ST. PETERSBURG, Fla – Pato O’Ward was eight laps away from a dominating opening weekend to the 2018 Indy Lights season. He started on the pole for Saturday’s season opener on the streets of St. Pete after the original pole sitter in Aaron Telitz crashed his car in the qualifying session for today’s race earlier in the morning.
O’Ward, would lead the entire race en route to a statement win in his No. 27 Mazda.
On Sunday, O’Ward was well on his way to having his sights set on a second straight checkered flag. He took over the lead on Lap 5 and led the next 27 laps. On Lap 32, eight laps from the finish, he held a command six second lead over second place driver at the time Santi Urrutia.
But, the whole race changed that lap.
O’Ward, didn’t turn in the fourth corner and went straight into the run off. By time he’d come out, the whole field had already skated by and he’d go from first to seventh.
That allowed Urrutia to cruise to an easy victory in his Belardi Racing No. 5 Mazda en route to his seventh career Indy Lights victory. Urrutia, finished second to O’Ward on Saturday and now holds a commanding point lead. The problem is, he doesn’t have the funding to run the whole season. After finishing second in the final points standings each of the last two years, he’s in a prime position to finally get a title.
Shelby Blackstock would bring his No. 3 Mazda home second after coming home fifth yesterday. He crossed the finish line 11.7406-seconds behind Urrutia.
Ryan Norman, Victor Franzoni and Neil Alberico would round out the top five.
Telitz, had the worst weekend out of anyone. Before his crash yesterday’s crash, he was slated to start on the pole for the season opener and third for today’s race. Then, the hard crash happened. The car was so badly damaged that it was unrepairable. They missed yesterday’s race as a result and had to borrow a car from Carlin for today’s race. They worked through the night to get it ready only to get pushed into the wall on the first lap today by Victor Franzoni. He has a ninth place result in both races and completed zero laps.
On Lap 10 today, Colton Herta skated into the concrete wall in Turn 8 and would finish eighth.
Race 2 Results
- 5 Urrutia
- 3 Blackstock
- 48 Norman
- 23 Franzoni R
- 2 Alberico
- 28 Kellett
- 27 O’Ward R
- 98 Herta OUT
- 9 Telitz OUT