Ethan Ringel Snags Pole for Freedom 100 as Mazda-Powered Dallara IL-15 stars in qualifying for Mazda Road to Indy headliner.
Mazda’s debut as an engine manufacturer at the hallowed Indianapolis Motor Speedway resulted in a rewriting of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires record book as Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian’s Ethan Ringel snared the pole position for the Freedom 100.
The 20-year-old from Orlando, Fla., shattered the old two-lap qualifying mark of 190.177mph (set by Wade Cunningham in 2009) with a new standard at 197.684mph. Ringel also eclipsed the old single-lap mark (established with the assistance of a draft during the 2011 race by Brandon Wagner at 192.301 mph) with the first of his two laps at 197.866mph.
After average speeds soared to almost 200mph in the draft during practice, headed by Sean Rayhall (8Star Motorsports) at 199.452mph, it was clear the track record would fall during qualifying. Felix Serralles drew first in the order and broke the existing mark with two laps at an average of 195.427mph for Belardi Auto Racing, which has won the past two Freedom 100s with Peter Dempsey in 2013 and Gabby Chaves in 2014.
Next out was Englishman Jack Harvey, whose Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara-Mazda IL-15 has been among the fastest cars all week long. Sure enough, Harvey, who currently lies just six points out of the Indy Lights championship lead, eclipsed Serralles with a pair of laps averaging 197.551mph. Harvey’s effort remained good enough for a position on the outside of the front row for tomorrow afternoon’s race.
The green flag for today’s Freedom 100, part of the #MRTI FreedomFest activities during the lead up to Sunday’s 99th Indianapolis 500, will fly at 12:30 p.m. EDT. The race will be broadcast live on NBCSN. Live timing and commentary will be available on the new Mazda Road to Indy App and at indylights.com.