Swan-RJB Scores Second Win of the Season at Indy
 May 15, 2018| 
  • Team News
Baron Indy USF Recap 2018

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Swan-RJB Motorsports continued its winning ways in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, scoring a victory at the Royal Purple Grand Prix of Indianapolis this past weekend. French driver Alex Baron steered his Metalloid-sponsored #19 USF-17 to the win in the opening round of the doubleheader held on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. 

The Frenchman returned to the 2.439-mile, 14-turn layout on Saturday morning for Race 2 and recovered after an early incident to post a strong second place finish, compiling the points necessary to move to second in the championship standings. Swan-RJB fielded a second car in Indy for Irish Formula Ford driver James Roe Jr., and the 18-year-old was extremely impressive, finishing fifth in the second race on Sunday in his debut weekend.

“I can’t say enough about the effort put in by every member of team at Swan-RJB,” offered Mirl Swan, Team Principal and Lead Engineer. “The talent level in the series of both drivers and teams is second to none. So for us to have weekend like we did here in Indy, in our second race as a team, is truly rewarding. We started the event with Alex still enroute to the track, and he missed the first test session. For James, it was his first event in the series. To finish with a first and a 12th in Race 1 and then a second and fifth in Race 2 was incredible! James improved the entire weekend. He absorbed every bit of information get could get about the cars and the racing, and just got better and better. Alex’s move to take the lead in Race 1 had everyone holding their breath. And, even though he was punted to the rear of the field in Race 2, his recovery included a series of fastest laps in traffic during the race. Overtaking 2-3 cars in one move, multiple times, was amazing to witness. It was one of the most impressive drives I’ve ever seen.”

After qualifying second for Race 1, Baron dropped to third at the start of the 15-lap opening race, which was held on Friday afternoon, but an early full-course yellow gave him the opportunity to attack on the restart.  Alex delivered a tremendous move at the green flag, making it three-wide entering the braking zone for the right-hander, snatching the lead away from Kyle Kirkwood as he swept from left to right. Baron then defended on the second restart of the race, but Kirkwood came back to re-take the lead in turn one, only to see Baron drive around of the outside of him in turn 7 just six corner later.  Alex then held off all challengers to earn a 0.4434-second victory.

The storyline for Baron was flipped upside down at the start of Race 2 on Saturday morning, as the French driver was tagged by Jamie Caroline in turn 7 on lap three, spinning him around and off the racing surface. Baron returned to the track at the tail of the field, and then used the race’s three caution periods to claw his way back to the front, eventually completing the startling recovery to take second behind Kirkwood. Alex had powered back up to ninth by the first full course yellow and was quickly into the lead fight, stealing second away from Rasmus Lindh on the final one-lap dash following the final caution of the race.

Likewise, Roe turned in a stellar debut weekend, avoiding all of the chaos to complete every lap while delivering impressive results.  James qualified 15th for Race 1 in his first USF2000 qualifying session and stayed out of trouble while racing hard, bringing home a respectable 12th in the opening event of the weekend. Roe’s run in Race 2 was even more impressive, as he went on the offensive from the green flag and found himself in an intense eight-car battle for second behind the leader. At the lap 10 caution that came out for contact that left Kaylen Frederick in the turn 4 gravel trap, Roe has advanced to fourth.  Only the return of his teammate Baron after his early-race contact moved him down to fifth at the checkered, completing a tremendous weekend for the Irishman.

Swan-RJB is now preparing to head for the USF2000 program’s only oval race of the year, which will take place at Lucas Oil Raceway just west of Indianapolis on the night of Friday, May 24.  The Carb Night Classic will feature a 75-lap race for the USF2000 drivers on the track’s banked 5/8-mile oval.  The team will complete an oval test with Baron ahead of the event with the focus on turning in a strong run to maintain their contention for the 2018 series championship.  The team’s second car proved itself with James Roe Jr. on the IMS road course, and any driver interested in competing with the team in this car should contact Mirl Swan directly at (816) 853-0145.

SWAN-RJB MOTORSPORTS – DRIVER RESULTS AND QUOTES

USF2000 – ROUNDS 3/4 – MAY 10-12, 2018

ROYAL PURPLE GRAND PRIX OF INDIANAPOLIS – INDIANAPOLIS, IN

ALEX BARON - #19

Qualifying 1: 2nd – 1:24.7834

Qualifying 2: 3rd – 1:25.4741

Race 1: Start – 2nd / Finish – 1st   

Race 2: Start – 3rd / Finish – 2nd  

Driver Quote: “It’s been quite an eventful week, considering I wasn’t expecting to make this race. Wednesday afternoon I left the embassy in Paris with my visa to take a flight to Indy and by Thursday morning, the team had everything arranged for me to race in the second test, which speaks to their preparation and dedication.  Being able to finish first again was incredible. It was a great reward for all the efforts made to get me in the car. Race 2 was crazy. An incident on lap 1 caused by another driver forced me to start from the back. I had to push hard and seize every overtaking opportunity I could get. It’s a bittersweet result bearing in mind we could have had the win if we hadn’t finished in a caution. Nevertheless, I hope people watching the race enjoyed themselves as much as I did! I can’t thank Swan-RJB and Metalloid enough for everything they have done to put together an amazing team and car. It was awesome to share the top-five with James Roe, who shows great potential for upcoming events. I am now looking forward to driving on the oval again; we have the tools and the right people to get the results we deserve.”

JAMES ROE JR. - #20

Qualifying 1: 15th – 1:25.7131

Qualifying 2: 10th – 1:25:8057

Race 1: Start – 15th / Finish – 12th  

Race 2: Start – 10th / Finish – 5th

Driver Quote: “Overall, it was a positive weekend. I'm happy to come away with a top-five finish in what is definitely the most competitive series I have ever competed in! It was great to have such a quick teammate as Alex. I really know what I have to work on now, which is most important to me. I was to offer a huge thanks to Mirl Swan and Fred Edwards for having me! They really run an impressive operation."

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