Alex Lloyd clinched the 2007 Indy Pro Series championship by winning the Carneros 100 at Infineon Raceway, the first of two Pro Series races on the 2.3-mile road circuit this weekend. Although a pair of top ten finishes would have clinched the...
Alex Lloyd clinched the 2007 Indy Pro Series championship by winning the Carneros 100 at Infineon Raceway, the first of two Pro Series races on the 2.3-mile road circuit this weekend.
Although a pair of top ten finishes would have clinched the championship this weekend, Lloyd vowed to compete for the win. Starting on the outside of the front row, he raced alongside pole sitter Richard Antinucci through the first corner and then held onto the inside line to take the lead in Turn 2.
"It's been an amazing day," said Lloyd after leading all 30 laps. "We really wanted to win the championship by winning the race.
Hideki Mutoh, the only remaining challenger in the championship battle, needed to close a 98 point gap with three races remaining. Mutoh went off track and finished one lap down in 19th.
"We had a big lead (in the championship) but we didn't want to fall behind and win it through the fact that we just had a big lead from the beginning of the season. We wanted to show that we were dominant from the beginning and finish that way as well."
Lloyd's victory was his eighth this season, a new series record.
Richard Antinucci finished second, crossing the line 0.8927 of a second behind the victor. It was Antinucci's third top 5 finish this season. "It was good race," he said. It's always disappointing when you start on the pole and then finish lower than that, but we finished as close to it as we could. We lost a little bit at the beginning and that determined the race."
Mike Potekhen finished third followed by Stephen Simpson in fourth. Simpson, who started third, said, "The car wasn't as good as I thought it would be. I tried correcting it as much as I could from inside the car to get it to do what I wanted it to do. At the end of the day, we got some good points out of it, but it's not where I wanted to finish."
Jaime Camara picked up two positions to finish fifth. Camara said track conditions were different than he expected. "It was much cooler, so it was difficult to get the cars up to temperature."
Bobby Wilson's mistakes could be chalked up to brain fade in the past, but today's antics took brain fade to a new level, combining it with a complete lack of respect for his fellow competitors. After spinning in the hairpin prior to the main straight, Wilson drove directly into the path of a pack of cars that were racing nose to tail.
Series newcomer J. R. Hildebrand of Sausalito, Calif., who calls Infineon Raceway his home track, took the brunt of Wilson's bullish move and was forced to retire. "I was hit by Bobby Wilson in Turn 11," said Hildebrand. "It broke the front suspension. We were three laps down. Hardly worth going out again."
Infineon Raceway will host the second round of the Pro Series on Sunday. Alex Lloyd drew an 8 for Sunday's starting lineup. With the top 8 finishers inverted for Sunday's start, Lloyd's Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate Ryan Justice will start on the pole. Andrew Prendeville will start second followed by Logan Gomez and Jaime Camara. Stephen Simpson and Mike Potekhen will start on the third row.