As the sun set over Gateway Motorsports Park, Andretti
Autosport’s Indy Lights drivers took the green flag for a wild 75-lap contest near
St. Louis. Practicing under the lights Friday night, teams got their second
taste of the oval after it’s repaving, testing just a mere few weeks ago ahead
of the Round 15 event.


Getting a feel for balance in their cars and nuances of the
differing turns, it was Canadian Dalton Kellett leading the foursome after
practice, finishing second (No. 28 K-Line Insulators USA Mazda) with a top
speed of 162.138 mph at 27.7542 seconds. Wrapping up the session third behind Kellett,
Nico Jamin (No. 27 Synova Mazda) turned his fastest lap at 161.705 mph, with
Colton Herta (No. 98 Deltro Energy Mazda) fifth and Ryan Norman (No. 48 Journey
Mazda) eighth.


The Indy Lights drivers faced differing track conditions
from practice the night before, qualifying Saturday afternoon instead under the
warm and sunny Illinois sky. Taking their two-lap turns, Frenchman Jamin laid
down the quickest lap of the Andretti drivers, starting on the inside of Row 2
in third. Beside him, Norman qualified fourth to take the outside Row 2
starting position, while Herta qualified seventh and Kellett 11th.


Shifting gears to green flag Saturday evening for the 75-lap
main event, the caution flag fell just as the field approached Lap 1’s
completion for a two-car incident. Settling in after the restart, it was
teammates Herta and Jamin putting on a show as they battled back and forth for
fourth position while catching third together. Eventually reaching lapped
traffic at the halfway point, Jamin continued to work hard for fourth while Herta
then battled with points-leader Kaiser with 24 laps to go. As the race wore on,
Kellett faced loose conditions and understeer in his race car, but pressed on
in 10th while Norman ran just ahead of him in eighth.


Adding drama to an already wild race, a three-car incident
in Turn 1, brought out the caution and red flags with 10 laps remaining,
bringing the field to pit lane while safety crews worked to clear the track. Restarting
third, Jamin looked to use the remaining seven laps to his advantage, while Herta
sat seventh, Norman eighth and Kellett 10th.


Leading the Andretti-pack, Herta finished a strong third to
podium, his sixth of his rookie season. Crossing the finish line behind him, Kellett
was able to take seventh while Norman nabbed yet another top-10 with eighth
place, his 13th of the season. Earning the Tilton Hard Charger Award for
positions earned, it wasn’t meant to be for Jamin, spinning late in the race
but salvaging an 11th place finish.


Coverage of Round 15’s action-packed event airs Monday, Aug.
28, at noon ET on NBC Sports Network. Wrapping up the 2017 Indy Lights
Presented by Cooper Tires season, the teams take to Watkins Glen International
in Watkins Glen, New York, Sept. 2 and 3.


Colton Herta – No. 98 Deltro Energy Mazda

Started: 7th
// Finished: 3rd

Championship: 3 / 15 (277 pts.)


“We were starting seventh, so we knew a podium was
possible. Late in the race, it really looked challenging. We came into the red
flag seventh with seven laps to go. We made some good moves on the restart and
got a clean line from the crash. We got up to third and I really think if we
had a few more laps, we could’ve challenged for the win. I was catching and the
car still felt really good and really fresh. I knew [racing two-wide] was
possible from testing but I thought once you get a good, big group of fast
guys, it was going to be tough. It proved wrong and you could really pass. It
was a really good race, I think one of the best of the year.”


Dalton Kellett – No. 27 K-Line Insulators USA Mazda

Started: 11th // Finished: 7th

Championship: 10 / 15 (190 pts.)


“Overall, it’s not a bad finish to the weekend. If you
had to ask me how things were going during the middle of the race, it would’ve
been pretty dower, but I think with that late caution coming out we were really
able to capitalize on people’s mistakes and make some moves around the outside
in Turn 1 and 2. Doing that classic [Ryan] Hunter-Reay short oval high-line
move off the start seems to work pretty well for this race. I think that was
probably the strongest part of our race was starts and restarts. We were
definitely able to make up some positions there. Race pace, we were definitely
struggling there. It was a pretty nervous car the whole time. Once things
settled into a rhythm, I think we needed a little bit more as far as comfort
and grip overall in the car and be able to challenge for the win, but we had a
consistent car under us for the whole race so thanks to the Andretti crew for
putting together a good package this weekend.”


Ryan Norman – No. 48 Journey Mazda

Started: 4th // Finished: 8th

Championship: 11 / 15 (189 pts.)


“At the beginning of the race, the car was just a handful
and we had a couple of huge moments that I was actually surprised I caught
those, but I kind of just let all the other cars go by me. Then mid-race, the
car started coming to me and I was able to throw down some good lap times. On
the restart, the tires were down again and it was just a handful in Turn 1. Me
and Nico [Jamin] spun going through there and somehow saved that. After that,
there was another restart and the temperature of the tires just never came and
I was really never able to catch anyone. It was a fun weekend overall. I think
we just missed a little bit of a setup during the race, but I think we had a
good weekend and we’ll come back stronger at Watkins Glen.”


Nico Jamin – No. 27 Synova Mazda

Started: 3rd // Finished: 11th

Championship: 6 / 15 (252 pts.)


I’m a bit disappointed with today’s run. We had a
really strong race car. I fell down to fourth at the start and I worked my way
back up to third and was catching onto [Juan] Piedrahita for second. I think I
needed one or two more laps to get him and then we had the red flag. On the
restart, the guy behind me was more trimmed than I was and had a good run on
the outside. We both went deep in there and then all of a sudden, my car broke
crazy loose. I don’t know if someone hit me at the back – I’m not exactly sure
what happened, but it broke loose and unfortunately, I brought [Mateus] Leist
with me. It’s just a race incident and it’s disappointing because we for sure had
car good enough for podium and maybe better. I’m confident for Watkins
Glen. Things are getting better for us now.”