Kentucky: Series race notes

SPARTA, Ky. (Saturday, Aug. 1, 2009) - Wade Cunningham passed Sebastian Saavedra for the lead exiting Turn 2 of Lap 55 and went on to win the 100th Firestone Indy Lights race. Cunningham, driving the No. 11 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports ...

SPARTA, Ky. (Saturday, Aug. 1, 2009) - Wade Cunningham passed Sebastian Saavedra for the lead exiting Turn 2 of Lap 55 and went on to win the 100th Firestone Indy Lights race.

Cunningham, driving the No. 11 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, won under caution as the No. 7 Hinchtown/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car of James Hinchcliffe spun on Lap 64 and the Lap 66 restart was waived off.

Saavedra, driving the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Inc. car for AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing, finished second for his third consecutive top five. Ana Beatriz posted her fifth top five in the No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car and James Davison was fourth in the No. 21 People*s Liberation entry for Vision Racing. Davison has been running at the finish in 17 consecutive races - one off the series record by Nick Bussell.

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RACE DAY NOTEBOOK:

Alex Lloyd, Wade Cunningham and Travis Gregg have all driven a Lucas Oil-sponsored Firestone Indy Lights car for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Now they have something else in common.

The three were selected by the Firestone Indy Lights fans as the top drivers from the series' first 100 races under the Indy Racing League sanction.

"I am extremely happy and flattered to be voted top driver in (Firestone) Indy Lights," said Lloyd, who topped the 10-day long voting period for the series' best three drivers over its first 100 events. "2007 was a great season for Sam Schmidt Motorsports and myself, and one that I am very proud of.

"I want to thank everyone who voted for me, and I look forward to trying to emulate that success in the IndyCar Series very soon."

Cunningham, who won the Firestone Firehawk Cup in 2005, is the only current Firestone Indy Lights driver selected in the fan poll, which was conducted on firestoneindylights.com to celebrate the series' 100th race.

"I don't think anyone wants to be unpopular with the fans," Cunningham said. "It's nice to be recognized by the fans for my results. Hopefully, we'll be able to repay their gratitude with a ride in the IndyCar Series soon."

Gregg, who won three races in 2005, was surprised that he earned enough votes to earn a spot alongside the two series champions.

"It's a pretty awesome feeling and an honor to be picked for the ultimate podium alongside Alex and Wade," Gregg said. "I have raced against both of them in the past and they are two extremely competitive drivers, not to mention both of them have won past championships. Even though I am not currently racing in the series, I have to give a big thanks for all of those who have supported me in the past and still support me here today, especially the fans thanks for voting."

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KENTUCKY 100 POST-RACE NOTES

* Wade Cunningham won for the second time this season and seventh time in Firestone Indy Lights history.

* Cunningham, the series leader in laps led, increased that total to 716.

* Sebastian Saavedra, who finished second, closed to 40 points of series leader J.R. Hildebrand.

* Saavedra recorded his third consecutive top-five finish and seventh of the season.

* Ana Beatriz posted her fifth top-five finish of the season with third place.

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KENTUCKY 100 POST-RACE QUOTES

WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 11 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, winner Kentucky 100): "It was a difficult race, even when I was in the lead those last 25-28 laps. Sebastian had a very strong car, and the car behind him dropped into a taller gear, which, that's how I got him but I knew he was going to be able to make a run. He was pushing his car in a way that maybe he may have damaged his front tires, because he wasn't as strong as strong the last 10 laps as he was before, and I was able to take advantage of that."

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, finished second): "I'm very happy. We scored some very important points for us. The car was great. The whole AGR/AFS Racing team did an incredible job. We were just doing as planned, trying to be side-by-side with Wade (Cunningham) at the start-finish, but that yellow flag just made everything impossible. We're still in the same position in the points for the championship and I'm looking forward to Mid-Ohio."

ANA BEATRIZ (No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished third): "We got speed on the straight and I was able to overtake for first position, but I couldn't hold it. It seems like the other cars just had more power at the exit of corners, and that's why we lost it. But we had a top 10, passed a lot of people, got a podium and I think it was a great day. I couldn't be happier for (my team)."

(What happened on that caution?): "My spotter called green, so I went go, go, go and I pushed the throttle, and actually Wade went fast too. I saw the yellow flag and the white flag, it was really confusing, I thought it was yellow."

JAMES DAVISON (No. 21 People*s Liberation/Vision Racing, finished fourth): "I'm really happy with our performance. It is a big development for us as a first year team in this series to have a competitive run on a mile and a half oval with the top teams. We have to be satisfied with that. We weren't the fastest car. We were fourth and fifth the majority of the race but it is a good result and something to build on."

ANDREW PRENDEVILLE (No. 2 TMR/Xtreme Coil Drilling, finished fifth): "It was a good run. It was a short schedule, but we didn't have all the time we needed. We started thirteenth and finished fifth. The team did a really good job in the short time that we had, especially since we are a one car team. A lot of the other two car teams had cars they could have pulled data off of. The track wasn't ideal we just been struggling with everything this weekend. The track was still pretty dusty, but we still put on a pretty good show for the fans."

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The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues Aug. 9 with the Honda Indy 200 presented by Westfield Insurance at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 1 p.m. (EDT) by VERSUS. A one-hour qualifying show will be telecast by VERSUS at 6 p.m. on Aug. 8. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The radio broadcast also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Mid-Ohio 100 on Aug. 9 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The race will be telecast at 4 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 10 by VERSUS. Coverage of the Kentucky 100 will be telecast at 4 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 3 by VERSUS.

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Alex Lloyd , Nick Bussell , Travis Gregg , Wade Cunningham , James Davison , James Hinchcliffe , Sebastian Saavedra , J.R. Hildebrand , Ana Beatriz