It was an action-packed weekend at The Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio held July 26-28. Local Race Car driver Sting Ray Robb, a 17-year old from Payette, had a strong recovery from what could have been a devastating weekend of setbacks. During Thursday’s initial test session, Sting Ray’s engine suffered a failed crank sensor which caused him to miss several of the following test sessions. This set his Juncos race team on their heels and into a scramble to replace the engine and get the car dialed in with the new equipment. Juncos Racing put the #2 car back on track with Sting Ray at the helm just in time for a portion of the final practice session before qualifying. The limited track time prior to qualifying had a definite impact resulting in a less than desirable P7 for Saturday’s race. With the early morning cooler temps came a change in car set up for Saturday’s Qualifying 2. Although improvement was seen in the overall performance, the team and driver would have to settle for a P4 starting position for Sunday’s Race 2.
As the temps rose throughout the day on Saturday, the team again had to make adjustments to the setup. They knew this was their opportunity for redemption. Race 1 on Saturday afternoon had Sting Ray starting on the inside of Row 4 in the 7th position, needing a solid start to insure a strong finish. As is often the case, chaos ensued in the opening laps of the race, but Sting Ray masterfully maneuvered through the wrecks and moved up to P2. Sting Ray was the victim of two back-to-back racing incidents in the final lap of the race putting him at P5 at the finish line. Another top 5 finish, but certainly not what he had been shooting for. “I’m very happy with the drive and the car’s performance today. It was not the result we were hoping for, but we’ll get ‘em in Race 2 tomorrow. Juncos did a great job of getting the car dialed in with the minimal track time we had to test. I know they’ll have the car set up and ready to roll tomorrow and I’ll be gunning for the front”, stated Sting Ray after Race 1.
“Today was one of Sting Ray’s best performances in Indy Pro”, said Pieter Rossi, father of current IndyCar driver Alexander Rossi and also Sting Ray’s Manager. “He drove with commitment and like a champion, pushing for the win from a P7 starting position! There is no doubt the wins are coming. He’s in a great car and had the confidence to work all the way to the front today and will do it again tomorrow.”
Race 2’s action got started before the green flag was waving with a front row incident that had a domino effect through the lineup including a rear-ender. The crash severely damaged Sting Ray’s rear diffuser, resulting in reduced downforce and rear grip. Sting Ray knew the damage was significant, but was encouraged by the team to battle through and drive the best the car would allow. “The car looks to be mostly okay,” said Sting Ray’s engineer over the radio. Despite the damage and to the thrill of the fans watching, Sting Ray showed off his racecraft and drove his way to a third-place position. With 7 laps remaining, an incident at the tail of the field brought out a full-course yellow, allowing all the cars to line up in tight formation for a restart. From that P3 position, Sting Ray got a great jump start on Thompson and made a daring dive into Turn 1 to take over the second-place spot. He was able to hold that position for the remaining 5 laps with some of the top drivers in the world in hot pursuit. He garnered his fourth podium finish on the season thus far.
“It’s great to be back on the podium after a lot of tight battles on track this weekend. Juncos did a fantastic job getting the car dialed in and I was able to drive the car to a strong second place finish. Blessed to have this continued opportunity to be out here racing alongside the best racers in the world on the Road to Indy.” Sting Ray will be chasing another podium at the Gateway Motorsports Park Oval August 23rd and 24th. Download the Road to Indy App for live video and timing of the race events. The Road to Indy is a driver development series feeding the top drivers up the ladder toward INDYCAR. You can follow Sting Ray’s journey on FB, Instagram and Twitter or check out his website: www.stingrayrobb.com.