Exclusive Autosport’s Braden Eves led every lap in the first Indy Pro 2000 race at Mid-Ohio to secure his first series podium and win, after fending off Danial Frost.
Reigning USF2000 champion Eves got an excellent start from his maiden IP2000 pole and resisted early pressure from Turn 3 Motorsport’s Frost with an aggressive move in the infield.
Frost kept within Eves’ range throughout and was rarely more than a second behind during much of the 25-lap race. Frost faded slightly towards the end before coming back at Eves on the last lap. The pair were separated by just 0.3024 seconds at the end.
A short caution mid-race due to a spin for Juncos Racing’s Nate Aranda closed the gap up, but Frost found himself resisting DEForce Racing’s Parker Thompson on the restart rather than looking forward.
There were not too many moves towards the front of the field late in the race, leaving Eves to take victory ahead of Frost and Thompson.
Juncos’s Sting Ray Robb, who started third, had a difficult race. He slipped back to the middle of the pack before the cuation, then made a mistake on the restart. That dropped him to just inside of the top 10, after a late pass on Sabre Cook.
DEForce’s Manuel Sulaiman took fourth, ahead of Juncos’s Artem Petrov – who climbed up from eighth – and Pabst Racing’s Colin Kaminsky.
Andretti Steinbrenner Racing’s Devlin DeFrancesco was another big mover – up by three positions to seventh – while Pabst’s Hunter McElrea survived some sort of gearbox issue early on to recover to eighth while taking the fastest lap on the way.
Race results (25 laps)
|1||Braden Eves||Exclusive Autosport||36m44.802s|
|2||Danial Frost||Turn 3 Motorsport||+0.3024s|
|3||Parker Thompson||DEForce Racing||+1.8467s|
|4||Manuel Sulaiman||DEForce Racing||+3.6931s|
|5||Artem Petrov||Juncos Racing||+5.2648s|
|6||Colin Kaminsky||Pabst Racing||+8.5035s|
|7||Devlin DeFrancesco||Andretti Steinbrenner Racing||+8.9113s|
|8||Hunter McElrea||Pabst Racing||+9.2818s|
|9||Jacob Loomis||BN Racing w/ Team Benik||+13.8689s|
|10||Sting Ray Robb||Juncos Racing||+20.4359s|
|11||Sabre Cook||Team Benik||+21.5029s|
|12||Nate Aranda||Juncos Racing||+34.1502s|
|13||Bob Kaminsky||Pabst Racing||+35.3076s|
|14||Charles Finelli||FatBoy Racing||+42.0960s|
|15||Antoine Comeau||Turn 3 Motorsport||+5 laps|
|Ret||Moises de la Vara||DEForce Racing|
|Ret||Kory Enders||DEForce Racing|
|Fastest lap: McElrea, 1m17.736s