Road to Indy
May 9, 2019 | 9:00 AM
Popular Canadian Parker Thompson, 21, from Red Deer, Alb., capitalized on a last-minute deal to join the newly expanded Abel Motorsports team by sweeping the first two races of the new Indy Pro 2000 season.
Thompson, who finished second in the championship last year, therefore established an early claim in the quest for a scholarship valued at almost $600,000 to graduate to Indy Lights in 2020.
The fact he has won at Indy in both USF2000 (2016) and Indy Pro (2018) will stand him in good stead, too. Neither Thompson nor rookie teammate Jacob Abel, from Louisville, Ky., have been idle during the hiatus between the opening two weekends of the season.
Thompson has finished on the podium in each of his first four sports car races, including a dominating victory in the wet during last weekend’s IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA at Mid-Ohio, while Abel, 18, has taken a slender lead in the F3 Americas Championship powered by Honda following a pair of wins at Road Atlanta.
Thompson’s perfect start to the season has catapulted him into a commanding 19-point advantage over Swedish rookie Rasmus Lindh, who has joined the same Juncos Racing team which guided Rinus VeeKay to the 2018 championship.
Lindh led the majority of Race One in St. Petersburg before slipping behind Thompson in the late stages, and added a fourth-place finish on Sunday.
Fellow rookie Danial Frost, from Singapore, displayed good form at St. Petersburg by finishing fourth and then third for Exclusive Autosport, while Sting Ray Robb (Juncos Racing), from Payette, Idaho, and last year’s runaway USF2000 champion Kyle Kirkwood (RP Motorsport USA), from Jupiter, Fla., also claimed strong podium finishes during the opening weekend.
Kirkwood will be joined at Indy in a second RP Tatuus PM-18 for Guatemala’s Ian Rodriguez, who earned three podium finishes in last year’s extremely competitive Italian F4 Championship.
Mexican Moises de la Vara qualified among the top five in both St. Pete races for DEForce Racing, marking himself as a potential front-runner alongside teammate Kory Enders, from Sugar Land, Texas, who looks to rebound from a disappointing first weekend.
Others to watch will include series veteran Nikita Lastochkin (Exclusive Autosport), young Canadian Antonio Serravalle (Pserra Racing/Jay Howard Driver Development) and Phillippe Denes, from Carmel, Calif., who performed well on his debut with FatBoy Racing! In addition, Jacob Loomis, from Corinth, Texas, will make his debut for JDL Racing.
Testing and official practice on Thursday will precede a pair of qualifying sessions on Friday morning which will set the grids for Race One at 3:40 p.m. EDT on Friday and Race Two at 10:10 a.m. on Saturday, May 11.
Header image by Matt Fraver/INDYCAR. Content by Road to Indy.
Open-Wheels coverage of the 2019 month of May at Indianapolis is presented by Driven 2 Save Lives. Driven 2 Save Lives, an entity of the Indiana Donor Network, is a program that utilizes motorsports as a platform to encourage race fans to become organ donors. Currently, there are 114,000 individuals that are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor at Driven2SaveLives.org/register and follow Driven2SaveLives on Facebook and Twitter.