International Motor Speedway – Sting Ray Robb and Juncos Racing enjoyed a perfect week at the Indianapolis Grand Prix 2.439 mile 14-turn road course. Sting Ray, from Payette, Idaho, swept all three races that comprised the Indy Grand Prix and now leads the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires with 10 of 17 races in the books. He couldn’t have chosen a better way to celebrate his 19th birthday!
In Race One Sting Ray, starting in the second position outside on Row One alongside his teammate Petrov from Russia, was pushed wide off the track and back to fifth position in the pandemonium of Turn One. Sting Ray, celebrating his 19th birthday, appeared unshaken through the fracas and pushed forward laying down the fastest lap of the race and eventually taking over the lead in Lap 9. He would continue to lead the remainder of the 20-lap race with Hunter McElrae of New Zealand (Pabst Racing) running a strong 2nd and Canadian Parker Thompson (DEForce Racing) rounding
out the top 3. Sting Ray is only the fifth Indy Pro 2000 driver to win from a position other than pole at IMS.
Sting Ray was leading by almost 3 seconds in Lap 16 of 20 when a serious accident involving fellow American driver Braden Eves (Exclusive Autosport) who was battling for 6th position, brought Race One to a close. Eves, who was taken to the hospital with compression/ fractures & facial lacerations thankfully has been released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery – a testament to the gear & equipment utilized in this high speed, high risk sport.
A second qualifying session was held to set the grid for Race Two. Sting Ray turned the tables on Petrov, Race One’s polesitter, by snagging the Cooper Tires Pole Award, with Danial Frost, Devlin DeFrancesco, Hunter McElrea and Parker Thompson rounding out the front three starting rows for Race 2.
With the rolling start of Race Two Sting Ray asserted his authority at the wave of the green flag and was able to get a strong jump on the field defending the inside line on the drag race to Turn One. Behind him, Petrov was immediately swallowed up by the pack while then championship leader Italian-Canadian Devlin DeFrancesco (Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport) emerged from Turn One
squarely in second place despite having started on the outside of the second row of the grid. Petrov chased gamely in third place, with Parker Thompson also remaining close behind in fourth place. Singapore’s Danial Frost (Turn 3 Motorsport) couldn’t quite match the leaders’ pace but just did enough to hold off Hunter McElrea for fifth. The Indy Pro 2000 complete field finishes can be found at IndyPro2000.com
In stark contrast to Race One, the remainder of Race Two’s 20-lap race was surprisingly uneventful. Sting Ray made good his escape, lapping with pace and consistency at the front of the field to increase the final margin of victory to just a fraction less than two seconds. He made his second win in two days at the challenging and legendary IMS Brick Yard seem almost effortless and for good measure, he laid down the fastest lap of the race which secured his Pole position for Race 3. The Race Two victory allowed Sting Ray to close within four points of DeFrancesco in the chase for the Championship which provides a scholarship to run in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the final rung of the ladder before entering IndyCar.
The two-day event at IMS concluded late in the afternoon with Race Three. Sting Ray barely survived a three-wide moment under braking for Turn One on the opening lap of this final race but, once he had emerged in the lead, there was no catching him. Behind,
though, there was mayhem as erstwhile points leader DeFrancesco’s attempt to pass McElrea into Turn Seven went awry and he slid wide onto the grass at the exit, losing several positions. McElrea however couldn’t match Sting Ray’s pace but had just enough speed to keep Petrov in his rearview mirrors for the duration of the race. Sting Ray continued his dominating performance as he romped to
his third victory of the week – and fourth in his last six starts - leading the 25-lap race from start to finish before taking the checkered flag almost three seconds clear of the rest of the field. New Zealander Hunter McElrea stood on the 2nd place podium with Petrov once again claiming that the third-place finish. With the stellar
performance of the week, Juncos Racing leads the team Championship while Sting Ray takes over the Indy Pro 2000 Championship points lead by a solid 16-point margin.
Provisional championship points of Top 5 contenders after 10 of 17 races completed:
Sting Ray Robb, 256
Devlin DeFrancesco, 240
Artem Petrov, 207
Danial Frost, 199
Hunter McElrea, 184
Sting Ray Robb (Pilot of the #2 Firehouse/Goodheart, The GO Agency, Tovuti, Trademark & Munk Dental, Idaho Bone Collector & Treasure Valley Windshield Car): “These two races were my fourth and fifth time starting on pole and luckily I wasn’t hit from behind like I have been before. Thankful the guys kept it clean behind me. I got a good jump, survived Turn One, cleared the field in these last two races and was able to stay out in front.
It’s so surreal, I’m still in awe. So grateful and thankful to be here – a tripleheader sweep on the hallowed grounds of the Brick Yard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – it’s what dreams are made of. God gets the Glory! Huge thank you to the Juncos crew; they gave me a great car all week. A big shout out to all the amazing Team SR2 fans, friends, family and investors that have “fueled” me this far – I know I wouldn’t be here without all of you! Headed to Mid-O next and staying focused to keep this momentum moving forward.”
The Road to Indy and Indy Pro 2000 series will be back in action next weekend for a pair of races at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, in conjunction with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES – an event which was postponed from earlier in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.