by Mary Champion
Speedway, Ind., May 13 – Ed Jones led all 30 laps of Friday’s Mazda Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis but getting the win was not without its challenges.
Jones finished 0.95 of a second ahead of Santiago Urrutia, while Dean Stoneman finished third, 1.8 seconds behind Jones.
On the opening lap of the race, in Turn One, about five cars were going in all directions except right way on the track but no yellow flag was displayed.
The biggest beneficiary of the melee was Dean Stoneman, who started sixth, but was running second by the time the field got to Turn Two.
Dalton Kellett was out of the race due to damage from the contact and Scott Hargrove and Shelby Blackstock were both given 35-second penalties for contact on the track.
At the end of the first lap the top five were Jones, Stoneman, Felix Rosenqvist, Urrutia, and Zach Veach.
On the second lap, the field had a serious case of déjà vu in Turn One, again with several cars involved. Again, no caution flag was displayed but this time Juan Piedrahita was out of the race due to contact.
The field then settled down into a consistent running order with Jones leading, Stoneman second, Urrutia third, Rosenqvist fourth and Veach rounding out the top five.
The top five remained the same until Lap 11 when Feliz Serralles took fifth from Veach.
The caution came out on Lap 23 due to contact between Scott Hargrove and Scott Anderson in Turn 12. Hargrove was out but Anderson kept running.
The caution closed the field up and when the green came back out with just four laps to go, the restart was wild as the field went three wide, dropping Jones momentarily to third and Stoneman to the lead. But, at the end of the lap, Jones was back in the lead, Urrutia was second and Stoneman was third. Rosenqvist was in fourth place and Felix Serralles was fifth.
The top four finished in this order but, on the last lap, Serralles went off course and dropped back in the field, moving Veach up to fifth.
It was the second victory of the year for Jones, who currently holds the Series point lead.
Pato O’Ward made race winning look easy as he led every lap to claim victory in the Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Indianapolis on Friday.
Current series point leader O’Ward started on the pole with Aaron Telitz next to him in the 40 minute, 29-lap race. Telitz had a problem on the opening lap and slid back in the field, sitting in tenth by the end of the race’s opening lap.
O’Ward left no question as to his dominance of the field as by the end of the second lap he had opened up a lead of over two seconds on second place driver Will Owen. Jake Parsons was third, while Telitz was back up to ninth place.
The running order of the top three never changed in the caution-free event.
When O’Ward took the checkered flag, his total control of the race was evident as he finished 6.85 seconds ahead of Owen, while Parsons was over 15 seconds behind O’Ward in third.
Garett Grist finished fourth with Nico Jamin coming home fifth. Telitz was able to move back up to seventh, but could not progress further to the front after his first lap slip-up.Anthony Martin led wire-to-wire in the Cooper Tires USF200GP of Indianapolis to claim his first series victory.
The 2015 Series Rookie of the Year scored a 0.5 of a second win over Parker Thompson, while Victor Franzoni finished third, almost two seconds behind Thompson. Lloyd Jordan finished fourth and Yufeng Luo rounded out the top five.
There was only one lap of caution in the entire race. On Lap 3, Dale Vandenbush went off course in Turn 7 with electrical problems in his car. His was the only car not running at the end of the race and of the 26 starters, 24 cars were on the lead lap at the end finish.
All three of the Mazda Road to Indy Series’ will race again tomorrow as a prelude to the Verizon IndyCar Series Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.