Long Beach: Matt Lee race notes

Lee Finishes 11th at Long Beach SYOSSET, N.Y., April 19 - With two races down and 10 to go, Matt Lee is sixth in the rookie standings and 12th in the overall Champ Car Atlantic championship after he started 12th and finished 11th on Sunday in...

Lee Finishes 11th at Long Beach

SYOSSET, N.Y., April 19 - With two races down and 10 to go, Matt Lee is sixth in the rookie standings and 12th in the overall Champ Car Atlantic championship after he started 12th and finished 11th on Sunday in Long Beach, Calif.

The 17-year-old driver from Syosset, N.Y. will try to gain more valuable points this coming Sunday when the series travels to Houston, Texas for the third race in as many weeks.

Raphael Matos has been the man to beat so far this year, but the competition is so close that it wouldn't take much for Lee to be battling for his first series podium. Matos set a new track record in qualifying at Long Beach, but Lee's fastest lap in the qualifying session took only 0.959 of a second longer. Red flags in that session slowed the pace, or Lee might have gone even faster with his yellow Integrated Structures No. 44 fielded by Conquest Racing.

Sunday's race at Long Beach was much cleaner than the season opener at Las Vegas, but there were still three full-course cautions for 10 of the 31 laps run in the 50-minute race. Luckily Lee wasn't involved in any of the incidents, but it was very hard to pass on the 1.968-mile street course. Indeed, the top six places didn't change at all throughout the race.

Lee ran in 12th for the first three laps and then moved up to 11th when Junior Strous fell back. Lee then had his hands full trying to hold off Ryan Lewis, who eventually wiggled by on lap seven, pushing Lee back to 12th. He ran in 12th, sandwiched between Justin Sofio and either Tom Sutherland or Adrian Carrio, for most of the remainder of the race. He regained 11th on lap 22 when Lewis was involved in an incident and dropped out, and then finished in that position nine laps later. Lee was gaining on Sofio at the end, and would have been in the top 10 had he been able to go just .572 of a second faster.

Sunday's race at Houston is called the Fast Trac 100. It will be on another street course, this time the 1.69-mile street circuit at JAGFlo Speedway at Reliant Park.

-credit: mlm

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Ryan Lewis , Justin Sofio , Junior Strous , Tom Sutherland , Matt Lee
Teams Conquest Racing