Dillon Battistini Wins the Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100
Panther teammate Brent Sherman Comes in 16th
Panther Racing driver Dillon Battistini fought of several strong challengers and took the checkered flag at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, winning the Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100.
Battistini started on the pole, but battled several drivers for the lead throughout the race, leading 38 of the 40 laps. Panther teammate Brent Sherman, who struggled with gearing issues, finished the day in 16th place.
Battistini, the driver of the No. 15 Alexp machine, was thrilled to put the car in victory lane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The victory is Dillon's second in just five career Indy Lights races.
Battistini fought off several challenges during the race, one coming in turn three after losing the lead to Wade Cunningham. The Panther driver lost the lead in turn one, but quickly reclaimed it while holding off the third place car of James Davison.
After taking the white flag, Battistini held off a furious charge from driver Richard Antinucci, who climbed to the high side, but was unable to overtake Battistini's No. 15 car.
Sherman, whose No. 16 Delphi National Guard car started seventh, labored throughout the day with his racecar, but was happy for his teammate.
The victory moves Battistini to second in the points three back of Antinucci, while Sherman falls to eighth. The win was Panther's 11th in the series, and its second at Indianapolis. The teams first win at Indy came on the road course during the first race of the Liberty Challenge last season with Hideki Mutoh.
The Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 will air Monday on the ESPN family of networks. The Firestone Indy Lights drivers will be in action next Sunday in Milwaukee for the Milwaukee 100 at the famed Milwaukee Mile.
"It's an overwhelming feeling to win (at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway). It's exciting to win the most prestigious race on the Indy Lights schedule. It's a huge occasion. I'm really happy and grateful to all the people that have helped me. The eleven car (of Davison) was catching up by using the tow from my car. My thought at the time was that attacking was the best forward defense. I had to really concentrate not to leave any space. I knew that he would have something up his sleeve."
"It was a really tough day for the No. 16 Delphi National guard car. We missed on the setup and the gearing. I wish that we could have given a better showing to all the people who came to watch. Congratulations to Dillon though. We have some things to work on though, and hopefully we can get on the same page as my teammate."