Indy Lights: Ryan Norman outduels Colton Herta for first career win

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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It was hardly a surprise that a pair of Andretti Autosport teammates engaged in a duel for the race win in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, but it was slightly different from the usual battle we’ve seen lately.

While Colton Herta, who started on the pole, was expected to be in the fight for the win, teammate Ryan Norman was his surprise counterpart this time – Patricio O’Ward started third and was shuffled back to fifth on the opening lap, and could only get back up to third and was not a factor for the win.

Herta and Norman engaged in a thrilling late-race dog fight that saw Norman routinely try outside passes on Herta at seemingly every turn, with Herta able to hold him off every time.

However, Norman eventually timed his move perfectly and sliced to the inside of Herta entering Turn 3 to take the lead with less than 10 laps remaining.

Herta tried to battle back, but was unable to get back around Norman, and the 20-year from Ohio took his first career Indy Lights win.

“Colton put up a great fight, props to him, that was such a fun race. It’s a huge weight lifted off my shoulders,” said an elated Norman afterward.

“I knew I had to do it with only two weekends left. I’ve had podiums this season, but some of those were given and I wanted to show everyone that I am capable of really racing for wins. But this whole field is amazing: I believe that if there were 15 cars, it would still be these top seven cars. It’s such a cool series to be a part of and I’m glad I’m here.”

O’Ward rounded out the podium in third, with Santi Urrutia, Aaron Telitz, Victor Franzoni, and Dalton Kellett completing the finishing order.

Herta did reduce the points deficit to O’Ward, but only marginally. O’Ward now leads by 25 points entering the final race weekend of the year at Portland International Raceway.

Pro Mazda: VeeKay Inches Closer to Championship With Fifth Win in a Row

Rinus VeeKay took his fifth win in a row on Saturday. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Rinus VeeKay overtook pole sitter Harrison Scott off the start and rocketed away to take a dominating victory in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.

VeeKay led all 55 laps on the way to the victory, his fifth in a row and seventh of the 2018 season.

“I knew the start would be the time to make a move and risked it a little bit going into Turn 1 because I didn’t know how the car was going to be. But the car stayed stable and I got around Harrison in Turns 3 and 4 and held it the rest of the way for a 1-2 for the team,” Veekay said afterward.

“They gave me a great race car, so I’m so grateful. I tried to focus in every corner, on doing the best I could and not take more risks than I needed to because the championship was in the back of my mind. I stayed pretty cool – but in my head, not around me because it was super hot.”

Teammate Robert Megennis came home second to make it a Juncos Racing 1-2, while Harrison Scott rounded out the podium in third. Moises de la Vara and Oliver Askew rounded out the top five.

Parker Thompson, VeeKay’s championship rival, started last after suffering an electrical issue in qualifying and could do no better than sixth at the checkered flag.

As such, VeeKay now leads Thompson by 47 points entering Portland.

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Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.