Hunter McElrea took his and Pabst Racing’s first Indy Pro 2000 win in the St. Petersburg season finale, as Devin DeFrancesco secured the title runner-up spot.
New champion Sting Ray Robb started from pole, ahead of Pabst’s Colin Kaminsky, Turn 3 Motorsport’s Danial Frost and McElrea.
The front group made it to the first corner cleanly on the opening lap, but further back Robb’s Juncos Racing team-mate Nate Aranda made a lunge that caused him to spin around Moises de la Vara and also hit the debuting Tristan Charpentier into Charles Finelli and Parker Thompson.
Aranda made it through unscathed, and unpenalised, but the pace car was required to salvage three of the others as Charpentier made it back to the pits.
The restart came on lap five of 25, with Robb fending off Kaminsky on the way into Turn 1 but then running way too deep and dropping to fourth. Through the whole of the lap the Pabst drivers fought over the lead, going side-by-side through the tight middle sector, and it was McElrea who emerged in the lead.
They were soon back behind the pace car though as DEForce Racing’s Manuel Sulaiman had gone straight on at Turn 4 and needed his car recovered.
On the second restart McElrea raced away, while Petrov passed his team-mate Robb for fourth. Series returnee Rasmus Lindh, driving for Turn 3, did the same a lap later and then spent several laps hunting down Petrov while Robb set fastest lap pace.
Lindh made his move for fourth down the inside of Turn 1 on lap 14, and with Petrov on the greasier outer line on exit it also allowed Robb to move back up to fifth before Turn 2.
Kaminsky was the only driver matching Robb on pace, and this meant he was reducing team-mate McElrea’s lead.
He got the gap down to half a second with six laps remaining, and with Frost following close behind too, but he couldn’t get close enough to attempt a pass and it was 2019 USF2000 title runner-up McElrea who claimed the win.
Petrov sank down the order before retiring in the pits, and this promoted Andretti Steinbrenner Racing’s DeFrancesco to sixth place. It also moved Frost past Petrov in the battle for third in the points.
DEForce’s Kory Enders and Aranda were the final two finishers.
Race results (25 laps)
|1||Hunter McElrea||Pabst Racing||34m24.1386s|
|2||Colin Kaminsky||Pabst Racing||+0.6253s|
|3||Danial Frost||Turn 3 Motorsport||+1.8901s|
|4||Rasmus Lindh||Turn 3 Motorsport||+3.7061s|
|5||Sting Ray Robb||Juncos Racing||+4.2577s|
|6||Devlin DeFrancesco||Andretti Steinbrenner Racing||+14.2863s|
|7||Kory Enders||DEForce Racing||+31.3434s|
|8||Nate Aranda||Juncos Racing||+38.0711s|
|Ret||Artem Petrov||Juncos Racing|
|Ret||Manuel Sulaiman||DEForce Racing|
|Ret||Tristan Charpentier||Exclusive Autosport|
|Ret||Parker Thompson||FatBoy Racing|
|Ret||Moises de la Vara||DEForce Racing|
|Ret||Charles Finelli||FatBoy Racing|
|Fastest lap: Robb, 1m08.1141s