VeeKay, Locke, McElrea top Road To Indy test at Homestead
The final Road to Indy Open Test of 2018 was ended early by a heavy rainstorm on the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course leaving Rinus VeeKay heading Indy Lights, Parker Locke leading Pro Mazda and Hunter McElrea at the top of USF2000.
Reigning Pro Mazda champion VeeKay of Juncos Racing took fastest time of the day, narrowly edging David Malukas’ best for BN Racing on Monday, by setting a best lap of 1min15.3269 this morning.
“The only session we had today was this morning,” reported the 18-year-old. It was very good. The car felt way better than it did yesterday. I used all the grip I had from the new tires, so it was a good way to end the two days of testing.”
Malukas was again swift this morning falling just 0.0230sec short of VeeKay’s best.
Ex-GP3 racer Julien Falchero posted the third fastest time for Andretti Autosport, narrowly ahead of 2018 IndyCar driver Zachary Claman DeMelo’s best for Belardi Auto Racing and this year’s Gateway winner Ryan Norman in a second Andretti machine.
Rookie Parker Locke put Exclusive Autosport on top in Pro Mazda with top time of the morning.
The former US F4 and F3 driver beat Monday’s pacesetter Rasmus Lindh of Pabst Racing by a mere 0.03sec.
Montreal native Antonio Serravalle made significant gains for the Jay Howard Driver Development team, improving by more than a half-second, despite slipping from second place on the charts on Monday to third by the conclusion of the two-day outing. Serravalle was the only driver to venture out onto a very wet track for what proved to be the final session of the day.
“We have been really decent these past two days,” said Serravalle. “Our pace was good and we were up towards the top.
“The new Pro Mazda car is really good for us, and I’m looking forward to the next test. Today was my first time in the rain. I have never driven a Pro Mazda car – or raced – in the rain before. I was really surprised. This car is really good in the rain. It handles really well.”
Australian Formula Ford champion Hunter McElrea (Pabst), who also topped the Chris Griffis Memorial Test on the IMS roadcourse, narrowly edged Monday pacesetter Cameron Shields (Cape Motorsports).
McElrea took advantage of cooler conditions to turn the fastest lap of the test at 1:24.448, an average speed of 94.215mph.
“The two days went really well,” said McElrea, 19, who will head next to Phoenix, Ariz., for the Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout.“I really enjoyed learning a new track, getting back into the USF2000 car and working with the Pabst team. It was great to finish P1 overall. Hopefully I get the opportunity to have another go.
“I have been racing on a treaded tire with no aero all year,” he continued, “so that is going to be a big help preparing for the Formula Mazda at the Shootout which has slicks and wings. I can’t wait to put what I learned to use in Phoenix.”
Shields, who hails from the same Queensland town, Toowoomba, as defending Indianapolis 500 champion Will Power, ended the first session just 0.0479 seconds in arrears.
Colin Kaminsky was thrid quickest for Pabst Racing, ahead of Braden Eves, who switched from Cape to BN Racing for the second day.
Eves, another RTI Shootout candidate, said: “It was a really good couple of days. I learned a lot and I’m very grateful both to the Capes and Bryn Nuttall of BN Racing for allowing me to gain some more experience in a USF2000 car.”