Hunter McElrea has charged from seventh to second in the final race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to claim his first podium in only his second Indy Pro 2000 championship round.
Putting a difficult start to 2020 behind him, McElrea pressured eventual race winner Sting Ray Robb all the way to the line to finish six-tenths off a maiden series victory.
An Indy Pro 2000 veteran, Robb was starting his 49th career race in his fourth full-time season but only today did the 19-year-old manage to etch his name onto a winner’s trophy.
Leaden skies threatened rain though barring a shower in the day’s earlier race, the 25-lapper was run in entirely dry conditions.
Unfortunately for Mcelrea he had had to use the best of his tyre allotment in the lead up to qualifying which saw him line-up on the fourth row of the grid.
The race was punctuated by a collision between leading duo Colin Kaminsky and Danial Frost who clashed on their fourth tour while duelling for victory.
The crash left Kaminsky out on the spot while a wounded Frost limped home for repairs. Subsequently, Robb was elevated into the lead while an electric start had seen McElrea climb four positions to sit third, snapping at the heels of Jacob Loomis.
The Kiwi sat behind his rival for 12 laps before a shrewd move saw him promoted into second and quickly went on the hunt for Robb who had established a two-second lead.
Whilst McElrea was exceptionally quick, ultimately he was unable to mount a move on Robb over the remaining few laps, so had to settle for second and collect his first podium if the year.
The Indy Pro 2000 field had three races over the weekend with McElrea finishing eighth and sixth respectively in the opening two rounds to add to his points haul.
His podium in the final race has seen McElrea climb to eighth in the standings which is currently headed by Devlin DeFrancesco who holds a slim one-point lead over Robb.
The Kiwi returns to Mid-Ohio next weekend for rounds six and seven of the championship.
|1||Sting Ray Robb||32m37.917s|
|11||Bob Kaminsky||+1 lap|
|12||Danial Frost||+1 lap|
|13||Moises de la Vara||+2 laps|
|14||Nate Aranda||+2 laps|
|15||Charles Finelli||+2 laps|