PALMETTO, Fla. – The month of May is well and truly under way. After joining their senior brethren from the NTT IndyCar Series during an exciting and well-attended Grand Prix of Indianapolis event on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course last weekend, competitors on the two lower rungs on the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel development ladder – the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – today gained what for many was a first-ever taste of the nuances of oval-track action at the nearby Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind.
The Canadian-owned Exclusive Autosport team enjoyed an especially productive day with Danial Frost, from Singapore, and Los-Angeles-based Russian Nikita Lastochkin leading the way in Indy Pro 2000 and Mexico’s Manuel Cabrera emerging with the fastest time in USF2000.
Frost was clearly the class of the field in Indy Pro 2000, heading all three sessions which totaled more than two hours of track time. His best time was a full half-second clear of his nearest challenger in the first 45-minutes of running this morning and he continued a similar dominance throughout the day to post a best of 20.2860 (121.739 mph) this afternoon and lay down a firm marker in advance of next week’s Cooper Tires Freedom 90 at the fast and challenging LOR oval.
Frost, who currently lies third in the point standings after finishing third in each of the last three races revealed,
Tony gave me confidence in being here this morning. The timing of passing is something I need to learn and his talk this morning helped. It’s nothing like the road course, it’s a totally new thing for me! I did a lot of sim work before I came here, to prepare as much as possible. It’s difficult, coming from the road course at Indianapolis to the oval at Lucas Oil. Going left the whole time is much harder than it looks from the outside! Being close to the wall, taking that line to be quick, it’s all a new thing for me.
Learning the timing of when to get passed someone, not getting blocked and losing my momentum, it’s something that Exclusive Autosport has been working on with me. They’re really training me and helping me to make that possible. It was cold this morning, so we’re learning how the car and the tires work at different times of the day, in different conditions. The car is very good, the pace is there, so we just need a bit more on our race craft and we’ll be right there.
The Road to Indy is unique in the world of auto racing, offering scholarships and opportunities valued at over $2.5 million for drivers to progress all the way from the grassroots to the pinnacle of the sport. The initiative also provides a host of additional benefits for youngsters who aspire to race – and win – in the premier level of open-wheel racing in North America.