Home Featured Hunter McElrea ends Indy Pro 2000 season with Pabst’s first win

Hunter McElrea ends Indy Pro 2000 season with Pabst’s first win

by Elliot Wood

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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)
Pos Driver Team Time
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

Championship standings
1
Robb 437   2 DeFrancesco 341   3 Frost 329   4 Petrov 326   5 McElrea 320   6 Sulaiman 289   7 Thompson 283   8 Kaminsky 252   9 Antoine Comeau 181   10 Braden Eves 163