IPS: Fike takes first win at Chicagoland

Aaron Fike delivered his first career victory in an extremely competitive race. Fike's margin of victory over second place Arie Luyendyk was a miniscule .075 seconds. The first ten finishers had less than one second between them. Tom Wood ...

Aaron Fike delivered his first career victory in an extremely competitive race. Fike's margin of victory over second place Arie Luyendyk was a miniscule .075 seconds. The first ten finishers had less than one second between them. Tom Wood finished third and pole sitter AJ Foyt IV ended up sixth. "Lots of guys could have won that (race). The draft was a huge factor," according to Wood.

Fike, starting ninth, charged through the field passing Arie Luyendyk for the lead on lap 29. The two drivers battled at the front with Fike claiming the lead for good on lap 50. The two drivers ran nose to tail until race end, slightly in front of the pursuing pack.

The race was Arie Luyendyk's second consecutive second place finish and fourth of the season. He led the most laps and appeared to have the fastest car. At the end of the race he was repeatedly able to pull alongside Fike but unable to maintain his momentum outside the draft. Luyendyk explained "the D shape of the track made it very difficult to pull alongside Aaron (Fike). This is the first time I've finished second and been disappointed. We could have won."

Pole sitter Foyt lead very early and comfortably followed leader Luyendyk for the first third of the race. Foyt pushed for the front on lap 35 and fought his way to the high side of Luyendyk. A string of cars entered Luyendk's draft stranding Foyt up high and shuffling him back to fourth on his way to a sixth place finish.

Several drivers besides winner Fike made large moves in track position. Fourth place finisher Marty Roth started thirteenth on the grid and ran as high as third. Ed Carpenter started seventh before falling to thirteenth and then passing his way back to seventh by race's end. Ryan Hampton moved from twelfth to fifth before losing his engine on lap 42.

Hampton was the only driver not to finish, concluding a frustrating weekend for the winner of the previous event at Gateway in St. Louis. Hampton was second quickest in Friday morning practice but moved backwords in each following sessions, qualifying twelfth and finishing dead last.

The finishing order today tightens up the championship points chase. Foyt now leads Luyendyk by only 28 points. The two drivers are very aware of the championship implications of their race performance. Luyendyk knew that he had"the points for leading the most laps today and that helped." Foyt expressed his outlook on the championship:"We'll have to go Texas and try to win the championship there." For Luyendyk to move ahead in the points Foyt will have to finish tenth or worse at Texas.

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Series INDYLIGHTS