Gabby Chaves seized momentum in his fight for the Indy Lights championship against Zach Veach with a win on Saturday afternoon at Pocono Raceway.
Veach earned the pole in that morning’s qualifying session, but Chaves took the lead on Lap 7 of the 40-lap race and went on to take his fourth win of the year.
“We were really quick in practice but we missed our qualifying setup which was very disappointing, because I really believe we were the car to beat,” Chaves said.
“It definitely showed in the race. We set a faster lap time than we did in qualifying and we were really consistent.
“We almost improved every lap until the last lap of the race so you can’t be much happier about that because the team gave me a great car and I was able to use it to perform to my top level.”
On Lap 7, Chaves went three-wide with Veach and Luiz Razia going into Turn 1, but was able to make the inside pass stick and took over P1. One turn later, Razia lost control of his car and crashed.
At the subsequent restart, Chaves pulled away from Veach, who ultimately had to hold off Jack Harvey for second after a late-race battle.
“I knew that I had the better car so I knew I had to make my move early and make it count,” Chaves said about his bold move for the lead. “So when Luiz got a run on Zach and they went almost two wide in Turn 3, I was able to just have a clear run through there and have a much better exit than they did off of [Turn] 3.
“Luiz gave me enough space but there wasn’t much more because we were already three-wide, so I just managed to squeeze by and grab the lead there. The safety car came out shortly after but I knew if I could keep the lead on the restart, we would be good. I definitely had an awesome car.”
Matthew Brabham finished ahead of Juan Pablo Garcia for fourth but race officials, after a review, chose to move Garcia to fourth and Brabham to fifth for on-track conduct.
Chaves now holds a 316-305 lead in the driver’s championship over Veach going into the next Indy Lights race on July 20 during the Honda Indy Toronto weekend.