Birmingham: Series race report

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Sunday, April 11, 2010 - Rookie J.K. Vernay picked up a $5,000 bonus from Firestone for winning two Firestone Indy Lights races in a row winning the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Vernay, starting from the pole in the No. 7 Lucas...

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Sunday, April 11, 2010 - Rookie J.K. Vernay picked up a $5,000 bonus from Firestone for winning two Firestone Indy Lights races in a row winning the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

Vernay, starting from the pole in the No. 7 Lucas Slick Mist/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, held off Charlie Kimball by 1.1542 seconds to win the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on the 2.38-mile Barber Motorsports Park.

Vernay, who won the season opener on the temporary St. Petersburg street circuit two weeks earlier, joined Junior Strous (2009) in earning the bonus. He takes a 33-point lead over Kimball in the Firestone Indy Lights championship standings heading to Long Beach. Kimball, driving the No. 26 Levemir FlexPen car for AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport, recorded a career best finish.

***

FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA POST-RACE NOTES:

* Rookie J.K. Vernay won his second-consecutive Firestone Indy Lights race in the Grand Prix of Alabama. He also won March 28 at St. Petersburg.

* J.K. Vernay is the fourth driver to win the first two races of a Firestone Indy Lights season, joining Mark Taylor (2003), Alex Lloyd (2007) and Junior Strous (2009).

* Vernay is the fourth driver to win his first two Firestone Indy Lights races joining Mark Taylor (2003), Raphael Matos (2006) and Junior Strous (2009) in accomplishing the feat.

* Charlie Kimball finished second, his first podium finish in Firestone Indy Lights and the best finish of his career. His previous best finish was fourth at Watkins Glen in 2009.

* Sebastian Saavedra finished third, his best finish this season, and the eighth podium finish of his Firestone Indy Lights career.

* Martin Plowman finished fourth - his career-best finish. His previous best finish was fifth at Mid-Ohio and Kansas in 2009.

* Dan Clarke finished seventh in his first Firestone Indy Lights race, while Nic LeDuc finished 11th in his series debut.

FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA POST-RACE NOTES:

J.K. VERNAY (No. 7 Lucas Slick Mist/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, winner Grand Prix of Alabama): "I was trying to take care of my tires early in the race and at the end, I was able to push and the car was still very good at the end of the race. Everybody did a great job and I'm very happy.

(About changes between warmup and the race) "We tried some small changes for the race. It was warmer than this morning. We had to take care of the tires, the engine and the chassis. My engineer did a great job with the setup and the crew did a great job. I couldn't be happier."

(About the start of the race): "(Charlie Kimball) was in front before the start line and that's why he let me overtake him on the second lap Charlie was really fair and it was very good race."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 26 Levemir FlexPen, finished second): "I'm happy points wise. Points mean prizes at the end of the year and the NO. 26 Levemir FlexPen car ran great. It bodes well for next week at Long Beach.

(About the start of the race): "I came off the brakes going full throttle and it came out of the corner as I expected it to. When (Vernay) went, I don't know if he lifted or dragged the brake, but he fell behind pretty early. I can see why (the officials) up top would say that, but it was a good, clean start. I will have to talk to the officials and see what they saw up top."

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 29 William Rast/Bryan Herta Autosport, finished third): "I'm very happy for the team. Bryan Herta Autosport deserved those points. I think we came here very conservative and tried to do our best. We had a good car all weekend long. I just wanted to finish the race, and we did. I'm very happy. Congrats to the other guys on the podium. We'll just have to get them at Long Beach."

***

The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues April 18 with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on the streets of Long Beach, Calif. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at :3:30 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Grand Prix of Long Beach April 18 on the streets of Long Beach, Calif.. The race will air live on indycar.com.

-source: irl

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Mark Taylor , Bryan Herta , Sam Schmidt , Charlie Kimball , Alex Lloyd , Junior Strous , Sebastian Saavedra , Martin Plowman , Dan Clarke
Teams Andretti Autosport , Bryan Herta Autosport