Urrutia scores first Indy Lights win in brilliant fashion

Santiago Urrutia came from third on the grid, made a stunning pass on polesitter Ed Jones and headed off into the distance to earn his first Lights win.

Urrutia scores first Indy Lights win in brilliant fashion
Santiago Urrutia, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Santiago Urrutia, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Ed Jones, Carlin
Dean Stoneman, Andretti Autosport
Dean Stoneman, Andretti Autosport
Ed Jones, Carlin

The 19-year-old Uruguayan lies fourth in the championship standings after defeating yesterday’s Lights winner and points leader, Ed Jones of Carlin Racing.

Passing Andretti Autosport’s Dean Stoneman on lap 2, Urrutia rapidly drafted onto the tail of Jones. Having investigated his options at Turn 5 on lap 3, the following lap he went down the outside of a defensive Jones at the same turn, and grabbed the lead.

Thereafter, Urrutia kept pulling away at a few tenths per lap so his lead reached 2sec by lap 6, 3sec by lap 14, and 5sec by lap 23, where it stabilized. A cautious final lap saw him with a 4.2sec margin at the finish.

Urrutia left Jones behind to hold off a chain of Stoneman, the second SPM car of RC Enerson, the second Andretti car of Shelby Blackstock and Juncos Racing’s Kyle Kaiser – who was points leader heading into the weekend but now lies second behind Jones.

These five ran nose-to-tail throughout the race, but Stoneman – who had to retire with a faulty lambda sensor yesterday – was content to earn his first podium of the season. Thus he never quite got within passing range of Jones, but focused instead on edging clear of Enerson. 

If the race had a star other than Urrutia, it was Zachary Claman De Melo, who made this train of cars six deep from one-third distance. The Canadian rookie started 15th but sliced through the field like a veteran. By lap 6, the Juncos Racing driver was passing Belardi Autosport’s Zach Veach for 9th; just two laps later, Andretti’s Dalton Kellett and the second Belardi car of Felix Rosenqvist were also in De Melo’s mirrors.

At this point he was the fastest man on the track, some 0.5sec quicker than those ahead and even 0.3sec under the times posted by leader Urrutia at that point. Although his progress stopped once he was onto Kaiser’s tail, De Melo laid down a marker for the future.

Rosenqvist and Veach finished eighth and 10th for Belardi, split by Kellett.

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