The final two rounds of the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Indianapolis Supporting INDYCAR Ministry saw Reece Gold of Juncos Hollinger Racing pick up his second win of the 2022 season and Louis Foster of Exclusive Autosport claim his career first in Indy Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires competition.
Four different drivers shared the remaining podium honors with Colin Kaminsky logging his second of the weekend in Race 2 for Pabst Racing followed by points leader Nolan Siegel of DEForce Racing, and Braden Eves of Jay Howard Driver Development and Jack William Miller of Miller Vinatieri Motorsports finishing second and third in Race 3.
The intensity from the opening round yesterday continued with first-time Cooper Tires Pole Award winner Miller — who is showing the rewards of a technical partnership with Exclusive Autosport — and front row starter Louis Foster of Exclusive Autosport making contact in Turn Seven on lap 1 in addition to separate incidents involving Jordan Missig (Pabst Racing), Enaam Ahmed (Juncos Hollinger Racing) and Braden Eves (Jay Howard Driver Development). Foster was later served with a drive-thru penalty.
The action vaulted Gold, who qualified fourth, into a lead he would never relinquish, finishing 1.4833s clear of yesterday’s third-place finisher Colin Kaminsky (Pabst Racing), with Siegel and Kiko Porto (DEForce Racing). Miller rebounded from the opening lap incident to charge through the field and round out the top five.
“I got my first Road to Indy win here so it’s awesome to do it again – this is one of the most amazing places to win at,” said Gold. “Coming to the checkered flag, over the bricks, with no one in front of you, it’s just such an iconic moment.
“It was a good clean race. Colin kept the pressure on the whole way. Some of the other contenders finished back in the pack so this is great for the championship. Once everyone spread out, it wasn’t so crazy, but that start was really crazy. I had a good restart and from there it was just about managing the gap.”
Yesterday’s race winner Salvador De Alba earned his second consecutive Tilton Hard Charger Award after advancing from 14th to sixth.
The line-up for the third and final leg of the tripleheader mirrored that of Race 2 throughout the field. Miller resumed pole position with Foster again lining up alongside on the front row. Miller made a good start but Foster held tight. The British driver made his move for the lead on Lap 3 and then disappeared, eventually enjoying an 8.6 second cushion.
That breathing room came to a halt on lap 18 as Gold, who was running in fourth began to experience mechanical issues, eventually coming to a halt to bring out a full-course caution.
The four-lap shootout to the checkered saw positions jockeying throughout the field. In the end, Foster held on for the win, coming home with a 2.5s margin, followed by Eves and Miller. Wyatt Brichacek (Jay Howard Driver Development) had a sensational run to fourth – a career best – from 12th on the grid to not only claim the Tilton Hard Charger Award but the bonus point for fastest race lap.
“This is so cool – my first win in the States, and to do it at Indianapolis is really special,” said Foster. “It was a tough Race 1 and 2, but this makes it worth it. I really wanted to come back with a win, because I think we could have won all three. I knew we had the pace all weekend — Exclusive Autosport put together a really good car. I knew that as long as I could get to the front in that final race, I could pull a gap.
“Luckily, I was able to take care of my tires because I knew the only way I could lose the race was if a yellow came out and if that happened, I wanted to make sure I had the tires. Great way to end the weekend, I can’t thank the Exclusive guys enough.”
Enaam Ahmed (Juncos Hollinger Racing) rounded out the top five with his fifth top-five finish of the season after starting ninth.
Indy Pro 2000 will next head to its first oval race of the season on May 27 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park with the Cooper Tires Freedom 90, part of the Carb Night Classic.
Provisional standings after 7 of 18 rounds:
1. Nolan Siegel, 141
2. Louis Foster, 138
3. Reece Gold, 130
4. Braden Eves, 120
5. Enaam Ahmed, 114
6. Kiko Porto, 108
7. Colin Kaminsky, 108
8. Josh Green, 106
9. Jack William Miller, 94
10. Yuven Sundaramoorthy, 90