Jamin takes home his first career Indy Lights Series win in his third career start. he took the lead on lap four, which was the second lap of green flag racing then he passed Kaiser, the pole-sitter, at the bottom of the hill in turn five.
Nico Jamin said “I knew it was going to be really hard to pass during the race, and following another car around here is quite hard on the tires, so I wanted to get it done early, I was able to hit push to pass and brake really late and I made it stick. After that, the car was really good and ran consistent lap times. I didn’t want to push too hard on my tires after that, so I was managing the gap. The car is great and I feel good about Sunday as well.
The winning pass came after a start that was waved off by Indy Lights officials. The battle out of turn 17 had the field fan out and rookie driver Colton Herta go wide and hit Kaiser. The incident damaged the front wing on Herta’s car.
Kaiser said, “I really didn’t feel the hit, to be honest, I don’t think he hit me that hard, but apparently he didn’t see me going into the corner.”
Pato O’Ward’s car drove over the back of Santi Urrutia’s car, scattering Debris across the track. Herta did not pit to repair the damaged front wing.
Urrutia’s car took major repairs in pit lane as Aaron Telitz also pitted for repairs. Herta was ordered into the pits by IndyCar after repairs, then sent to the back of the pack.
The green flag finally waved on lap three as Kaiser led the field into turn one, with Jamin second and Neil Alberico third. Jamin passed Kaiser for the lead at the bottom of the hill in turn five for a lead change.
Kaiser said, “It was weird, I saw them wave off the start and chaos started around me. I thought I got a pretty good start and had a lot of under steer. Jamin came right up under me, I thought I had it clear in turn five, but he got a clean pass. He shoved it in three and I should have just stayed to the lift. It was a dumb mistake on my part. I gave the race away in turn five. I should have held my line a little longer.”
Neil Alberico of Los Gatos, California, was third followed by Matheus Leist of Brazil and Zachary Claman De Melo of Montreal.
Jamin and the rest of the Lights racers don’t have a lot of time to celebrate, as they qualify at 9 a.m. Eastern Time Sunday for the Mazda Indy Lights Grand Prix of Alabama Race 2 at 12:45 p.m. ET.
Jamin said, “I’m just going to have a good steak and a good potato for some good power for tomorrow and we’ll do it all over again, No champagne tonight. We had a tough race at St. Pete and I was looking forward to coming here and bouncing back with a win, We were right on pace from practice 1 through the race.”
Saturday’s win was the 32nd Indy Lights victory for Andretti Autosport.