BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Reece Gold of Juncos Hollinger Racing became the third winner in as many rounds of the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires with a dominant victory this afternoon at Barber Motorsports Park in the Andersen Interior Contracting Grand Prix of Alabama. It was the second career win for the 17-year-old from Miami, Fla.
Colin Kaminsky, of Homer Glen, Ill., finished second for Pabst Racing with England-based Pakistani Enaam Ahmed notching his second podium of the young season for Juncos Hollinger Racing in third.
Gold led the field in qualifying yesterday afternoon to log his sixth career Cooper Tires Pole Award, and maintained that pace at the drop of the green flag today to lead all 25 laps unchallenged with a margin of victory of over 5.5 seconds. He picked up the additional bonus points for pole and leading the most laps to move into a tie for fourth in the standings while also earning team owners David and Ernesto Martinez their second PFC Award of the season.
With his fourth-place finish on the heels of two podiums in the season-opener in St. Petersburg, Louis Foster, of Basingstoke, England, now leads the point standings by a slim four-point margin for Exclusive Autosport over Nolan Siegel, 17, of Palo Alto, Calif. – the youngest driver in the field – with DEForce Racing who won from the pole in the second race at St. Petersburg.
Foster, who qualified fifth, was one to watch during the midway portion of the race as he and Josh Green of Turn 3 Motorsport began trading positions. Foster made his final move in Turn Five to cement fifth and then focused forward on 2021 vice-champion Braden Eves (Jay Howard Driver Development). Positions four through seven were nose-to-tail in the closing stages with Foster edging Eves on Lap 22 to secure fourth and adding an exclamation point by setting the fastest lap of the race on Lap 24.
Green had to settle for sixth, followed by Siegel, reigning USF2000 champion Kiko Porto (DEForce Racing), Jordan Missig (Pabst Racing) and Jonathan Browne (Turn 3 Motorsport) who rounded out the top 10.
The only incident in the caution-free race occurred between Jack William Miller (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports) and Salvador de Alba (Jay Howard Driver Development) on the opening lap with contact sending both into the pits for repairs – Miller a cut tire and de Alba front wing damage.
With a gain of three positions, Wyatt Brichacek of Jay Howard Driver Development took home the Tilton Hard Charger Award.
In the team standings, Juncos Hollinger Racing leads DEForce Racing by a slim one-point margin, 63-62.
A second qualifying session this afternoon at 6:05 pm CDT will set the grid for tomorrow’s 30-lap feature scheduled to follow the NTT INDYCAR SERIES headline event at 2:30 pm.
Provisional Point Standings after 3 of 18 rounds:
1 Louis Foster, 68
2 Nolan Siegel, 64
3 Braden Eves, 58
4 Josh Green, 57
5 Reece Gold, 57
6 Enaam Ahmed, 55
7 Kiko Porto, 47
8 Colin Kaminsky, 41
9 Jack William Miller, 36
10 Wyatt Brichacek, 35
Reece Gold (#55 The Ticket Clinic/Juncos Hollinger Racing Tatuus IP-22): “I’m super happy to cross the line in first. We had a bit of lapped traffic to deal with but I knew I had a good gap. It seemed like a long race but the car felt great so I had a nice comfortable ride out there. It’s so hard to pass here that you’re just managing the gap, not pushing too hard. There are so many high-speed corners that affect the aero, and there aren’t many long straights that lead into slow corners so, compared to other tracks, it’s really hard. But it’s nice out front! So now, it’s just a matter of trying to repeat – pole, and then the win.”
Colin Kaminsky (#27 Slick Locks/Pabst Racing Tatuus IP-22): “I’m happy to be back up here, it’s been a while. I needed it, the team needed it. We had so many test days here that we were able to put everything together and finally got it done in qualifying – and that’s everything around here. I think we could have won it had we been on pole because it’s so hard to pass, but I was able to hold off Enaam so it was a pretty good finish. It’s good points so it’s a good start to the weekend.”
Enaam Ahmed (#47 Clear Capital Market/The Support of Pakistan/Juncos Hollinger Racing Tatuus IP-22): “I got pinched into the first corner with Colin but I learned from my mistakes at St. Pete – to win a championship, you have to score the points. In that race, I went back to eighth, came back to forth, tracking for third and crashed because of it. So, once I was in third, I was quite happy to settle there, especially on a track like this which is so high-speed. It’s just not worth it. And this is one of the most physical racetracks we run at. I believe we had a better car than Colin did, but he did a good job of staying in front – he’s a good racer and I knew he wouldn’t make it easy. But we have another qualifying today and we know we have a good car.”