Indianapolis Indy Lights: Matthew Brabham claims first victory
Matthew Brabham capitalised on his pole position to secure the first Indy Lights win of his career in the opening race of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course double-header
On a track that dried progressively after being soaked by a downpour immediately before the start, Brabham saw off an early challenge from Gabby Chaves on the opening lap to settle into the lead, and then kept Luiz Razia at bay during the second half of the race to earn the win.
His advantage over the Brazilian was just over two seconds at the finish.
Third fell to Jack Harvey, the Brit completing an all-rookie podium on an afternoon where he had the measure of all of the cars behind him, but not quite enough pace to catch those ahead.
Most of the race's action was contained within a frantic opening few laps. Chaves took the lead from Brabham going into the first corner but was forced wide later on the same lap and dropped back to fourth.
Amid the early shuffling that was going on between positions second and sixth, points leader Zach Veach climbed up to third, only to immediately spin 360 degrees and fall back to sixth.
His attempts to recover were derailed by a second spin later, and the contact sustained along the way left him near the rear of the field with an ill-handling car.
Fortunately for Veach, his main title rival Chaves' race was soon to get worse. The Colombian had dropped to seventh and was struggling to make much progress when a huge plume of smoke signalled an engine failure, forcing him to retire seven laps from the end.
Results - 26 laps: Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1. Matthew Brabham Andretti 40m12.7538s 2. Luiz Razia Schmidt +2.0578s 3. Jack Harvey Schmidt +8.6194s 4. Zack Meyer Moore +36.7865s 5. Alex Baron Belardi +41.4746s 6. Juan Pablo García Schmidt +42.4593s 7. Scott Anderson Fan Force +48.6793s 8. Juan Piedrahita Schmidt +1m02.0072s 9. Zach Veach Andretti +1 lap 10. Lloyd Read BHA/JMM +1 lap Retirements: Gabby Chaves Belardi 18 laps
Indianapolis Indy Lights: Matthew Brabham takes first pole
Indianapolis Indy Lights: Luiz Razia on pole for race two