LONG BEACH, Calif. – Gabby Chaves took the win in Sunday’s 45-lap second round of the 2014 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season, at the streets of Long Beach, ahead of Zach Veach by 0.6344 of a second. The order was reversed at the season opener in St. Petersburg.
For Chaves, it’s his second win of his career and first this season, also his and Belardi Auto Racing’s first series win on a street course.
Veach’s Andretti Autosport teammate Matthew Brabham finished third for his first Indy Lights podium, albeit more than 3 seconds behind the top two drivers by the flag.
Chaves took the lead from pole sitter Veach on the start, as Brabham nearly passed them both with a three-wide passing attempt through the kink on the Shoreline Drive front straight. Brabham fell back a bit as if the three would have collided, it would have mirrored Veach’s 2013 race, when his race didn’t make it past that point on Shoreline on the opening lap.
One of Brabham’s early laps saw him make slight contact with the wall exiting Turn 8, and he white-walled his left rear Cooper tire. But it didn’t affect him and he was able to press on.
Veach, meanwhile, was more than 2 seconds back from Chaves but methodically clawed his way back, tenth by tenth, over the course of the 45-lap race. He got to within 0.9418 of a second by the Lap 23 halfway mark, and despite getting within a half a second the rest of the way, he was unable to pass the Belardi Auto Racing driver.
Behind the podium, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entries came home in fourth and fifth, with Jack Harvey ending ahead of Luiz Razia.
Unofficial points sees Veach on 93, Chaves on 92. The series heads to Barber Motorsports Park in two weeks for the next round of the championship.