Hampton runs strong before engine fails at Chicago; now it's on to Texas for Saturday's season finale. INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 9 - Ryan Hampton didn't have the finish he'd hoped to have Sunday in the Infiniti Pro Series race at Chicagoland Speedway...
Hampton runs strong before engine fails at Chicago; now it's on to Texas for Saturday's season finale.
INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 9 - Ryan Hampton didn't have the finish he'd hoped to have Sunday in the Infiniti Pro Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., but he and everyone else on the Conti/Genoa/Frost Racing team were heartened by the fact that he advanced to fifth place after starting 12th before his car's engine expired.
The 14th-place finish was a far cry from the victory Hampton posted at Gateway International Raceway, which will be broadcast at 6 p.m. ET Sept. 19 on ESPN2, but considering that the team faced engine problems before the car was even rolled off the transporter, it accomplished quite a bit at Chicagoland last weekend.
Now Hampton, Dave Conti, Angelo Ferro, Garlon Frost, Steve Fried and other members of the team will try to duplicate their results at Gateway this coming weekend at Texas Motor Speedway for Saturday's BG Products 100. Two practice sessions are scheduled for 12:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. EDT this Friday prior to qualifying at 6 p.m. EDT Friday night and the race itself on Saturday at 3 p.m. local time.
Yesterday's Chicagoland race, which was won by Aaron Fike by just 0.0755 of a second over Arie Luyendyk Jr., will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. EDT on Sept. 26, with the Texas season finale on the same network at the same time on Sept. 30.
"Even though we won at Gateway, the engine was failing even as I was taking the checkered flag," Hampton said. "After St. Louis we got a new engine and put it in, but the engine just had no power in qualifying at Chicago this weekend," Hampton said. "We trimmed the car out as much as we possibly could for qualifying. It was scary to drive, but we still only qualified 12th out of 14. We all knew we had an uphill battle for the race.
"I tried to drive smart and use the draft as much as I could, and we were able to move up once the race started," Hampton continued. "I worked with everybody I could, but 10 laps into the race the oil pressure was already 10 pounds lower. When it got to about 35 pounds lower than it should be I radioed in that I don't think the thing is going to make it, and then all of a sudden the engine just locked up and I slid to a stop.
"It was an exciting race though, and at one point I was working with Aaron Fike, who eventually won," Hampton said. "It was fun moving up from 12th to fifth and I was still going forward when it blew, but it's frustrating because we can't get an engine that lasts for more than 160 miles. If the engine would have held up, we would have had a top-three finish. But considering the incredible odds we faced from the very beginning, the team's performance this weekend was outstanding."
Hampton and the rest of the team will do their best to get back to their winning ways at Texas. Internet users may obtain more information about the series and follow the action at www.indyproseries.com.