HOWARD PADS INDY PRO SERIES POINT LEAD WITH WIN SPARTA, Ky., Sunday, Aug. 13, 2006 -- Jay Howard won the second-closest race in Indy Pro Series history, nipping Jonathan Klein by .0190 of a second to win the WAMZ 100. The win, Howard's second...
HOWARD PADS INDY PRO SERIES POINT LEAD WITH WIN
SPARTA, Ky., Sunday, Aug. 13, 2006 -- Jay Howard won the second-closest race in Indy Pro Series history, nipping Jonathan Klein by .0190 of a second to win the WAMZ 100.
The win, Howard's second in the past three races, extended the Englishman's Indy Pro Series points lead to 40 over Klein (279) with three races remaining -- two on the natural terrain road course at Infineon Raceway on Aug. 26 and 27 and one on the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 9.
Bobby Wilson, who finished seventh, has 263 points, while Cheever Racing's Nick Bussell is fourth (243). Cunningham and Jaime Camara (242) are tied for fifth. The top nine in the standings are still eligible for the championship.
RACE DAY NOTEBOOK:
IndyCar Series drivers Tony Kanaan and Vitor Meira and Indy Pro Series driver Jaime Camara are carry decals carrying get well wishes for fellow Brazilian driver Cristiano da Matta, who was injured while testing a Champ Car earlier this month. The IndyCar Series cars are carrying "Get Well Cristiano" on their cars, while Camara's car has "Get Well Kiki."
Helio Castroneves carried a decal on the back of his helmet.
JAIME CAMARA: "Kiki is Cristiano da Matta's nickname. He's a friend. All my thoughts are with him. We're praying every day for his recovery. I'm trying to give him some support with this sticker."
Denise Titus, R.N., received the 11th Championship Drivers Association award for contributions to the Indy Racing League "above and beyond the call of duty" during the annual Delphi IRL Safety Team dinner Aug. 12 at Marlboro Team Penske hospitality.
"It's not hard to give 100 percent to something you love," said Titus, who coordinates driver care and communication with families for IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series drivers who are injured at racing facilities.
WAMZ 100 POST-RACE NOTES:
* This is Jay Howard's second Indy Pro Series victory of the season and his second career victory. He also won at Nashville Superspeedway.
* This is Sam Schmidt Motorsports' 13th victory in the Indy Pro Series, increasing its record total. It previously won with Thiago Medeiros, Jaime Camara and Travis Gregg. Its last win came with Howard at Nashville earlier this season.
* This is Sam Schmidt Motorsports' second-consecutive win at Kentucky Speedway. It won with Travis Gregg in 2005.
* The margin of victory, .0190 of a second, is the second-closest finish in Indy Pro Series history. The closest margin of victory is .0170 of a second at Chicagoland in 2003.
* Jonathan Klein finished second, his best finish in the Indy Pro Series. He has finished in the top five in the seven of the last eight races.
* Wade Cunningham finished third, his fifth top-five finish in seven starts this season.
* Sean Guthrie finished fifth, his best finish in the Indy Pro Series.
WAMZ 100 POST-RACE QUOTES:
JAY HOWARD (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, WAMZ 100 winner): "That was mega. The car was really good. I was patient. I had the opportunity to lead early on. I wasn't going to play games all the way through - cat and mouse. Wade (Cunningham) had the lead. I knew I could get by him." (About running in the middle): "I was just where I wanted to be. When I was down low, it was just killing the car, and up high just wasn't enough grip up there. So I wanted to be in the middle. When Jono (Jonathan Klein) came down on the inside, it didn't really matter because I planned on running that middle line anyway. That was the closest race I've ever won. That was good. Win number two and three more to get." (About championship race): "I'm not planning on having a bad race. I'm sure we've got a bit of a cushion. Obviously Infineon is going to be a big decider. If we go there and finish in the top two or three in both races, then I think that sort of secures the championship. We can go to Chicago, enjoy the race, no pressure at all and try to get it up to five wins total."
JONATHAN KLEIN (No. 27 Klein Tools/Turn-Key Forging, finished second): "It was a wild day. You can never predict what's going to happen in the race because the car was a handful. We had a good race car for qualifying, but during the race we had more than a few close calls. But we stayed patient and stayed calm, and in the end we were there. I thought we were going to get it done, but Jay was able to get by me at the finish. I'd rather lose to my teammate than anyone else."
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 1 Brian Stewart Racing, finished third): "Everything was going well, and I knew there was going to be a challenge at the end. It was pretty obvious. At the restart, I expected the same courtesy that I gave the other competitors, but it wasn't there. I had a tire cut because I was driven into deliberately. Trying to run the last lap with a flat tire is pretty difficult. I kept my foot into it, hoping it wouldn't smash into the wall. I feel we had the best car and would have won today if we'd been given the opportunity, but that's the way it is."
TRAVIS GREGG (No. 77 Lucas Oil/Argosy Casino/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished fourth): "It went OK. Early in the race, I was trying to fix a tight condition, so I had to use the controls in the car. The car came to us, and we started to pass cars. We were working with the cars in front of us. Fourth place was where we started, so it's not bad. It's a top five, so I'm happy."
SEAN GUTHRIE (No. 41 Trace Die Cast Guthrie Racing Car, finished fifth): The car was perfect. These guys worked really hard. We haven't figured out qualifying yet, so that's why we started in the back. I knew the car was going to be good. We just kept running towards the front. We were third there for a while. Jaime (Camara) and I had a little contact and clipped the front wing. That last restart, I was a little too cautious, and I let those guys by me. If we didn't have that caution, we would have finished third. If we didn't have that contact and that caution, I probably would have won the race. Yeah, that caution hurt us, but at same time that's racing."
-credit: indy racing league