Barber Indy Lights: Jamin triumphs in Race 1
Nico Jamin sent Andretti Autosport to Victory Lane with his first Indy Lights win, after pulling off a decisive pass on the polesitter Kyle Kaiser following a clash between the front-row starters.
The first Lights race at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend started with P2 starter Colton Herta unhinging his front wing on the rear of Kyle Kaiser’s car, as he flicked left to try and grab the inside line for Turn 1.
The damage made the Juncos driver’s subsequent heavy squeeze on the #98 Andretti Steinbrenner car quite unnecessary as Herta would have to pit for a new front wing under the full-course yellow. Also pitting for repairs was Santiago Urrutia who lost the rear wing from his Belardi/Schmidt Peterson machine, also at Turn 1.
The beneficiary should have been Kaiser but Jamin passed him soon after the Lap 3 restart, while Zachary Claman de Melo on Lap 5 passed Dalton Kellett to make it a Carlin Racing 3-4-5, with Neil Alberico in third, and Matheus Leist in fourth.
Up front, Jamin established a 2.7sec lead by Lap 10, with Kaiser about 1sec clear of the Carlin trio who in turn had dropped Kellett to the tune of 2.2sec. Much further back, Herta finally got past one of his Andretti Autosport teammates, Ryan Norman, to take 11th on Lap 11, and he rapidly homed in on the tail of Nicolas Dapero (Juncos) who was hounding the Team Pelfrey pair of Pato O’Ward and Juan Piedrahita. However, as ever it was one thing to catch, quite another to make a pass.
Rather than focus on catching Alberico for third, by Lap 13 Leist was having to keep his eye on his mirrors for his other teammate, De Melo, who was ramping up the pressure – and it began to tell, with Leist locking wheels under braking and running wide. It seemed only a matter of time before De Melo would be through.
As Jamin inched ever further away in front – 4sec lead by Lap 18 – so Alberico got the gap to Kaiser down to under a second. However, there the gap steadied for the remainder of the race.
O’Ward made a wheelbanging move down the inside of teammate Piedrahita at the long right-handed final turn with 4 laps to go, and within half a lap, Piedrahita had also ceded places to Dapero and Herta.
Meanwhile Jamin stroked home 3sec clear of Kaiser, with Alberico 1.2sec further in arrears.
This marked Jamin’s first Lights win, and it was desperately needed after a relatively disastrous opening weekend in St. Petersburg.
De Melo played it smart and stayed behind Leist to the flag, followed by Kellett, Shelby Blackstock (Belardi), O’Ward, Dapero and Herta.
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