Kyle Kaiser at speed on IMS road course
Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

The 14-car Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires field hit the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the second of two races in conjunction with the INDYCAR Grand Prix with Kyle Kaiser crossing the finish line first after starting from pole.

The field lined up two by two out of Turn 14 with Kaiser and Colton Herta on the front row. Fanned out on the approach to Turn 1, Santi Urrutia made a strong move to get from fourth to second while Herta lost two positions.

Urrutia dogged Kaiser throughout the first three laps with the distance between leader and second place better measured by car lengths than seconds. A failed pass attempt led to light contact between the two but Kaiser held on to the lead.

A second pass attempt on Lap 4 also went awry for Urrutia, giving Matheus Leist the opportunity to move up to second and dropping the Belardi Auto Racing driver to third.

While Kaiser was unable to shake Urrutia, the Juncos Racing driver was able to build his advantage over second place once Leist took over the position. With nine laps complete, the gap between first and second stood at 1.9 seconds. One lap later, it had grown to 2.3 seconds.

On Lap 12, Urrutia got around Leist to reclaim second and resume his pursuit of Kaiser.

Driving one of the faster cars on track, Urrutia was able to cut into Kaiser’s lead with the gap at 3.9 seconds after 15 laps, 3.4 seconds after 18 laps and three seconds after 21 laps.

On Lap 21, Herta began experiencing a power loss and fell back multiple positions, dropping out of the top five and promoting Neil Alberico to fourth and Nico Jamin to fifth. By Lap 23, Herta ran in 11th but after recycling the engine, he was back up to speed.

The battle for third between Carlin teammates Leist and Alberico was the closest on track. While Leist was running in third and looking to achieve his first podium finish in Indy Lights competition, Alberico passed for the position but was unable to hold it when Leist made a move in Turn 1. The pass included contact between the two, breaking Alberico’s front wing and dropping him to a sixth-placed finish.

Kaiser took the white flag with a 6.4-second advantage and gained a tenth on his final lap, crossing the finish line ahead of Urrutia. Leist, Jamin and Juan Piedrahita completed the top five.

Ryan Norman, Nicolas Dapero and Dalton Kellett occupied positions seven through nine at the finish while Herta was able to rally after his mid-race engine issue to a finish of 10th.

The series will be back in action at IMS on May 26 for the Freedom 100. The race on the 2.5-mile oval will serve as the seventh round of the 2017 season.

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