IPS: Mutoh scores first oval victory at Kentucky

Rookie Hideki Mutoh earned his second Indy Pro Series victory this season, winning the Kentucky 100 at the Kentucky Speedway. Mutoh set a new track record in qualifying, started from the pole and led all but one of the 67 laps. Third place ...

Rookie Hideki Mutoh earned his second Indy Pro Series victory this season, winning the Kentucky 100 at the Kentucky Speedway. Mutoh set a new track record in qualifying, started from the pole and led all but one of the 67 laps.

Third place finisher Wade Cunningham was credited with leading the second lap.

Series points leader Alex Lloyd finished second to maintain a 98 point lead over Mutoh with three races remaining.

Although Mutoh was credited with leading all but one lap, Cunningham was able to nose ahead on the backstretch several times, yet was never able to complete the pass for the lead.

The race was marred by two caution periods with nearly half the race run under yellow. Joey Scarallo made contact with the Turn 4 wall to bring out the first yellow. On lap 39, five cars tangled in Turn 1, causing the second caution.

Safety crews spent 15 laps cleaning up the five car accident but there was more to come. After taking the one to go signal from the flagman, Tom Wieringa stuffed his car into the first turn wall to stretch the second caution period to 22 laps.

The race went green with four laps remaining and Alex Lloyd made an incredible restart to steal second place from Wade Cunningham.

Cunningham fought back in a tight three-way battle for the lead, that saw Lloyd edge ahead of Mutoh on the backstretch. The Japanese driver was able to hold off his challengers, scoring his first oval victory by 0.1023 of a second.

"It was a crazy race," said Lloyd. "Early on, the three of us just pulled away. I knew we didn't quite have the car we needed in traffic. I thought we could be good in the lead but in traffic I was struggling to keep close behind. I just stayed patient and few yellows came out. We had a great restart and got to second. It was just a great finish and a great race."

Chris Festa finished fourth, his best finish since finishing second on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in May. Festa said, "There were more yellows that we would have liked to have but that's the way it goes sometimes. The car was pretty good. We were just struggling to find a straight line speed this weekend."

Jaime Camara drove from his 20th place starting position, dicing in traffic three and four cars wide to finish fifth. "It was a fun race to drive, starting from the back and coming all the way to fifth," said Camara. Although he was happy with fifth place, Camara noted, "The yellows were too long. I just didn't have enough time to work my way to the front. With six laps to go, all of the cars in the front pack were pretty quick. It was definitely hard but we had a good race."

Hideki Mutoh is schedule to compete in the IndyCar Series season finale at Chicagoland driving a third entry from Super Aguri -- Panther Racing. Alex Lloyd confirmed that he would not be behind the wheel of a Roth Racing IndyCar Series car at Chicagoland, instead opting to test with Ganassi Racing at Sebring later this week. Scott Dixon is expected to participate at the same test.

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Scott Dixon , Alex Lloyd , Chris Festa , Wade Cunningham , Jaime Camara , Tom Wieringa , Hideki Mutoh
Teams Panther Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing