Iowa: Sam Schmidt Motorsports race notes

SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS SWEEPS PODIUM IN IOWA; FOUR FINISH IN TOP-FIVE NEWTON, Iowa. -- Ana Beatriz lead a 1-2-3 Sam Schmidt Motorsports sweep of the podium in the Miller Lite 100 at the Iowa Speedway on Saturday night. In the longest day of...

SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS SWEEPS PODIUM IN IOWA; FOUR FINISH IN TOP-FIVE

NEWTON, Iowa. -- Ana Beatriz lead a 1-2-3 Sam Schmidt Motorsports sweep of the podium in the Miller Lite 100 at the Iowa Speedway on Saturday night.

In the longest day of the year, Beatriz led teammates Wade Cunningham and James Hinchcliffe across the line. Fourth driver, Gustavo Yacaman, brought his car home in fifth. Drivers started their day off with a 7:45 a.m. drivers meeting, followed by two practice sessions, qualifying, another drivers meeting, a weather delay, and finally, the 115-lap race in the evening.

The television broadcast of the Miller Lite 100 airs on Monday, June 22nd, at 4 p.m. EDT on VERSUS.

Ana Beatriz rebounds from Indy crash and missed event at Milwaukee to win second career win.

Ana Beatriz had to over-come a hard crash at Indianapolis just a few weeks ago in the Freedom 100, leaving a scar on her chin. Then, she was forced to miss the next round at Milwaukee due to circumstances out of her control. Driving a brand new car this weekend, she started the first practice session with the same engine from the huge wreck at Indianapolis, only to find that the engine suffered damage and had to be replaced. She had to miss nearly the entire first practice session. With all of that against her, she still managed to move through the field from her sixth starting position tonight to earn her second-career win in Firestone Indy Lights. Still the only female to win in the series, she's especially appreciate of this win given the adversity she has faced recently.

Wade Cunningham leads most laps in the race and advances again in the points standings.

After just narrowly missing the pole position in the afternoon, Wade Cunningham took the lead of the Miller Lite 100 on Lap 4. He went on to lead a total of 103 laps in the 115-lap event. Late in the race, Sebastian Saavedra, who was around 20 laps down, held up Cunningham while leading, giving Beatriz the opportunity to squeeze by. With the momentum lost, nothing could be done to chase her back down. Though the end result was severely disappointing for Cunningham, on a positive note, he moved up to third place in the points standings, just 22 points out of the lead.

James Hinchcliffe scores best oval finish of the year; top rookie in Iowa.

After scoring his best oval finish of seventh in Milwaukee, James Hinchcliffe improved upon his best oval effort with tonight's third-place result. Besides his career-best day, he was also the top-finishing rookie. He too moved up in the points standings into fifth-place, just 36 points out of the lead.

Gustavo Yacaman, youngest series driver, earns second straight top-five finish.

Gustavo Yacaman surprised the Firestone Indy Lights field by running in the top-three for most of the race in Milwaukee, and he backed that performance up tonight by finishing in the top-five for the second straight race in a row. Starting from 11th, he did it the hard way by falling back to the tail end of the field early on in the race and fighting tooth and nail to claw his way back into the top-five late in the race. The youngest driver in the series proved once again that his driving ability exceeds his 18-years of age. He, like the rest, looks to carry tonight's momentum to the next round of the championship.

DRIVER NOTES & QUOTES

#7 HINCHTOWN.com/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver James Hinchcliffe

On qualifying: "Yeah, it wasn't bad. We got up to speed pretty quick, but a little bit of understeer coming off two and four made the lap a little bit longer. It's really tight at the top, so we're pretty happy with our position. It was nearly one spot lower there, but Davison helped me out a little bit. Glad he's alright though."

On race: "What a night. First of all, with the delays it was tough. Everyone was in the wrong frame of mind heading into tonight and it was tough to stay focused. We had a pretty good car at the start, running fourth there behind Daniel (Herrington) and then just sort of started losing it when I got side-by-side in traffic. I did a lot of work in the cockpit with the weightjacker and front bars trying to get it back. Slowly the car started coming back to us, then it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time. It's tough to stay out of trouble at a short track like Iowa. I had contact with Daniel at one point and nearly took out both of my teammates at one point. There was some great wheel-to-wheel racing. I'm glad that the weather held off and congratulations to Sam Schmidt Motorsports on the great result this evening. It was a great team effort all around."

#11 LUCAS OIL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Wade Cunningham

On qualifying: "The track conditions had improved since the morning. The car felt really good and we had a lot of mechanical grip which allowed us to take some of the aero and the drag off the car. So, that's where the speeds came from."

On race: "Sebastien Saavedra is 25 laps down, running flat out because he has good tires. The team said, 'Hey, just let him go; he's just going to keep driving forward.' I was just saving my tires, so I just let him go. The minute he got in front of me, he slowed down half-a-second a lap because he knows I'm fighting him for the championship and he was out of the race. It's probably the most unsportsmanlike thing I've ever seen on the racetrack, apart from shunting someone into a wall. This is a hollow second-place, but there's nothing I can do but take the points and move on."

#20 HEALTHY CHOICE/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Ana Beatriz

On qualifying: "I completely lost the first session because of the engine. It's the same one from Indianapolis. I didn't like the idea of running this engine because the impact we had at Indy was really big. The engine guys promised us that it had cleared every test and that it was fine, but it wasn't. We had to change it, and then we had to work on the car in the second session. That wasn't enough for us. Good thing my teammates helped us a lot today. We should be a little bit faster, of course, but it's a great improvement so far."

On race: "I was thinking and wanting to finish the race today. We qualified sixth, but it was great at the start of the race and it was very competitive. I was fortunate to find the right time to pass Wade (Cunningham). There was a lot of lapped cars out there when that happened. It was all about momentum. Wow, I can't believe I got first and Sam Schmidt got a 1-2-3. It is unbelievable. At the finish, I was thinking it was just unbelievable. I nearly crashed there at the end right there around the flipped car. This team deserves it. I really want to celebrate with them tonight. The last couple of weeks have been tough missing out on sponsorship and then finding a way to come back."

#44 CREPES & WAFFLES/TUVACOL/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Gustavo Yacaman

On qualifying: "After the spin in the first session we went towards a safe car, and by the time qualifying came around, the track had picked up a lot of rubber. It was pretty easy to drive. There was a lot of push and it was a safe car."

On race: "I have to say congratulations to the whole Sam Schmidt Motorsports team for a great result tonight. Having four cars in the top-five is unbelievable, especially with how competitive Firestone Indy Lights is. If I have one regret tonight, it's that I couldn't be on the podium, but I couldn't be happier for my teammates. It was a great result for everyone involved, and hopefully we can get a few more results like these -- except me on the podium next time."

Team Owner, Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Sam Schmidt

"I think that is our first 1-2-3. It is a great effort for the team. It was a brand new car they had to build up the last few weeks for Bia. This made up for all those hours. I'm a bit speechless at the moment. As competitive as this series has become year after year, having a result like this has to be savored. I wish every race could be like this!"

-credit: ssm

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Wade Cunningham , James Hinchcliffe , Ana Beatriz , Gustavo Yacaman