BROWNSBURG, Ind. – This evening’s Dave Steele Carb Night Classic at the Lucas Oil Raceway oval featured a pair of exciting races for drivers on the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel development ladder. Both included first-time winners as Singapore’s Danial Frost led from flag to flag for Exclusive Autosport in Round Five of the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, while Australian Cameron Shields emerged victorious in Round Five of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship for Newman Wachs Racing.
Frost, 17, was in imperious form on the ultra-fast oval. He was comfortably fastest in last week’s prerace test, led the way in qualifying and, after fighting off an early challenge from last year’s dominant USF2000 champion Kyle Kirkwood, controlled the proceedings to score a thoroughly well-deserved victory in the Cooper Tires Freedom 90. He also took home the first PFC Award this season for Michael Duncalfe’s Exclusive Autosport team, which also triumphed at Lucas Oil Raceway in 2018.
Frost’s only serious challenge came following the race’s only full-course caution, which came after 51 laps when Nikita Lastochkin’s Exclusive Autosport Tatuus PM-18 ground to a halt with a mechanical failure. Frost took the restart directly ahead of Sting Ray Robb, from Payette, Idaho, who had found a way past Kirkwood in Turn One moments before the yellow, but didn’t take long to reestablish a clear advantage. His final margin of victory after 90 laps was 4.8048 seconds.
Championship leader Rasmus Lindh (Juncos Racing), from Gothenburg, Sweden, chased both his teammate, Robb, and Kirkwood virtually throughout the race before finally finding a chink in Kirkwood’s armor on the very last lap when he took advantage of an open-door opportunity on the high line into Turn One. Robb moved quickly alongside, then carried his momentum through Turn Two to edge ahead and hold off Kirkwood for third on the line.
Jacob Abel (Abel Motorsports, from Louisville, Ky.), was the only unlapped finisher in fifth, while DEForce teammates Kory Enders, from Sugar Land, Texas, and Moises de la Vara, from Guadalajara, Mexico, finished in that order after a race-long scrap which also involved Phillippe Denes, from Carmel, Calif., who earned the Tilton Hard Charger Award after starting 12th on the grid.
Danial Frost (#68 Den-Jet/Exclusive Autosport Tatuus PM-18): “I’m so grateful to get my first win, especially on the oval for the Cooper Tires Freedom 90. I’m so happy with what the team has accomplished. I worked hard to keep my focus toward the end but as soon as I saw the checkered flag I started to celebrate. A couple of guys really put some pressure on me but I stayed composed and did my own thing, and eventually we were able to break the draft. Once we got into traffic, I worked at catching the guys in front because, for me, it’s better if I have someone to chase. That’s what I did for the whole race. The team gave me such a great car, I’m so happy.”