By Sterling Siemens
While the NTT IndyCar Series Bommarito Automotive Group 500 was the main event, there were many other racing series in action last weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois.
The Cooper Tires Indy Lights series was in town for the Cooper Tires Oval Challenge of St. Louis. The race was dominated by Dutch rookie Rinus VeeKay, until championship leader and pole sitter Oliver Askew took the lead with 23 laps remaining and cruised on to take his fourth consecutive win, and seventh win overall, this season. David Malukas finished third to complete the podium.
“Since the start, I knew [VeeKay] was lighter on downforce because he was quicker on the straights,” said Askew, referencing how VeeKay was able to hold the lead through the first 52 laps. “His car started getting more free, he made a mistake and our car was set up for the end of the race, which is when it matters.”
In addition, the Indy Pro 2000 division, another feeder series that is part of the Road to Indy program (along with Indy Lights), held their 55-lap event prior to the Indy Lights race. Florida native Kyle Kirkwood, who had to start at the back due to his car failing post-qualifying inspection, charged through the field rapidly and dominated the race en route to his sixth win of the season. Championship leader and pole sitter Rasmus Lindh wheeled his Juncos Racing machine to second, keeping his points lead over Kirkwood at six points with four races to go on the season.
There was more than just open-wheel action, though. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series held a special event that included competitors from both the East and West divisions, including stars such as Hailie Deegan, Derek Kraus, Sam Mayer and Chase Cabre.
Cabre started on the pole and led the first 67 laps, but unfortunately an electrical problem after the halftime break put Cabre out of contention and relegated him to a 13th place finish.
After Cabre’s problems, K&N East points leader Sam Mayer took control of the race and appeared to have the race in hand until a late caution for Josh Fanopoulos’s engine expiring. The caution led to a late restart, where Spencer Davis got around Mayer and led the final three laps to win his first K&N Pro Series race in three years.
“I saw that car blowing up and I’m like ‘someone’s shining down on us,” Davis said, relieved after recording his first win of what has been a frustrating year up to this point. “I hit my gears better than [Mayer]…I know he didn’t give it to me, but it felt like it because I drove that thing in there until I saw Jesus, man…I came out the other end leading.”
The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 may have been the big event for a majority of race fans in the St. Louis area, but events throughout the day kept those in attendance entertained for a truly memorable experience.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org