Kirkwood Returns to his Winning Ways in Toronto Indy Pro 2000

17 Jul 2019
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Kyle Kirkwood claimed a hard-earned third Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires victory of the season – and his third in as many starts at the unforgiving 1.786-mile Exhibition Place street circuit in Toronto – for the RP Motorsports USA team. Kirkwood, from Jupiter, Fla., who also won last year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 championship, was pushed every inch of the way by Canadian favorite Parker Thompson (Abel Motorsports), from Red Deer, Alb.

Championship leader Rasmus Lindh, from Gothenburg, Sweden, finished close behind in third for Juncos Racing.

The top three were barely separated by no more than a few car lengths throughout a gripping 30-lap race which was interrupted only briefly by an incident on the opening lap in Turn Four involving yesterday’s winner, Singaporean Danial Frost (Exclusive Autosport), and local driver Antonio Serravalle (Pserra Racing) which ended with Serravalle’s car making solid contact with the wall.

Kirkwood, who had defended his pole position perfectly on the run toward Turn One, maintained his lead at the restart but was never able to eke out any breathing room at all. The top five cars, driven by Kirkwood, Thompson, Lindh, Idaho native Sting Ray Robb aboard a second Juncos Racing Tatuus PM-18 and Frost, remained in a snarling high-speed train for the first 20 laps, with each of them trading fastest laps on a consistent basis.

All five were clearly very closely matched, but with overtaking no easy task on the Toronto streets, each of the protagonists knew they would require a mistake from the driver in front in order to make a pass for position.

The pace continued to intensify, with Lindh finally recording a new lap record of 1:07.0213 (95.934 mph) on the penultimate lap, but Kirkwood was flawless and his victory – and RP Motorsport’s third PFC Award of the season – was assured.

A last-ditch effort by Lindh to find a way past Thompson on the final lap saw Kirkwood cross the line with his biggest margin of the race, 1.7233 seconds over Thompson, whose fourth consecutive podium finish enabled him to move back to second place in the championship points table, narrowly ahead of both Kirkwood and Frost, who finally found a way past Robb for fifth after 20 laps.

Guatemalan Ian Rodriguez couldn’t find quite the same pace as yesterday but still finished a solid sixth ahead of Jacob Abel (Abel Motorsports), from Louisville, Ky., who earned his second Tilton Hard Charger Award, after starting 12th on the grid, in as many days.

Provisional championship points after nine of 16 rounds:
1. Rasmus Lindh, 237
2. Parker Thompson, 207
3. Kyle Kirkwood, 205
4. Danial Frost, 202
5. Sting Ray Robb, 173
6. Nikita Lastochkin, 137
7. Phillippe Denes, 118
8. Kory Enders, 116
9. Moises de la Vara, 114
10. Jacob Abel, 106
 
Rounds 10 and 11 of the 16-race Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires will be held July 27/28 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
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Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

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