Braden Eves headed an Exclusive Autosport one-two in the first Indy Pro 2000 qualifying of 2021 at Barber Motorsports Park.
Eves returns to the series after breaking his neck in a crash while racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the middle of last year. It is his third pole in the championship, having taken two at Mid-Ohio in 2020 before his injury.
He left it until the final moments of the 20-minute qualifying session at Barber to go the top of the timesheet, setting a 1m16.1542s that overhauled team-mate Artem Petrov by less than a tenth of a second.
Petrov spent much of the session towards the top of the times in his first race weekend with Exclusive, before being pipped by his team-mate in the final moments.
Pabst Racing’s Hunter McElrea was third quickest, ahead of top rookie Wyatt Brichacek driving for Jay Howard Driver Development.
Juncos Racing’s Manuel Sulaiman was at the top early on but slipped back to fifth, ahead of the sole DEForce Racing entry driven by Cameron Shields.
JHDD’s reigning USF2000 champion Christian Rasmussen will start seventh on his his debut, having gone off the circuit on his second run immediately after briefly going second quickest. He completed just six laps – less than anybody else.
Juncos’s Reece Gold and Kyffin Simpson and Abel Motorsports’ Jacob Abel will round out the top 10.
FIA Formula 3 Championship convert Enzo Fittipaldi, co-run by Andretti Autosport and RP Motorsport, qualified 11th, and Velocity Racing Development’s reigning United States Formula 4 champion Hunter Yeany will start from 15th.
The three drivers who took part in Friday’s practice session did not seem to benefit from running in it – Jack William Miller was 12th, while RP’s Enaam Ahmed was 14th and Flinn Lazier was last and only completed eight laps.
|1||Braden Eves||Exclusive Autosport||1m16.1542s||12|
|2||Artem Petrov||Exclusive Autosport||1m16.2289s||+0.0747s||12|
|3||Hunter McElrea||Pabst Racing||1m16.2623s||+0.1081s||14|
|4||Wyatt Brichacek||Jay Howard Driver Development||1m16.3044s||+0.1502s||11|
|5||Manuel Sulaiman||Juncos Racing||1m16.3947s||+0.2405s||12|
|6||Cameron Shields||DEForce Racing||1m16.4683s||+0.3141s||12|
|7||Christian Rasmussen||Jay Howard Driver Development||1m16.5905s||+0.4363s||6|
|8||Reece Gold||Juncos Racing||1m16.6166s||+0.4624s||11|
|9||Kyffin Simpson||Juncos Racing||1m16.6638s||+0.5095s||11|
|10||Jacob Abel||Abel Motorsports||1m16.7249s||+0.5707s||13|
|11||Enzo Fittipaldi||RP Motorsport/Andretti Autosport||1m16.7311s||+0.5769s||12|
|12||Jack William Miller||Miller Vinatieri Motorsports||1m16.7936s||+0.6394s||12|
|13||Colin Kaminsky||Pabst Racing||1m16.8366s||+0.6824s||14|
|14||Enaam Ahmed||RP Motorsport||1m16.8731s||+0.7189s||13|
|15||Hunter Yeany||Velocity Racing Development||1m17.2187s||+1.0645s||12|
|16||James Roe Jr||Turn 3 Motorsport||1m17.3279s||+1.1737s||9|
|17||Flinn Lazier||Legacy Autosport||1m18.4699s||+2.3157s||8|