Freedom 100 at Indy - Leist Wins the Freedom 100 at Indy
INDIANAPOLIS - RIS - MAY 26, 2017 - The Freedom 100 for Indy Lights cars, the prime support event for the 101st Running of the Indy 500, got under way under almost perfect weather conditions at the 2 1/2 mile oval known as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
14 drivers took the green, as Matheus Leist led the field down to the green.
As they moved into turn 2, Colton Herta, son of retired Indy driver and now owner, Brian Herta, lost the rear end as he came down on Andretti teammate, Dalton Kellett, the two touched, and Colton took out the 48 car of Ryan Norman, another Andretti Autosport teammate. Kellett was able to continue with minor damage, Ryan Norman was out as was Herta.
Colton with an ice pack on his wrist was asked did you see Ryan Norman, “Yeah, I saw him.” Did you two hit? Colton’s only comment was “Yep.”
The green came out again on Lap 5 as Matheus Leist, driving for Andretti Autosports continued to command the field as things settled down with Leist, Zachary, Claman De Melo, and Neil Alberico, running one, two, and three.
By lap 12 De Melo, had moved into second as a good interesting race for second place started to developed with Dalton Kellett and Aaron Telitz that led to some fun side by side racing that lasted all the way to the finish.
With the Lights cars, running on Cooper tires, tire management, on a track like this, is vital. The Indy cars will run about 75 miles at most on a set of tires. The Cooper’s are required to go a full 100 miles, this truly puts a burden on the drivers to not over heat the round black things that connect them to the race track, all the while still racing the cars around them.
The only challenge to Leist in the leading Andretti car, came on lap 33 as Aaron Telitz pulled up next to Leist coming out of turn four. That move lead to a couple of hard fought, very clean side by side fighting. Both young drivers did an awesome job of not only racing, but give the other guy room to race.
This continued through lap 35 of the 40 lap event, when Santi Urrutia slap the wall coming out of turn two. Things did stayed green for the rest of the race as Matheus Leist made it a flag to flag finish for the win, by 0.7760 seconds over Aaron Telitz, who passed Dalton Kellett for second place on the last lap, to steal the runner up spot, by just 0.0641 seconds.
Matheus Leist said about the challenge for the lead from Telitz, “I hold bottom, I thought he would overtake me, but I relaxed and he was not able to overtake me. This was my 1st oval, my 1st time here, it was amazing. This is a amazing place, I hope to win the 500 here.”