Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports (GRG w/ HMD) returned to the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires paddock this past weekend for the season opening round in St. Petersburg, Florida. Returning for the second season with Benjamin Pedersen in the #24 entry, GRG w/ HMD was looking to continue the positive momentum that Pedersen carried through the end of the previous season.
Reacquired by INDYCAR this season, the Indy Lights Championship is now structured to mimic the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with single-race weekends. Beginning on Friday, the drivers had their first practice through the narrow 14-turn street circuit before turning around that afternoon for qualifying followed by a final practice in the early evening. Pedersen, who finished towards the back of the pack in 2021, showed improvement from the event one year ago, finishing sixth in the first practice session and fourth in both qualifying and final practice.
Breaking away from a traditional weekend format, the Indy Lights drivers had a rest day on Saturday with no on-track sessions. However, for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic, drivers returned to interactive fan events, including autograph sessions, Fan Fest, and driver Q&As on Saturday afternoon.
During the race on Sunday, after starting from fourth, Pedersen and his HMD Motorsports teammate, Linus Lundqvist, battled it out for the fourth position. After a full-course caution on lap thirteen, Pedersen moved up into third. After fighting it out for the next 24 laps and maintaining his third-place position, Christian Rasmussen retired from the race with less than two laps remaining, moving Pedersen up into second to claim his first podium finish of the 2022 season.
“I’m so happy to start the season strong with a P2 finish here at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg,” expressed Benjamin Pedersen. “I’m feeling very confident with our program, and we are working extremely hard to keep pushing ourselves every session and race weekend!”
The Indy Lights Championship now has the next eight weeks off before their next race weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, April 29 -May 1. Staying active during the break, the team has two test dates planned at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Barber Motorsports Park.
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Photo Credit: INDYCAR