Zachary Claman DeMelo took a lights-to-flag win on his Indy Lights return in St. Petersburg for Belardi Auto Racing.
The Canadian has more recently raced in IndyCar, but has dropped down a tier this year with the ambition to return to IndyCar in 2020.
DeMelo resisted race-long pressure from single-seaters returnee and Indy Lights debutant Toby Sowery, who drove a car jointly entered by BN Racing and Team Pelfrey.
Sowery looked to be one of the strongest drivers on old tyres, but his late charge on DeMelo proved to no avail.
In the middle segment of the race DeMelo had pulled away, and Sowery’s late race pace was assisted by having more uses of the push-to-pass button left.
Oliver Askew, on pole for race two, took third for Andretti Autosport, a fair distance ahead of fellow Indy Pro 2000 graduate and BN Racing driver David Malukas.
Reigning IP2000 champion Rinus VeeKay was restricted to fifth after ensuring a fiesty battle with Andretti?s Robert Megennis early on. At one point Megennis attempted to pass the Juncos Racing driver around the outside of Turn 1, but was just held off.
Megennis ended up finishing 21 seconds back, leading home team-mate Ryan Norman over the line. Norman had heavily damaged his car in the second qualifying session, but it was rebuilt in time for the race.
Belardi pair Julien Falchero and Lucas Kohl struggled down in eighth and ninth on their Indy Lights debuts, while series veteran Dalon Kellett flat-spotted one of his tyres and finished a lap down.
Race results (35 laps)
|1||Zachary Claman DeMelo||Belardi Auto Racing||39m07.347s|
|2||Toby Sowery||BN Racing/Team Pelfrey||+0.7271s|
|3||Oliver Askew||Andretti Autosport||+4.3757s|
|4||David Malukas||BN Racing||+8.1375s|
|5||Rinus VeeKay||Juncos Racing||+10.6064s|
|6||Robert Megennis||Andretti Autosport||+21.4424s|
|7||Ryan Norman||Andretti Autosport||+23.4315s|
|8||Julien Falchero||Belardi Auto Racing||+26.9144s|
|9||Lucas Kohl||Belardi Auto Racing||+54.3808s|
|10||Dalton Kellett||Juncos Racing||+1 lap|
|Fastest lap: DeMelo, 1m06.424s|