Gabby Chaves drove to his second-career Indy Lights victory today on the streets of Long Beach. It was his first win of 2014 after finishing runner-up to Zach Veach in the Series’ opener two weeks ago in St. Petersburg. Veach holds a one-point lead heading into Round 3 at Barber Motorsports Park on April 26-27.
Chaves, driving for Belardi Auto Racing, led all 45-laps during Sunday’s caution-free race after moving ahead of pole-sitter Veach as they entered Turn 1 on the 1.968-mile street course. Veach set the fastest lap of the race (75.6723 sec.) on lap 14, while his Andretti Autosport teammate Matthew Brabham rounded out the podium.
“I was like, ‘Take that, Zach,’ ” Chaves said, in a post-race release. “It definitely pays to be on the clean side of the track with braking as I found out [two weeks ago] at St. Pete. I locked up my tires and Zach was able to get a clean run around me. I managed to get him this time. I’ve always said this is my favorite street course and I’m very pleased to get the win here.”
Veach closed the gap after losing some ground at the start, but wasn’t able to reclaim the lead. “Here in Long Beach, it’s all about the start,” he said, in a team release. “Something happened, so I don’t know if we had different wing settings than Gabby (Chaves); he was able to get us going into Turn 1. You run such low downforce here because of the long straightaways, so if you’re behind someone, you really can’t get close to them. I made a couple mistakes at the beginning of the race, then I was able to get settled in, catch back up to Gabby and ended up with the fastest lap of the race.”
Rookie Jack Harvey finished just over 27-seconds back in fourth with Luiz Razia completing the top-five in the 12-car field.
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