Danial Frost scored a fine Indy Pro 2000 victory for the Canadian-owned Exclusive Autosport team in this morning’s Cooper Tires Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products on the streets around Exhibition Place, just a few miles from downtown Toronto.
Frost, 17, from Singapore, grasped the lead with an opportunistic move at the first corner and held on to win by just 0.45 seconds over points leader Rasmus Lindh (Juncos Racing), while Canadian Parker Thompson completed the podium for Abel Motorsports.
“It was a total roller coaster today,” said the excited race winner. “I decided to go for it at the start and for some reason I got into first place! Then we had to maintain that spot for the rest of the race. I focused on getting my laps down and pulling away from Rasmus, rather than watching my mirrors too much. We had to protect the lead on two restarts, and Rasmus had a chance on that last one but we held him off.
“I’m so happy to get this win,” Frost continued. “We didn’t have the best of luck at Road America, so to get this now is great momentum for us. Exclusive Autosport gave me a great car; we were able to show the speed that we have today and show our potential.”
Last year’s USF2000 champion Kyle Kirkwood (RP Motorsport USA) got the jump from his pole position, but left a slight gap to the inside in the braking area for Turn One, directly in front of the Princes’ Gates arch. Frost gratefully ducked through it to vault from third on the grid to the lead, while Lindh also took advantage of Kirkwood running slightly wide, slotting into second.
Kirkwood’s morning went from bad to worse on the second lap when Guatemalan teammate Ian Rodriguez thought he saw an opening at the tricky Turn Five and dove to the inside under braking. The resulting contact left Kirkwood limping back to the pit lane with a broken nosecone and damaged suspension. Rodriguez escaped unscathed initially, although Sting Ray Robb (Juncos Racing) saw his chance to nip ahead into third place at Turn Six.
The first of two full-course cautions came shortly afterward when Mexico’s Moises de la Vara crashed heavily in Turn 11. And, while the field circulated behind the pace car, the race stewards instructed Rodriguez to move from fourth place to the back of the field as penance for his earlier incident with Kirkwood, who had rejoined the race a lap down.
Frost maintained control at the restart as Juncos teammates Lindh and Robb battled over second place in his wake. The two green-and-white cars traded positions a couple of times before Robb strayed wide on the exit of Turn Six on Lap 15 and ended his day with broken left-rear suspension.
Antonio Serravalle briefly slotted into third place in his family-run car before being overtaken by Thompson at Turn Three.
After one more caution period, when Charles Finelli collected the tire barriers in Turn Eight, a five-lap dash to the checkered flag saw Frost working hard to fend off the attentions of Lindh before securing his second win and the second PFC Award for team owner Michael Duncalfe.
Thompson finished third ahead of Serravalle, 16, who had posted by far his most impressive drive to date, while Rodriguez worked his way through to fourth at the finish after setting the fastest lap of the race.
Jacob Abel took home the Tilton Hard Charger Award after a sensible drive from 12th on the grid to sixth in his family-run Abel Motorsports entry.