On Thursday, the eight Indy Lights drivers continued preparations for Friday’s Freedom 100.The day started with two 30-minute practice sessions and ended with qualifying for the 40-lap race. Check out our recap here.
Experience proved vital in Thursday afternoon’s qualifying for the Freedom 100. Andretti Autosport’s Dalton Kellett will start Friday’s race from pole. The Toronto, Ontario native ran a two-lap average speed of 195.027 MPH.
Rookie teammate and points leader Pato O’Ward will join Kellett on the front row, having averaged 194.901 MPH. Ryan Norman made it an Andretti Autosport 1-2-3. 2017 Pro Mazda Champion Victor Franzoni Jr. will start fourth in his Juncos Racing entry.
Santi Urrutia (Belardi Auto Racing), Colton Herta (Andretti Steinbrener Racing), Davey Hamilton Jr. (Team Pelfrey) and Aaron Telitz (Belardi) rounded out the eight-car field.
Practice Recap and Headlines
After rain limited the Indy Lights teams to just one 90-minute test session on Monday, the series was back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday for practice.
The first session of the day was led by Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Norman. The Aurora, Ohio native paced the session with a best lap of 197.458 MPH. Dalton Kellett made it an Andretti Autosport 1-2 with a best lap of 196.540 MPH.
Two of the three rookies in the field would follow Norman and Kellett on the charts. Team Pelfrey’s Davey Hamilton Jr. and Juncos Racing’s Victor Franzoni Jr. ended the session third and fourth.
After Chris Windom’s efforts to run the race with Belardi Auto Racing and Byrd Racing ended due to Monday’s testing crash with teammate Santi Urrutia, the team finished the first session fifth and sixth with Urrutia and Aaron Telitz.
The drivers who currently run 1-2 in the season. points standings slotted in at the bottom, in the same order they currently run in points. Pato O’Ward of Andretti Autosport and Colton Herta of Andretti-Steinbrener Racing were seventh and eighth.
The second practice would see continued dominance from Andretti Autosport, but a new name would top the leaderboard. O’Ward would be the leader at the end of the second session. The Monterrey, Mexico native ran a best lap of 196.510 MPH.
After Monday’s wreck, Urrutia would rebound in Thursday’s second practice session. The two-time series runner-up was the only other driver above 196 MPH (196.262). The Andretti drivers slotted in the next three spots, with Herta, Kellett and Norman. Telitz finished sixth with Hamilton Jr. and Franzoni rounding out the field.
Friday’s race will be the first on an oval in the 2018 Indy Lights season, and the Freedom 100 has been one of the most thrilling events of the season the past few years.
The 16th Annual Freedom 100 will start at 12:30 p.m. EDT tomorrow, with live television coverage provided by NBCSN beginning at 12:10 p.m. Live timing and scoring will be available on racecontrol.indycar.com
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Stay tuned to Open-Wheels for the latest from Indianapolis as we prepare for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27.
Images courtesy of Michael Young/INDYCAR Media.