Kyle Kirkwood and Alex Baron continued their lockout of USF2000 victories in 2018 at Indianapolis, with Baron overcoming visa issues to move into second in the standings.
Frenchman Baron was unsure he’d be able to make it to Indianapolis, but he got his paperwork sorted just in time and ended up qualifying second and third for the two races, with Kirkwood taking pole for both.
Baron was demoted to third by Rasmus Lindh at the start of the first race, but redeemed himself when the race restarted after a caution period. He went round the outside at Turn 1 to jump into first, and fought with Kirkwood’s for the rest of the race.
Cape Motorsports driver Kirkwood made it back into the lead with two laps to go after catching Baron’s slipstream and braking late into Turn 1, but was demoted back to second six corners later. The reigning US F4 champion didn’t get another chance to get back ahead, and Baron crossed the finish line to win by 0.4344 seconds. Jose Sierra finished third, ahead of Jamie Caroline and Kory Enders.
Kirkwood beat Baron in the second race, which proved to be very chaotic behind the winner.
The yellow flags were out before the cars had even got off the grid for their green flag lap when Sierra?s car self-destructed and the start was delayed to allow debris to be cleared.
The next incident was little more than a lap away. Baron had moved up from third to second, past Lucas Kohl, taking Caroline with him. The Brit took a different line to Baron through Turn 7 and pushed him off on to the grass. Caroline was unaffected but Baron was relegated to last place.
Thus began one of a rather eventful race?s most impressive feats. Baron never gave up and set a series of fastest laps from the back, methodically moving back up the order. At just over half-distance, he was once more in the top ten and still the quickest driver on the track. He took advantage of three more yellow flags to consolidate his progress and just inched into second place on the last lap, only seconds before another yellow flag neutralised the race.
Caroline was not so fortunate. He kept his second place after the Baron incident but was a cause of one of the yellow flag periods. In a three-way scrap over second place, he made contact with Zach Holden, resulting in both retiring. Kaylen Frederick was also caught in the general chaos and the yellows were out again.
Lindh inherited second, in front of Darren Keane and series debutant James Roe, who raced in FF1600 last year. Both Keane and Roe made a good attempt at third place, but they were unable to fend off the resurgent Baron.
The final positions were decided by a single-lap dash, which was in itself affected by a final yellow flag when Bruna Tomaselli spun. Kyle Dupell had already stopped in the middle of the track a few laps earlier, then Michael d?Orlando made contact with David Osborne and triggered a lengthy full-course caution. Kirkwood did well to keep his lead with so many safety car periods.
Race 1 (15 laps)
1 Alex Baron Swan-RJB Motorsports 27m20.6892s
2 Kyle Kirkwood Cape Motorsports +0.4344s
3 Jose Sierra DEForce Racing +1.2364s
4 Jamie Caroline BN Racing +2.0410s
5 Kory Enders DEForce Racing +3.9397s
6 Calvin Ming Pabst Racing +5.8504s
7 Julian Van der Watt Team Pelfrey +6.1918s
8 Igor Fraga Exclusive Autosport +6.6899s
9 Colin Kaminsky DEForce Racing +7.1147s
10 Zach Holden DEForce Racing +8.1029s
Pole: Kirkwood, 1m24.7694s
Fastest Lap: Baron, 1m26.7065s
Race 2 (20 laps)
1 Kirkwood 34m44.0093s
2 Baron +0.8372s
3 Rasmus Lindh Pabst Racing +1.0947s
4 Darren Keane Newman Wachs Racing +1.8199s
5 James Roe Swan RJB Motorsports +2.1358s
6 Enders +2.5477s
7 Lucas Kohl Pabst Racing +3.7785s
8 Van der Watt +4.4584s
9 Manuel Cabrera Exclusive Autosport +4.8462s
10 Max Peichel ArmsUp Motorsport +5.9986s
P: Kirkwood, 1m25.0252s
FL: Baron, 1.25.9415s
1?Kirkwood 106? ?2?Baron 93? ?3?Sierra 64? ?4?Fraga 61? ?5?Ming 54? ?6?Van der Watt 53? ?7?Keane 51? ?8 Enders 45? ?9 Kohl 44? ?10?Kaminsky 42
Additional reporting by Elliot Wood