Panther Racing's Dillon Battistini won the Firestone Indy Lights Jen-Weld 100-mile race at Iowa Speedway on Saturday (June 21st) and with the victory reclaimed the lead in the championship points chase toward the Firestone Firehawk...
Panther Racing's Dillon Battistini won the Firestone Indy Lights Jen-Weld 100-mile race at Iowa Speedway on Saturday (June 21st) and with the victory reclaimed the lead in the championship points chase toward the Firestone Firehawk Cup.
Battistini passed pole-sitter Arie Luyendyk on the 102nd of 115 laps over the seven-eighths mile oval in tiny Newton, Iowa (forty miles east of Des Moines) upsetting the AFS Andretti Green driver's dominant two-day run of practice and qualification efforts that clearly had him the best of the twenty-two car field.
"I'm just amazed," said Battistini of his good fortune when Luyendyk was held up by lapped traffic approaching the last laps of the race. "Our cars were very close (in performance) and I took advantage of an opportunity."
Luyendyk surrendered his 101-lap lead from pole when lapped traffic failed to yield ahead of him, allowing Battistini to gain momentum and pass the leader.
A subsequent accident and long yellow flag period denied Arie Jr an opportunity to retake the point in what was probably the superior car.
Sam Schmidt Motorsports Ana Beatriz finished third, overcoming a blocking penalty to record her second podium of the 2008 season.
The win was Battistini's third in seven rounds of Firestone Indy Lights racing and boosted his championship points total to 242, now at twenty-seven to the better of second-place and pre-season favorite Richard Antinucci (who finished ninth in the race).
The Indy Lights series returns to the track in two weeks for a July 5th single-day double header at Watkins Glen in upstate New York. Several teams have private testing scheduled for the historic and beautiful Glen on Wednesday of the coming week.