Thompson Shines in Chaotic Indy Pro 2000 Weekend at Portland Grand Prix

PORTLAND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, OREGON

With the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 by Cooper Tires championship season nearing its end, Parker Thompson arrived at the Grand Prix of Portland this weekend looking for a fight. Driving with rookie team Abel Motorsports, Thompson has performed admirably all year. Entering the weekend ranked 3rd in the overall standings, Thompson’s hopes for the Indy Pro 2000 championship title were shrinking fast. With two strong performances in races this weekend, he continues to demonstrate that he is one of the top drivers on the Road to Indy series. 

A chaotic start to Race 1 saw a complete re-order of the field after a collision among the front group on the opening lap. Having qualified in fourth position, Thompson found himself in the ninth spot after taking a by-pass route to avoid a collision himself. In one of his best drives of the season, the twenty-one year-old Alberta native worked his way through the field to take the final podium position.

The second race of the weekend saw Thompson and the championship leader heading into the weekend, Rasmus Lindh, go head-to-head for the full duration of the race. The two exchanged positions multiple times early in the contest while running in P3 and P4. Lindh would make the final pass and hold Thompson off for the remainder of the race despite a very narrow gap.

With the final rounds of the championship series taking place later this month at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Thompson remains focused on proving that he and Abel Motorsports are a force to reckon with.

 
Parker Thompson
“We never gave up this weekend and we got rewarded with a podium finish. Any time you get shuffled to the back of the field but still manage a top three, it’s a bonus. We deserved that one though. The team did some great work preparing for the race and keeping things focused when it didn’t go exactly as planned. We are looking forward to the next event, and are excited to end the season on a high note.”

 

NEXT EVENTS

September 20-22 – IP2000 Round 15 & 16 – WeatherTech Laguna Seca, CA
September 27-29 – GT3CAN Round 9 & 10 – Circuit Mont-Tremblant, QC

Thompson Prepared for a Fight After Mid-Pack Finish at Gateway

WORLD WIDE TECHNOLOGY RACEWAY AT GATEWAY – MADISON, ILLINOIS

With two events remaining in the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 by Cooper Tires Championship, Parker Thompson is focused on making a big impact. The Road to Indy veteran started the season in the best possible way, winning the opening two races with rookie team Abel Motorsports. Thompson has since become familiar with adversity. With Abel Motorsports, he has placed on the podium in six of twelve races, but struggles in other races put the team on its back foot entering the Oval Challenge of St. Louis this weekend.  A strong finish was critical to maintaining Thompson’s contention for the overall championship.
 
After a near miss in qualifying, the young Canadian started the race from ninth position. He would work his way up to sixth place before the checkered flag fell, but failed to gain any ground on other top Championship contenders. With four races remaining, and a 64-point deficit to the leader, Lindh, Thompson knows that there is little room for error.

Parker Thompson
“On these oval tracks where there is a short 2-lap qualifying stint, we’ve got a small window to earn a good starting position. Unfortunately, I had a near miss with the wall on one of my laps that cost us a lot of time. After starting near the back of the field, we are satisfied to at least move up to sixth. That said, with two events remaining, you can bet that we are looking for a strong finish to the season. Our team knows that we can run at the front of the field on the road courses. We are not going to let the season end without a big fight.”

INDY PRO 2000 by Cooper Tires Oval Challenge of St. Louis – Round 12

 

NEXT EVENTS

August 30-31 – IP2000 Round 13 & 14 – Portland International Raceway, OR
September 20-22 – IP2000 Round 15 & 16 – WeatherTech Laguna Seca, CA
September 27-29 – GT3CAN Round 9 & 10 – Circuit Mont-Tremblant, QC

Indy Pro 2000 Weekend at Mid-Ohio Leaves Thompson Looking For More

MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE – LEXINGTON, OHIO

Involved in a tight battle for the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 Championship presented by Cooper Tires, Abel Motorsports driver Parker Thompson entered Rounds 10 & 11 of the series this weekend at Mid-Ohio ranked second in the overall standings. With only 5 points separating three drivers for that second-place position, every point earned in the two-race event would play a significant role in the standings going forward. After a great qualifying performance, Thompson was struck by misfortune during race action. A mechanical issue forced his retirement early in Race 1. A fourth-place finish in Race 2 saw him lose further ground to Championship contenders Lindh and Kirkwood.

Qualifying in third position for Race 1, Thompson made an early move into second place before a transmission shift actuator failure forced his retirement. With multiple incidents on track in the opening laps, Thompson would register an 11th place finish in the fourteen-car field.

After reparations were made for Race 2 on Sunday, Thompson was again able to improve on his third-place qualifying position and take second early in the race. He would comfortably hold the position until a full course yellow brought the field together on lap twenty. With only five laps remaining Thompson would lose two positions on the restart, and finish in fourth.

Parker Thompson
“This was definitely not the weekend that we were looking to have. We’ve experienced a range of highs and lows in this Indy Pro 2000 season, but I’m proud to have the great crew with Abel Motorsports by my side. We’ve had such a dependable car all year. The shift actuator failure that we experienced this weekend feels like one of those incidents of bad luck that happens sometimes in racing. The team had no issues getting the car back together for Race 2 today. We had a great start, and I felt like we had the pace to challenge for the lead early on. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the jump I needed during a re-start late in the race. The guys behind me were ready to pounce. This one hurts. We’ll look to do better in Round 12 next month at Gateway.”

