Urrutia scores a dramatic Indy Lights pole at Watkins Glen

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Santiago Urrutia has the pole for today’s Mazda Grand Prix of Watkins Glen, the second-to-last race weekend of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season.

Urrutia can thank a final banker lap for the pole position because his fastest lap was actually disallowed after the qualifying session.

The driver of the No. 55 Soul Red Mazda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian banked a 1:32.2997 lap around the 3.37-mile Watkins Glen International circuit, which beat the old track record set by Wade Cunningham in 2007 (1:36.7418) by nearly a full 4.5 seconds.

That lap time did not stand as Urrutia was adjudged to have impeded another car’s progress at Turn 6; the Uruguayan told the media in the post-qualifying press conference though he had spun, and that’s why he was slow at that point of the track.

Nonetheless, a flier on his in lap of 1:32.4144 was enough to secure his third straight pole position.

Teammate Andre Negrao was second, and the pair look to continue their run of form on the road courses; combined they have six podiums in their last six combined starts.

Ed Jones and Kyle Kaiser are on Row 2 with the remaining three championship contenders, Zach Veach, Felix Serralles and Dean Stoneman, in fifth, sixth and seventh.

The 25-lap race rolls off today just after 1:30 p.m. ET while it will air at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday on NBCSN.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing

Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.