Abel Squad Earns Two Podiums, Four Top-Sevens in Toronto Debut
Rookie Road to Indy team Abel Motorsports of Louisville, KY showed grit, talent and speed at Honda Indy Toronto weekend, in two Indy Pro 2000 races. Lead driver Jacob Abel overcame two Friday incidents to finish 6thand 7thin the doubleheader, while Championship contender Parker Thompson thrilled fans at his home event with a 3rdand 2nd, to gain significant ground on the points leader.
Thompson, from Red Deer, Alberta in Western Canada, had a large contingent of family and friends on hand to watch. “These are the weekends that lead to a Championship,” commented Thompson. “The weekend didn’t start off the way we wanted it; no one wants to qualify 7thfor their home Grand Prix. You need the full package here and we were missing it by just a little bit. We’re chipping away at it. But in Race 2 we were much better, right there for the win. At Mid-Ohio we need to win. That’s all there is to it.”
The 18-year-old Abel, from Louisville, solidified his case for Rookie of the Year honors in Indy Pro 2000 with his pair of drives over the weekend. “Friday was a really tough day, one of the toughest I’ve had. It started with a mistake I made, crashing on lap 1 of practice, and the crew worked really hard to get the car ready to qualify. Then, we were sitting on pit road ready to go qualify, when an incident on pit lane took us out again and forced us to miss the session.”
“We worked hard again to fix everything and get ready for qualifying 2.
Saturday morning was a new day, we had a really good race, got a good start, and picked up a few positions. It was really our first time on the track, and I ended up with the Hard Charger award. Sunday was the same. I had to start from the back again, but we were able to move up and finish 7th. I learned a lot about this place, which is what we’re here for. Now on to Mid- Ohio. Top fives and podiums there are the goal!”
Team Principal Bill Abel was pleased with the fortitude and pace his group showed in the face of plenty of adversity. “After the rough start we had Friday, the results we delivered this weekend were that much sweeter. For Parker, he did what he needed to do, finishing in front of the guy he’s battling for the Championship. For Jacob, he did a great job….because of the trouble he had on Friday. One incident wasn’t his fault, but he got only 13 laps in at a place he’d never seen before. I never would have predicted he could have finished 6thSaturday, and then driven to 7thSunday. We couldn’t have asked for better results on the weekend. We did our job. I think our opportunities at Mid-Ohio only increase.”
Thompson remains 2nd in the Championship, just 30 points out of the lead, while Abel, who missed the Road America weekend due to another racing commitment, is 10th in series points.
Abel Motorsports resumes the fight for the Indy Pro 2000 title in two weeks at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on Honda Indy 200 weekend. The Series will again contest two rounds on the 2.28 mile permanent road course.