Sabré Cook back on track in her Indy pro 2000 return
It was a mixed start for Sabré Cook in her first Indy Pro 2000 appearance of the season at Road America: with a solid midfield performance, the young lady from Colorado improved over the weekend and scored two top-10 finishes.
Sabré Cook's return to the Road to Indy ladder was scheduled for March, alongside Indycar season opener at Saint Petersburg. Now, almost four months later, the first racing weekend for the IndyPro 2000 at Elkhard Lake went underway.
On Thursday, the qualifying session started in wet conditions and caused more than some troubles to the drivers, as three red flags hit the track. There was no other choice than to bolt wet tyres on, but just before anyone could set a flying lap, Bob Kaminsky spun and was responsible for the first red flag. After the session was back to green, action was again stopped as Sting Roy Robb came to a halt with technical issuses. This interruption was used by some of the drivers to change back to dry tires. With a minute left on the clock, the last red flag waved and Danial Frost emerged on pole position. Post-session, Devlin DeFrancesco was promoted to race 1 pole after Frost was removed from the classification due to a non-compliant technical feature. Sabré Cook started from 12th position after having clocked the 14th fastest time in free practice.
"Qualifying started wet and quickly dried but we didn’t pit in time for dry tires and were unable to complete a lap on them before the red flag." - commented Sabré.
DeFrancesco could pull away from the pack at the start and built a two-second lead after the first lap. Frost, who started last, passed 8 cars on the first lap and four more in the following lap. On lap 15, Frost had passed the whole field and moved into P2, hunting down DeFrancesco to reduce the leader's advantage to a one second gap. Mid-way through the the last lap, he was right on DeFrancesco's tail and they went side-by-side at the final corner. They crossed the finish line alongside each other and just 0,0556 seconds were enough for Frost to win from the last of the grid. Sabré Cook finished the race in tenth position, scoring a good midfield result for her first race of the season.
"I got a good start initially and my pace improved over the race." - she wrote. "We were up to P9 but just missed out at the finish by 0.1 second to finish P10."
The second race saw Manuel Sulaiman starting from pole, but a crash between Hunter McElrea and Parker Thompson soon resulted in the first full course yellow. At the restart on lap 4, Danial Frost made the move on Sulaiman for the lead, but just one lap later he was overtaken by Artem Petrov as well, who pulled away. A second full course yellow was deployed due to a crash between Charles Finelli and Bob Kaminsky and the field bunched up again. As the restart, Sulaiman span with no assistance. When the chequered flag fell, Petrov won ahead of Robb and Frost. Cook finished in 10th position again.
"Started P14 for Race 2- there was a massive crash on the start but was able to avoid it. I was caught off guard on the single file restarts but had some good passes to ultimately finish P10 again." - summed up the W Series Colorado-native driver.
It was a solid first race weekend for Cook who "hadn’t been in the seat since March" and improved over the races. She will compete again at Mid-Ohio in a few weeks time, adding some racing commitments to this crazy year.