Home Road to IndyIndy Pro 2000 McElrea edges Rasmussen in St. Pete for Indy Pro 2000 pole

McElrea edges Rasmussen in St. Pete for Indy Pro 2000 pole

by Craig Woollard

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography/Road to Indy

Hunter McElrea beat Christian Rasmussen to pole for the second Indy Pro 2000 race in St. Petersburg, as race one poleman Braden Eves had an issue-hit qualifying session.

The 20-minute session featured laptimes improving considerably throughout, and Pabst Racing’s McElrea was among the drivers towards the top of the order throughout.

Jay Howard Driver Development’s Rasmussen was at the top of the session towards the conclusion, but McElrea’s final flyer was enough to take the top spot. While reigning USF2000 champion Rasmussen improved, he came up short by just 0.0174s.

Exclusive Autosport’s Braden Eves, who starts Saturday’s race from pole, spent a sizeable portion of the session in the pits with a transponder issue.

He was able to get out with five minutes remaining, and his penultimate lap on a higher fuel load was good enough for sixth before making a significant lock-up on his final effort.

Ahead of Eves is a Juncos Racing trio led by rookie Reece Gold. Manuel Sulaiman and Kyffin Simpson start fourth and fifth respectively.

Pabst’s Colin Kaminsky qualified seventh, ahead of JHDD’s Wyatt Brichacek and Miller Vinatieri Motorsports’ Jack William Miller – who was towards the top of the times early on but slipped down the order.

RP Motorsport’s Enaam Ahmed will start Sunday’s race from 10th, while team-mate Enzo Fittipaldi (who is co-run by Andretti Autosport) was unable to take to the track following his hefty accident in Friday’s qualifying.

The times up and down the order are relatively close, with all bar Fittipaldi and Velocity Racing Development’s Hunter Yeany within a second of McElrea at the top.

Qualifying results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Hunter McElrea Pabst Racing 1m08.3534s 15
2 Christian Rasmussen JHDD 1m08.3708s +0.0174s 15
3 Reece Gold Juncos Racing 1m08.5241s +0.1707s 12
4 Manuel Sulaiman Juncos Racing 1m08.5951s +0.2417s 13
5 Kyffin Simpson Juncos Racing 1m08.6465s +0.2931s 13
6 Braden Eves Exclusive Autosport 1m08.6708s +0.3174s 4
7 Colin Kaminsky Pabst Racing 1m08.7580s +0.4046s 15
8 Wyatt Brichacek JHDD 1m08.7986s +0.4452s 15
9 Jack William Miller Miller Vinatieri Motorsports 1m08.8017s +0.4483s 15
10 Enaam Ahmed RP Motorsport 1m08.8025s +0.4491s 14
11 Jacob Abel Abel Motorsports 1m08.9198s +0.5664s 14
12 Cameron Shields DEForce Racing 1m08.9280s +0.5746s 14
13 James Roe Jr Turn 3 Motorsport 1m09.0051s +0.6517s 14
14 Artem Petrov Exclusive Autosport 1m09.0849s +0.7315s 14
15 Flinn Lazier Legacy Autosport 1m09.2725s +0.9191s 14
16 Hunter Yeany Velocity Racing Development 1m09.4882s +1.1348s 14
17 Enzo Fittipaldi RP Motorsport/Andretti Autosport no time 0