Hunter McElrea scored his second successive Indy Pro 2000 podium with a third-place finish at St Petersburg.
The result elevates the Kiwi to second in the Drivers’ Championship, 16 points adrift of Braden Eves.
Eves eased home to victory in this morning’s 25-lapper, leading from start to finish.
McElrea had qualified second for the race and held onto his starting position for the first eight laps.
However, he was demoted to third after Christian Rasmussen pulled off an opportunistic move around the outside of McElrea at turn one.
The race’s first caution came out on lap 12 when Hunter Yeany’s car grounded to a halt down an escape road.
With the field re-grouped for the restart, McElrea stayed in touch with the front two, looking to pounce if either Eves or Rasmussen ran into trouble.
Ultimately, nothing came, and Eves expertly resisted Rasmussen’s pressure all the way to the chequered flag.
“I want to win, so that’s disappointing, but you can’t feel too badly when you’re on the podium,” McElrea said.
“Even though Braden finished ahead of me, it’s good points.
“It’s tough to go from such a wide front straight to such a tight first corner, especially for the rookies.”
Earlier in the day, McElrea clinched pole position for the second of the weekend’s two races.
Race two will be at 12 am NZT tomorrow and is live-streamed through the Road to Indy App and YouTube channel.