Less than 20 minutes after the IZOD Indy Car Series’ top qualifiers told the media that the Belle Isle street circuit was nearly impossible to pass on, Gustavo Yacaman carved his way through the field with a handful of masterful passes to claim his first Indy Lights victory of the 2012 season.
Yacaman came from fourth on a Lap 21 restart and needed just five laps to make his way around Oliver Webb and into the lead. As soon as the Team Moore Racing machine got to the front, Yacaman eased away from Carlos Munoz before having to fight off a furious last-lap charge from the Andretti Autosport driver. Munoz erased a two-second deficit on the last lap and came within a car length of Yacaman in the last lap, before settling for second.
Munoz himself followed Yacaman’s lead, coming from the bottom half of the top ten to finish second. Both drivers made strong passes of the early frontrunners to pick their way to the top, Yacaman getting around Victor Carbone, Tristan Vautier and then Webb to take the lead.
"We crashed in qualifying and didn’t get the qualifying position we would have liked," Yacaman said. "We built this car back together and my guys did an amazing job getting everything just perfect. As soon as the fuel load started going down, it was just faster and faster and faster. I just want to thank my team. This one is for them."
The mid-race restart that set the stage for Yacaman’s charge came as a result of a failed passing attempt by Peter Demspey on the 14th of the day’s 45 laps. Dempsey, who had charged into third with an eye on the race lead, made a move to the inside of Carbone on the high-speed backstraight – but made wheel-to-wheel contact with his left front tire to Carbone’s right rear, launching Dempsey into the wall. Dempsey suffered hard contact but climbed out of the car unharmed.
Polesitter Webb came home in third while Carbone and Vautier rounded out the top five. Series points leader Esteban Guerreri finished sixth, allowing both Yacaman and Munoz to halve what had been a 60-point deficit to the series leader when the day started. Guerrieri, the Firestone Freedom 100 winner, leads the series by 15 points over Vautier, who gave up five championship points for failure to follow rules as instructed in the race day drivers meeting at Indianapolis.