Road to Indy
March 4, 2019 | 10:00 AM
Two days of Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires Spring Training for both the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship wrapped up this afternoon at the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course in South Florida.
Teams and drivers were greeted by warm weather – a welcome respite for some after a particularly harsh winter in the Midwest and Northeast – as they completed preparations for next weekend’s season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
The middle rung on the Road to Indy ladder system has a new identity in 2019, with Indy Pro 2000 replacing the old Pro Mazda moniker, but it was a pair of veterans, Robb and Thompson, who ended the weekend with initial bragging rights prior to the new season
Last year’s runaway USF2000 champion, Kyle Kirkwood, from Jupiter, Fla., led the way at the end of Day One for RP Motorsport USA, while Thompson, who concluded a late deal to join Abel Motorsports, upped the ante this morning by recording the first sub-1:20s lap of the weekend at 1:19.9506
“Our goal at the beginning of the final session was to get into the 1:19s,” said Robb. “Parker set a quick lap earlier but I wanted to beat that! We made a quick new-tire run at the beginning of the session, then made a few changes to adapt to the conditions and went back out on new tires, setting the quick time.
“I’m happy to be with the team this season – I did the Chris Griffis test with them in 2017 and obviously they know what they’re doing.”
After concluding his arrangement to join Abel Motorsports only days before the test, Thompson’s earlier effort remained good enough for second overall.
“Early retirement wasn’t treating me well, so when the opportunity came about to test with Abel Motorsports, I couldn’t say no,” quipped Thompson, who finished second in the 2018 championship chase.
“I know Homestead really well but I don’t know the team, though they have a history of winning and they’re a great group. We hit the ground running – I find it really fun as a driver to sit down with a new team and go over how to make them faster. In two short days, we posted top-of-the-chart times so it was a great experience.”
A spate of quick times in the closing minutes this afternoon saw Kirkwood end the weekend third quickest, narrowly ahead of Swedish youngster Rasmus Lindh aboard a second Juncos Racing Tatuus. The top four were all covered by a slender 0.2781 of a second.
Mexico’s Moises de la Vara enjoyed a very promising test for DEForce Racing, posting the fifth fastest time ahead of Lastochkin, Canadian Antonio Serravalle (Pserra Racing/Jay Howard Driver Development), Jacob Abel (Abel Motorsports), from Louisville, Ky., and Singapore’s Danial Frost (Exclusive Autosport).
Content and image by Road to Indy.