 

NEXT EVENTS

AUG. 02 – 04, 2019 – GT3 Cup Canada – Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI
AUG. 09 – 11, 2019 – CTCC – GP3R, Trois Rivieres, QC

Alberta Native Makes a Big Splash to Start the 2019 Road to Indy Race Season

ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – The 2019 NTT IndyCar season began this weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Alberta native Parker Thompson was there to race in the Indy Pro 2000 category. A feeder series for the top-level IndyCar championship, Indy Pro 2000 is contested by young professional racers from all over the globe. Parker Thompson dominated the weekend. The Red Deer, Alberta native qualified on pole position for both Indy Pro 2000 races, set a new track record, and converted his starts from the lead position into victories for both races. With that he has established a big lead in the championship standings with Sweden’s Rasmus Lindh, and Singapore’s Danial Frost in second and third positions behind him.

Twenty-one-year-old Thompson is an established racer who has had the attention of the racing community since childhood. At age thirteen, he was ranked 3rdon the globe in Rotax Max karts. 2017 saw him dominate the Canadian F1600 Super Series Championship. The Road to Indy has been Thompson’s most recent conquest. Having twice finished second in the season championship, he is still seeking an overall title win. Double victories in St. Petersburg indicate that 2019 could be Thompson’s best season yet. Uncertainties off the track though, mean that his focus is not solely on driving.

In St. Petersburg, Thompson joined Kentucky based Abel Motorsports as their team took on the Indy Pro 2000 series for the first time. Thompson did so with a single-race contract which leaned on his experience in the series to help the Abel Motorsports team, and young lead driver Jacob Abel, adapt their experience in other series, to Indy Pro 2000. The partnership worked. Twin pole positions, twin victories, and a new track record mark a monumental achievement for a rookie team in the series. With such a strong performance, Thompson demonstrated that his skill and understanding of the car and series are second to none. A full season commitment, however, will require extended sponsorship support.

With the next event in the Indy Pro 2000 Championship occurring May 9th to 11th in Indianapolis, Indiana, Thompson has nearly two months to solidify the partnerships that will allow him to continue his pursuit of a championship title in 2019, and set the stage for a rise into IndyCar.

IndyCar is the end goal. I’ve had my sights on it ever since I started racing cars. Many of my experiences suggest that I already have the skills to pilot the big cars, but auto racing is often about more than performance behind the wheel. At every level, it is a team sport that requires involvement from a big group of people both on and off the track. For now my focus is set on the second stop of the Indy Pro 2000 series. I had a great weekend in St. Petersburg with Abel Motorsports, and I’d love the opportunity to repeat that in Indianapolis this May.” – Parker Thompson

THOMPSON AND ABEL MOTORSPORTS SWEEP ST. PETE WEEKEND

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Parker Thompson and Abel Motorsports ensured a virtually perfect commencement to their fresh partnership as the gifted Canadian led from start to finish in today’s Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Allied Building Products.

Thompson, who celebrated his 21st birthday just one week ago, backed up his victory in yesterday’s opening round of the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by posting the fastest time in qualifying earlier this morning. The native of Red Deer, Alb., Canada, then catapulted immediately into a lead he never looked likely to relinquish.

Kyle Kirkwood, from Jupiter, Fla., who won last year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, the first step on the unique Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel development ladder, bounced back from a disappointing result on Friday to finish second for RP Motorsport USA. Danial Frost, from Singapore, overcame a two-position grid penalty to complete the podium for Exclusive Autosport.

After being jumped on the start yesterday, Thompson this time made an exemplary getaway to lead outside front row qualifier Kirkwood into Turn One on the first of 30 laps. Behind, Frost made amends for being assessed a two-grid-positions penalty this morning after failing to acknowledge the checkered flag at the end of qualifying by vaulting from sixth on the grid to third ahead of Juncos Racing teammates Sting Ray Robb, from Payette, Idaho, and Rasmus Lindh, from Gothenburg, Sweden. Moises de la Vara, from Guadalajara, Mexico slotted into sixth for DEForce Racing ahead of Los Angeles, Calif.-based Russian Nikita Lastochkin (Exclusive Autosport).

Thompson turned a string of quick laps in the early stages to extend his advantage over Kirkwood to a hair under two seconds at the end of Lap Eight. The margin grew as high as three seconds with two-thirds of the race completed, whereupon Kirkwood found some extra pace and whittled the deficit to just 1.4334 seconds at the checkered flag. Kirkwood also “stole” an additional championship point from under Thompson’s nose by posting a new fastest race lap on the 29th and penultimate lap.

After picking up Abel Motorsports’ second PFC Award of the weekend for the winning car owner, Thompson holds an early 19-point lead, 64-45 over Lindh in the quest for a scholarship valued at nearly $600,000 to graduate into Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the top step of the Road to Indy, in 2020. Up next are two more races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on May 10-11.

It is unbelievable to sweep the weekend. All the credit goes to Abel Motorsports – coming for a brand-new team on the Road to Indy, racing in a completely new category, to take both wins, that is amazing. I can’t thank them enough for this opportunity. We went into St. Pete not thinking anything past this weekend, so hopefully you’ll see more of us this season.

 

The next races of the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 season take place on May 10th & 11th at the Indianapolis road course. 

For more information on schedule and standings visit: https://promazda.com/