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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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Hunter McElrea Finishes Perfect Weekend at Mid-Ohio with First-Ever Indy Lights Victory

 

Hunter McElrea wins at Mid-Ohio.
Hunter McElrea led all 35 laps en route to claiming victory at Mid-Ohio. Image courtesy of Matt Fraver / Penske Entertainment

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Hunter McElrea seized the moment and capped off a dream weekend with the first Indy Lights win of his career at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

After starting on pole in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport machine, the 22-year-old pushed the pace and led all 35 laps en route to a 2.2668s margin of victory over teammate Matthew Brabham.

The win for McElrea closes a perfect weekend that saw him lead both practice sessions, capture pole, lead every lap in the race and score the fastest lap of the race as the only driver to go sub-1m13s (1m12.5680s). Additionally, rising to the top step of the podium ends a long wait for McElrea, who was poised to win the season-opener at St. Petersburg back in February until crashing from the lead mid-race.

“Yeah, just relieved,” McElrea said. “I mean, I knew I could do this. Ever since St. Pete, you know, when I threw away a win and it really mentally was tough. So all year I’ve probably been letting that affect me too much, still just trying to force it a bit much, but this weekend I just wanted to go back to having fun and letting everything handle itself. I can’t thank all my sponsors, all my shareholders, everyone who supports me enough, Andretti Autosport, my whole crew, everyone who supported me, it means a lot. I’m just really relieved and really happy with this.”

McElrea was uncontested from the drop of the green flag and managed to have a 7.2s advantage over Brabham. However, the lead was negated after No. 12 TJ Speed Motorsports entry of James Roe went off and into the gravel trap in Turn 1, bring out a caution on Lap 23.

Although the No. 83 of Brabham closed to the rear wing on the ensuing restart two laps later, it was merely a tease as the McElrea ended up coasting to the checkered flag.

Joining McElrea and Brabham on the podium was championship leader Linus Lundqvist.

Christian Rasmussen ended up fourth. Sting Ray Robb claimed fifth, which came after a spirited battle with Benjamin Pedersen that saw the former pull off the last-gasp pass in the final corner of the race. In the move, Jacob Abel, who was running seventh, attempted to follow Robb through but lost the rear of the car and spun off into the outside barrier. Abel ended up 11th.

Pedersen, Christian Bogle, Antonio Serravalle, Kyffin Simpson and Ernie Francis Jr. completed the rest of the top 10.

 

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