I don’t typically cover the Firestone Indy Lights races, but since I am on-hand for the Freedom 100, I will give it a shot. The Indy Lights races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway are always intense. Past races have reminded me of ARCA races at Daytona and Talladega. Typically the races have larger than normal fields, lots of inexperienced drivers, bold moves, lots of blocking, which typically means a lot of big wrecks.
Going into Turn 1 on lap 1, cars were 4-wide. That’ll make you pucker up for sure. Luckily, Indy Lights cars can run 2-wide in the corners fairly easily where the IndyCar series cars cannot. It didn’t take long for the aggressive moves to show with Gustavo Yacaman and Sebastian Saavedra making big blocks early down the front stretch. Not long after, James Oliver Webb, on the high-side in turn-2, came down the track and collected 4 cars including that of Olivia Newton-Johns nephew, Emerson Newton-John. Luckily everyone was checked out and ok after a red-flag period.
Once the race resumed, Yacaman, Saavedra, Carlos Munoz, Esteban Guerrieri and Tristian Vautier put on a show with lots of 2-wide racing for the lead until Jorge Goncalvez crashed on lap 38 on the back stretch causing the race to end under caution. Guerrieri won the race after a pass right before the caution flag flew. With all the edge-of-your-seat moves taking place before the caution, the checkered flag falling was more limp than your Viagra wearing off right as your clothes hit the floor.
I am personally surprised there were only 2 wrecks during the course of the race. Yacaman and Saavedra were throwing huge blocks and making some very aggressive moves. I am all for making clean passes, and being aggressive when necessary, but there were many moves made during this race that were overly aggressive. There is a fine line between a hero and a zero, with these 2 guys dancing on the line. If you have ever watched the clip from Family Guy of the Asian woman driving on the freeway saying, “How much signal do I need to cut across 8 lanes? None? I turn now…good luck everybody else!” then proceeding to weave across traffic with cars exploding and spinning off, that is what kind of driving Yacaman and Saavedra were doing.
All that being said, the Firestone Indy Lights races at IMS are extremely exciting and, in my opinion, is the best Lights race of the year. With a big crowd on hand for the race at the Brickyard, drivers had a lot to prove. If you were not able to catch the race live, be sure to check the IndyCar YouTube page for highlights from the race.