back, but Claman De Melo was passed into Turn 3 by Telitz for third place.
Further back, Dalton Kellett in the Andretti car and Piedrahita’s Pelfrey machine passed Dapero to take fifth and sixth respectively. A couple of laps later, Dapero dropped it himself, skating down the Turn 3 runoff before rejoining. That moved Norman, Leist and Rickards into seventh, eighth and ninth.
Herta was having to work hard to pull away from Kaiser, and even by half distance his lead was only 1.8sec, while six seconds back, Telitz was only 0.8sec ahead of Claman De Melo.
The race was turned on its head when Herta’s left-rear suspension collapsed, leaving Kaiser with a 5.5sec lead over the Telitz/Claman De Melo battle with Piedrahita another 6sec back.
Kellett on Lap 30 threw away his fifth place by running into the tires at Turn 8, and needing to pit for a new nose wing and fell a lap down.
Leist made a perfect pass around the outside of Norman at Turn 3 to grab fifth place on Lap 41, having not quite got it right the previous lap, but ran out of laps to try and catch back up with Piedrahita.
Some 15 seconds up the road teammate Claman de Melo was still trying to push Telitz, but to no avail, and they crossed the line 2.5sec apart.
Six seconds even further ahead, Kaiser clinched his second win of the weekend and third of the year. No one hands this series veteran a five-second lead and expects to still beat him.
Surely, too, no one spots him a 51-point lead in the championship, and expects to make it up in the four remaining rounds. Certainly not while he and the Juncos Racing #18 remain so fast and reliable.