For the second day in a row, Canadian Parker Thompson guided his Exclusive Autosport Tatuus USF-17 to a hard-won victory as three top rivals collided, but only after three frontrunners eliminated themselves.
Oliver Askew started from the pole for Cape Motorsports but he and fellow front row qualifier David Malukas (BN Racing) outbraked themselves while running side by side into Turn 3, allowing ArmsUp Motorsports’ Alex Baron into the lead with Askew regaining second, and Malukas in third ahead of yesterday’s winner Thompson and Pabst Racing’s Rinus VeeKay.
This group of five were already edging clear of Team Pelfrey’s Robert Megennis, and on Lap 4 Malukas passed Askew for second at Turn 8, rapidly closing in on Baron. The leader kept protecting the inside line down to Turn 3, the track’s primary passing spot, but finally Malukas looked like he’d gotten the job done as Baron slid wide on exit.
But when the BN car dived for the inside, the pair collided and a closely-following Askew got caught up in the melee, handing the lead to Thompson but bringing out the full-course caution.
VeeKay did his best to separate Thompson from the lead once the race restarted, but ultimately finished 0.64sec behind with fastest lap as a consolation prize. He now lies 18 points of Askew in the points race, with just three races remaining in the season.
Thompson said afterward: “What a feeling, to get two in ‘TO’ in front of the Canadian fans! I’d say this is unbelievable, but it’s past that now and into its own new realm. I knew I had the pace so I hung back to let things string out before I attacked. I saw the three of them lock up so I backed off and I had just enough of a gap to squeeze through.
“And after yesterday, I was really calm on the restart. I had my team owner, Michael Duncalfe, talking to me on the radio keeping me prepared, so I just got a good jump on the restart and worked to keep Rinus behind me the rest of the way.
“The Exclusive Autosport crew has done such a great job – to take two wins, two poles and multiple podiums in their first season on the Mazda Road to Indy is outstanding. We’re only getting stronger.”
The 15-year-old Kaylen Frederick drove his Team Pelfrey car to seventh before the caution flags, and kept charging after the restart to claim third place ahead of Darren Keane (Newman Wachs Racing) and Megennis.