Turn 3 Motorsport and James Roe wrapped up this weekend’s three-race event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with season-high finishes in the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.
Rookie Indy Pro 2000 driver James Roe qualified the #3 Topcon/Trintech car in 12th place for Race 1 but knew he had a car quick enough to challenge for position with on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course. When the green flag fell in Race 1, Roe charged his way up to P10 and focused on continuing to gain ground during the 25-lap race. An incident mid-pack then opened the door for the Irishman to improve up to P6, closing the gap to the front of the field. Roe kept putting out fast lap times, and by Lap 18, he was up to P5.
When a yellow flag came out on Lap 19, the field tightened up again, and Roe saw the opportunity for an advantageous restart. The 22-year-old had an excellent restart, poking his nose into Turn 1 for P4 but backed down to avoid contact. Unfortunately, Roe had unavoidable contact with the #22 car of Manuel Sulaiman which caused him to fall back to P8, but fortunately, he was able to carry on and bring the car home in eighth, his best finish of the season thus far.
Race 2 started off with a kerfuffle among the leaders, once again inviting Roe to sail by and improve six positions up to P6 by the end of Lap 1. Roe unluckily then had contact with the #27 car of Colin Kaminsky, damaging his rear suspension and calling him into the pits for repairs. The T3M crew swiftly fixed the #3 car and got him back on track just a couple of laps down. With just a few laps to go, Roe came back in for a few more adjustments and was ready to return to the race, but officials made the call to stop him from rejoining with only two laps remaining, resulting in a 10th place score.
Race 3 saw Roe starting in P12 once again with the driver ready to fight for a good result in his final race. After a few on track battles and efforts for gain, Roe brought the #3 Topcon/Trintech car home in 11th place for Race 3, rounding out a packed and exciting weekend of racing.
“Overall, I think it was our strongest race weekend of the year,” said Roe. “In Race 1, we passed over half of the field to get ourselves up to P5 only to be taken out by another ambitious move with two laps to go, resulting in a loss of three places. Race 2 was pretty much the same thing, except we got taken out by another ambitious move from P6 on Lap 3. We tried to make the best of the situation by repairing the car and getting it back out with the goal of getting a good qualifying lap in to improve our starting position for Race 3, but we were stopped from joining back in with just two laps to go. Our pace was very strong in Race 1 and 2 though, so I’m happy with the gains we made. In Race 3, we certainly lost some speed which we will have to analyze now, but overall we had a good weekend. Our next stop is Lucas Oil Raceway in a couple of weeks for my first ever oval race; I can’t wait!”
“Overall, we had a decent weekend,” said Team Owner Peter Dempsey. “I think our pace as a team was a lot stronger than the results showed. James missed out on his first top five finish in Race 1, but overall, this weekend was definitely an improvement on where we’ve been in previous events. He has a new challenge ahead heading into Lucas Oil Raceway, so we have to help him settle in on the oval as best as we can. To be challenging for podiums is where we need to be, and we have to trust our program that these results are going to come if we all keep pushing as hard as we are. The gains we are making are promising, and I hope that we can continue to improve every time we are on track and the results that we deserve will come soon.”
The Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires will return to Indianapolis in just a couple of weeks for the first oval event of the season at Lucas Oil Raceway’s .686-mile track.