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A Hard Luck Season Opener for Kaminsky in St. Pete

Mar 1, 2022 | News

St. Petersburg, Florida

Things seemed to go from bad to worse for Kaminsky when he took to the 1.8-mile street course in downtown St. Petersburg for the opening rounds of the 2022 Indy Pro 2000 Championship presented by Cooper Tires. With only four sessions on track, including the two races of the weekend, there was little time for drivers to get up to speed and make the most of the limited grip that the dirty street course had to offer.

Kaminsky cut 23 laps in practice, turning his quickest time on lap 23, proving just how much a street course’s level of grip can change over the course of a session. Through practice, Kaminsky’s lap times were good for just 11th overall in the 16 car field. However, with the car in one piece, after 322 turns through the narrow concrete barriers on the Streets of St. Petersburg, qualifying presented an exciting opportunity for improvement.

In a fashion often expected at the unforgiving St. Petersburg circuit, qualifying saw one driver smear the outside barrier in turn 3, causing a mid-session red flag. With this being the only qualifying session on the weekend’s schedule, drivers were desperate for a chance to set their quickest times. For Kaminsky, that chance never came. Organizers were ultimately forced to end the session early. Kaminsky would start Race #1 from P13.

Given his difficult starting position, expectations for Race #1 were modest. Midway through the contest, when Kaminsky had still not made significant progress through the field, the team decided to shift their focus to Race #2. With driver’s race lap times applicable to Race #2 qualifying, Kaminsky abandoned twelfth place in the race order and entered the pits for a set of sticker tires and a chance to better his starting position for the weekend’s second race.

Those efforts initially looked to offer the desired results. Setting a lap time only a tenth of a second off of pole-position, Kaminsky looked to start Race #2 from P3. Unfortunately, the team was found to be in violation of a newly updated regulation, restricting access to the pits late in the race. Their qualifying time was invalidated as a result. Kaminsky would start Race #2 in the last position.

His first-ever Road To Indy start from the back of the grid proved more promising than expected for the early part of Race #2. Avoiding early crashes and debris on the track, he began to move his way up the field. Capitalizing on mid-race restarts, Kaminsky passed multiple cars working upwards into 8th place. With the third-fastest lap of the race, navigating traffic, things were finally looking like they would turn around for Pabst Racing and the #27 Slick Locks entry. Shortly after though, difficulty struck Kaminsky again when the engine of his Indy Pro 2000 race car went into limp mode, forcing his retirement. Later, a failed wheel speed sensor harness was discovered as the reason for the shutdown.

Despite a poor qualifying after a shortened session, an over-looked rule, and a mechanical failure, Kaminsky demonstrated substantial pace when given the opportunity. In Race #1, he posted the third-fastest lap-time versus multiple drivers seeking the pole position time for Race #2. In Race #2, he again posted the third-fastest time, only eight-hundredths slower than the winning car as he carved through the field.

With still fourteen rounds remaining in this 2022 Indy Pro 2000 season, Kaminsky is turning the page and focusing on the positives of his performance in St. Petersburg. Using them to fuel his fire, he will look for better results when the series visits Barber Motorsports Park on April 28.

Photos credit Gavin Baker Photography / Road to Indy

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