LEXINGTON, Ohio – The 13th round of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season from the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course featured a wild race, an unexpected podium and a welcome first-time winner.
RC Enerson of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports finally delivered on season long promise to win his first career race, ahead of fellow podium finishers Max Chilton (Carlin) and Shelby Blackstock (Andretti Autosport).
“I wanted to get a good start and see where things shook out after the first couple of corners,” Enerson said. “Once I was in the lead, it was kind of easy to look forward, to push for better lap times and focus on what I was doing, rather than have to worry about what people in front of me were doing. It’s much easier to lead!”
But the dramatic point of the race came early, when championship contenders Jack Harvey and Spencer Pigot collided going through Turn 8, which set both of them back for the rest of the day.
Per the series, a sideways moment for Enerson soon after the start allowed Pigot to make a run for the lead in Turn 6. Moments later, in attempting to make up ground after initially falling back from his front row starting position, Harvey and Pigot made contact in Turn 7, with Pigot’s right-front wheel making light contact with Harvey’s left-rear.
It was enough to send Harvey into a wild ride across the grass into the tires, and thence to pit lane for repairs to his left-rear suspension. Pigot also ducked into the pits for a new right-front tire, and struggled thereafter with deranged steering.
Pigot was eighth while Harvey ended 11th. Meanwhile the third member of the title triumvirate, Ed Jones, was hit at another stage by Juan Piedrahita and had to pit, eventually falling to 10th.
Still, Enerson controlled the race up front with Chilton earning another podium and Blackstock finally making it to the podium in third, for his first of the year. Blackstock’s podium means all drivers this season who have run more than two race weekends have scored at least one this season.
Harvey, for all intents and purposes, survived a major potential dent to his championship hopes and leads Pigot by 16 and Jones by 19 heading to Sunday’s race. Enerson, meanwhile, is just 24 back of Jones for fourth.