[Source: Indy Lights press releases]
Long Beach, Calif. - A thrilling 40-minute qualifying session for tomorrow’s Long Beach 100, Round 2 of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, ended with first-round winner Zach Veach vaulting from fourth to first on the very last lap.
Veach, 19, from Stockdale, Ohio, had been lying in third for the most of the session behind first-round polesitter Gabby Chaves and rookie Alex Baron, but after his Andretti Autosport team made a few small tweaks to the setup of his #26 RePLAY XD/The Young Marines/Ads IT Solutions/Zakosi Data Back Up Dallara, Veach stepped up his game and laid down a flyer to claim the second pole of his Indy Lights career. Coincidentally or not, the first also came in Southern California – at the 2013 season finale at Auto Club Speedway.
Veach’s final lap stopped the clocks in 1:15.0074, an average speed of 94.455 mph around the 1.96-mile street circuit.
Chaves, 20, from Bogota, Colombia, and now a resident of Miami, Fla., had set the fastest lap during practice earlier this morning and continued to set the pace in the early stages of qualifying with Belardi Auto Racing’s #5 Marca Colombia/Coldeportes entry, only to be eclipsed by French teammate Baron after 22 minutes.
Baron’s best of 1:15.0863 remained fastest until the final minute, when Chaves jumped to the top on 1:15.0349. Moments later, both were eclipsed by Veach. Andretti Autosport teammate Matthew Brabham also improved on the final lap, jumping to third on 1:15.0349.
Chaves will therefore start tomorrow’s Long Beach 100 from the outside of the front row, with Brabham third on the grid. Baron? Well, he will start fourth after clipping the wall on the exit of Turn One with a few minutes remaining and damaging his car’s right-side suspension. The top four contenders were separated by a scant 0.0789 of a second.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb Agajanian teammates Luiz Razia, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Jack Harvey, from Bassingham, England, exchanged places several times in the closing minutes before Razia secured fifth on the grid with a time of 1:15.7513 to Harvey’s 1:15.9463.
Scott Anderson, from Fort Collins, Colo., also improved on the final lap to take seventh, mere fractions behind, on 1:15.9819 for the Fan Force United team.
The green flag for Sunday’s one-hour/45-lap Long Beach 100 race will fly at 10:15 a.m PT.
In addition to Timing & Scoring with commentary on the series website – IndyLights.com – the race will be carried live on the IMS Radio Network to Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Indycar.com, IndyCarRadio.com and the INDYCAR app from Verizon. The race will air on the NBC Sports Network at 11:30 a.m. PT tomorrow, just ahead of the Verizon IndyCar Series race coverage.
Zach Veach – #26 RePLAY XD/The Young Marines/Ads IT Solutions/Zakosi Data Back Up (Andretti Autosport): “I really have to thank my engineer (Doug Zister) for this because I came by and he told me, ‘You’re P4 – you better figure out what you’re doing, I’m not here for that (haha).’ I was just able to put it together and get the pole on the last lap. I don’t know how I did it or how it happened – I’m sure the data will explain that. It was just a magical lap for me and the RePLAY XD car.”