A spin for Hunter McElrea while challenging for the podium at Road America has left the Kiwi 15th in his debut Indy Pro 2000 championship race as Danial Frost charged from last on the grid to clinch a stunning victory 0.05s ahead of Devlin DeFrancesco in a grandstand finish.
Frost was initially set to start the race from pole position but was excluded from qualifying due to a technical infringement which meant he took the start 16th and last.
The result promoted DeFrancesco to pole position which he converted into an early lead at the green flag.
Starting sixth, McElrea had worked himself into fourth and began snapping on the heels of the rostrum.
Frost meanwhile had scythed his way past a mammoth 12 cars by the start of the third tour.
His charge was aided when McElrea spun at Turn 14, ruling the Kiwi out of any chance of claiming victory. The Pabst Racing debutant was fortunate enough to prevent his car from stalling and opted to pit for fresh rubber.
The decision put McElrea a lap down, but the Kiwi racer was aware that fastest lap of the race determined the grid for the day’s second race. But despite some rapid lap times, McElrea couldn’t muster the fastest lap but will start towards the pointy end in race 2.
Frost’s charge hit a roadblock when he struggled to get past the resilient defence of Parker Thompson, eventually making a move stick with six laps in hand.
Third then became second one lap later as a rapid Frost skated by the second Pabst Racing machine of Colin Kaminsky and he set after DeFrancesco in pursuit of clinching an unlikely victory.
Barking at the gearbox of race leader DeFrancesco, a shrewd move by Frost saw him get a stronger exit out of the final corner on the final lap to out-drag his rival across the line with official timing recording the margin at five-thousandths of a second.
Frost also set the second fastest lap of the race and will line up on the front row of the day’s final race.
Thompson capitalised on a late error by Kaminsky to steal away the final step of the podium.
McElrea will be looking to make amends after his opening race spin with the final Indy Pro 2000 set to get underway from 8 am NZT July 11.
|5||Sting Ray Robb||+9.8668s|
|7||Moises de la Vara||+32.8402s|
|13||Parker Thompson||+1 lap|
|14||Charles Finelli||+1 lap|
|15||Hunter McElrea||+1 lap|
|16||Manuel Sulaiman||+2 laps|