Nikita Lastochkin will move to Exclusive Autosport in 2019 to compete in his third consecutive season in the Pro Mazda division of the Road to Indy ladder.
In 2018, the Russian-born driver finished ninth in the standings with Cape Motorsports.
“I’m extremely excited to come into the season and join Exclusive Autosport,” Lastochkin said at IndyCar.com. “From the testing we’ve completed so far, the car feels very quick and suits my driving style well. (Team principal) Michael (Duncalfe) has been very welcoming and helped me feel at home right away and I think we are going to have a great year ahead of us.”
In 2019, Exclusive Motorsports intends to run as many as three cars.
Last year, Parker Thompson finished second in the standings with Exclusive behind Juncos Racing’s Rinus Veekay.
“I am thrilled to welcome Nikita to the Exclusive Autosport Pro Mazda program,” Duncalfe said. “Nikita’s experience in the Road to Indy and maturity are great assets to the EA program. Overall, Nikita is a great fit with the Exclusive Autosport team. We are looking forward to a very positive and successful year with him in Pro Mazda.”
In two previous seasons in Pro Mazda, Lastochkin has earned a best finish of third at Road America.
After winning the pole position for the Iowa 300 earlier in the afternoon, Simon Pageanaud was fastest in this evening’s final practice session for the race, turning a lap of 174.462 mph around the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway bullring.
Pageneaud’s teammate Joesef Newgarden finished the session second-fastest, with an 173.775 mph lap. Newgarden was fastest in the first practice session earlier in the morning.
Ed Carpenter (172.636 mph), who is making his third start of the year this weekend in the No. 20 Chevrolet, completed the session third-fastest. Scott Dixon ended the session fourth-fastest with a 173.775 mph lap.
Conor Daly (170.316 mph) turned some heads and raised some eyebrows when he finished fifth-fastest in the session. Daly is making his second start of the season for Carlin Racing after a respectable 10th-place finish in the Indianapolis 500 for Andretti Autosport.
Colton Herta was sixth-fastest at the completion of the session with a 169.189 mph lap, while Marcus Ericsson (169.089 mph), Will Power (168.558 mph), Ryan Hunter-Reay (168.427 mph), and Alexander Rossi (168.326 mph) rounded out the top ten.
Live coverage of the Iowa 300 begins tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Click here for full practice results
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