Hawksworth takes opening Indy Lights race of 2013


Jack Hawksworth opened his and the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights Series account with a win in St. Petersburg. The Englishman, who romped to the 2012 Star Mazda Series championship, has a chance to become the fourth different driver to win his series debut, then the title, for Sam Schmidt’s team in as many years.

Hawksworth, now of the renamed Schmidt Peterson Motorsports squad, took the lead when Carlos Munoz and Gabby Chaves made contact at Turn 1 on lap 10. Munoz went to Chaves’ inside, which pitched the two into a spin, and Hawksworth swept through.

Chaves was done on the spot and Munoz would receive a penalty for avoidable contact.

That left the race to a restart and when Peter Dempsey couldn’t capitalize, Hawksworth went ahead to the victory.

Dempsey was second for Belardi Auto Racing ahead of another Schmidt Peterson entry, rookie Sage Karam.

Juan Pablo Garcia, Zach Veach and Jorge Goncalvez completed the finishers. Only nine cars started the race and the ninth, rookie Ethan Ringel, retired with mechanical issues before completing a lap.