It was the first ever trip to the Detroit Grand Prix and the Belle Isle circuit for Nikita Lastochkin, and he soaked it up by not putting a wheel wrong all weekend long. Earning two top-ten results and improvement in race pace, the Russian born driver completed his seventh and eighth events of the season as he shifts his focus to the next event next weekend at Road America.
Rolling off the trailer, Lastochkin was able to turn the ninth quickest lap time in the one and only practice session. Abbreviated due to an on-track incident by a fellow competitor, the driver of the #59 HMD Motorsports entry was pleased with his first ever on track session at the Belle Isle Circuit.
Qualifying one would take place later that afternoon and would set the grid for Saturday’s round seven, and Lastochkin placed his RM branded machine in the tenth position. Returning to the track on Saturday morning for qualifying two, Lastochkin remained consistent with another tenth place result to line up on the outside of row five for round eight.
Race one on Saturday afternoon ran clean and green with Lastochkin advancing forward to run eighth on occasion and eventually finishing in the ninth position, his second career best result in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.
“Definitely looking for more tomorrow,” explained Lastochkin. “It was good to keep all four corners on the car and gain experience on this challenging and bumpy circuit.”
Sunday would see one and only on track session as round eight took the green at 10:35am just prior to the NTT IndyCar Series race. Rolling off the grid in P10, Lastochkin was able to add twelve more points to his championship total with his second ninth place finish of the weekend. Faster than the drivers that finished in seventh and eighth, Lastochkin recovered from what he thought was a puncture and a drop to P12 in the middle of the race to rebound to cross the stripe in ninth.
Lastochkin continued, “Race two was much better for me. I was consistently in the mix battling with the group that was running sixth through tenth. A slight issue where I thought I had a puncture due to loss of grip set me back but rebounding to advance back froward was a good way to end the weekend. Off to Wisconsin next weekend.”
With no time off until the next event, Lastochkin will travel back to California for a brief two days at home before back to Road America next weekend. With a Promoters Test Day on Thursday, official action will begin on Friday with rounds nine and ten taking place Saturday and Sunday.
To stay up to date with Nikita Lastochkin, please follow him on his social media channels: Twitter (NikitaGoesRacin), Facebook and Instagram (NikitaGoesRacing). Please also be sure to also follow HMD Motorsports on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by searching @HMDMotorsports or visit HMDMotorsports.com.
Photos: Road to Indy