IPS: Cunningham wins, Howard is 2006 champion

Wade Cunningham won the Indy Pro Series season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, crossing the finish line 0.6097 seconds ahead of Jonathan Klein. Jay Howard finished third and was crowned the series champion by four points over Klein. The 67-lap...

Wade Cunningham won the Indy Pro Series season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, crossing the finish line 0.6097 seconds ahead of Jonathan Klein. Jay Howard finished third and was crowned the series champion by four points over Klein.

The 67-lap race came down to a single-lap shootout when Tom Wieringa spun on the backstretch with six laps remaining. The field lined up for the restart with Cunningham at the point followed by Howard and Klein.

"My plans changed halfway through the race," said Howard. "My plans were to lead the most laps and then settle into a pace," that would allow me to win the championship. With Klein threatening to win the race, Howard battled to the end, with the lead pack often comprised of more than half the field.

"I knew it was going to be busy, and busy it was," Howard reported.

At one point, Howard made contact with another car, lifting his front wheels off the ground. "That was different," he remarked.

For the remainder of the race, Howard was forced to press on with a less than perfect car. "It didn't help that the front suspension was bent and the steering was a bit wonky," he said nonchalantly. "For a lap or two the car really felt different, especially with the steering being bent. But I was more than determined to win this championship."

Asked if he had achieved his goals on his first season in the Indy Pro Series, Howard replied, "We won two races and the championship, that's enough for me."

Cunningham finished third in the points battle after missing two races at St. Petersburg earlier this season.

Just prior to Wieringa's spin, the top ten cars were running in a pack, covered by just over a second. Alex Lloyd finished fourth, followed by Chris Festa, Arie Luyendyk, Jr. and Mike Potekhen in seventh. Ben Petter crossed the finish line tenth, 4.0352 seconds behind Cunningham. Thirteen cars finished on the lead lap.

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Arie Luyendyk , Alex Lloyd , Chris Festa , Wade Cunningham , Jay Howard , Tom Wieringa , Mike Potekhen