Starting from the pole position, Andretti Autosport’s Zach Veach led all 30 laps in today’s Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires event at Barber Motorsports Park and won by a margin of 3.8 seconds over GP2 veteran Luiz Razia of Brazil.
Gabby Chaves, who won the most recent Lights race two weeks ago at Long Beach, started alongside Veach on the front row but instead made contact with Belardi Auto Racing teammate Alex Baron in Turn 1 and sent the latter off track.
Both cars kept going after the incident but Chaves was never the same as he ultimately slipped to a sixth-place finish. Meanwhile, Baron shook off his first-lap run-in and charged all the way to fifth at the checkered flag.
Meanwhile up front, Veach was able to slowly build a gap over Razia that proved too large to overcome as the American claimed his second Lights win after taking the season opener in St. Petersburg.
“We were very happy to use our pole to an advantage, as we didn’t get that opportunity in Long Beach,” Veach said to the IMS Radio Network. “But it was a great car to drive.
“I really didn’t know what was going on [in Turn 1]. I saw a lot of things moving around in my mirrors and I just kind of prayed that I didn’t get swept up into it. But this car was easy to drive, it was really consistent, and I’m excited to [run another race] tomorrow.”
As for Razia, he was able to secure his first Lights podium after finishing fifth in the season’s first two events. Following Long Beach, he taped pictures of that race’s group of podium finishers – Chaves, Veach, and Andretti’s Matthew Brabham – on a mirror for motivation.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports was able to get two of their men on the podium, with Razia’s runner-up and Jack Harvey’s third-place finish (he was five seconds off of Veach’s pace). Brabham was fourth, 9.5 seconds behind Veach.
Veach now holds a 26-point lead in the Lights championship over Chaves going into tomorrow’s second race at Barber. That race will start at 1 p.m. ET and will be shown on NBCSN at 5:30 p.m. ET following coverage of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama for the Verizon IndyCar Series.