1995 FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS CHAMPIONSHIP LONG BEACH GRAND PRIX APRIL 7-9, 1995 NOTES FROM 47-LAP INDY LIGHTS RACE Here are the top times from this morning warmup session: 1. Buhl 58.678 2. Ward 58.748 3....
1995 FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS CHAMPIONSHIP LONG BEACH GRAND PRIX APRIL 7-9, 1995
NOTES FROM 47-LAP INDY LIGHTS RACE
Here are the top times from this morning warmup session:
1. Buhl 58.678 2. Ward 58.748 3. Firestone 59.131 4. Giaffone 59.179 5. Andretti 59.520 6. Palhares 59.549 7. Buzz Calkins 59.581 8. Bourbonnais 59.687 9. Boyer 59.830 10. Padilla 60.146
The Indy Lights cars are now on course at 10:35pm and we are on the third pace lap. Pole sitter Greg more set a new track record yesterday at 57.496-seconds (99.555 mph). The race record is 0:52:08.534 (85.992 mph).
And... its the green flag!
Greg Moore leads into turn one, and immediately, we have a car into the wall. Pedro Chaves was exiting Turn 3 when Affonso Giaffone hit him in the rear, spinning him around. Chaves was left pointing the wrong way but Giaffone, deservedly, got the worst of the deal as his right rear wheel got disjointed after hitting the reversed Chaves.
Further around the track, Niko Palhares, a rookie, does two 360's spins exiting Turn 6.
Full Course caution for about four laps.
And... its the green flag.
Moore, Desilva Ward Padilla, head for Turn 1. Two cars tangle at the hairpin: Jack Miller and Beaux Barfield, with the latter stalled on course.
On lap 6 now, and Jeff Andretti spins going into Turn 1. He manages not to hit anything and continues.
After 7 laps it is Moore, Desilva, Ward, Padilla, Firestone, and Robbie Buhl.
I am watching the race from the press room where I have closed circuit television and a scoring monitor. After nine laps, the fastest laps is held by leader Greg Moore at 58.48 seconds.
On lap 9, at the hairpin, Doug Boyer, who had a terrible start from his outside row one starting spot, takes Robbie Buhl for sixth place.
Greg Moore is still in the lead after 12 laps, and has a 1.41-second lead. The top five positions have not changed.
One laps 14, Nick Firestone stuffs the car into the wall exiting Turn 6. He manages to get back to the pits, but he'll need a new wing to continue.
After alp 16, Moore has pulled the lead out to 2.56-seconds, and the gap between the next five drivers is at least one second.
On lap 17, Doug Boyer comes to a stop at Turn 3 with mechanical problems.
After 19 laps, the only real battle near the front is for 5th place, which Robbie Buhl holds, and Bourbonnais wants.
On the 20th lap Enrique Contreras spins at Turn 1 and continues.
On lap 21, Bourbonnais takes Buhl at Turn 6 with a really nice move to the inside. Its not as easy to pass there as you might think because the angle to take to the corner is not normal for 90-degree bend. Its taken almost as a sharp kink, and if you fail at your passing attempt on the inside here, you could easily take yourself and your competitor out of the race.
After 24 laps, Moore has a 4.28-second lead. The battle on course we are now following is Ward chasing Desilva for 2nd place. Desilva is really using up his tires, sliding all over the place, trying to keep Ward behind him.
After 27 laps, Moore has a 6.12-second lead.
Going into Turn 1 on lap 28, Desilva moves to the inside to protect the position, but Ward is on a charge and cuts him off across the nose to snatch 2nd place away from him.
On lap 28 Jeff Andretti goes out with a gearbox problem. Its been a REALLY tough season for the former Indy car driver, and I thought maybe he might be able to reap a top-10 finish here. Not today.
Bob Dorricott Jr., is into the tires at Turn 6, and Enrique Contreras spun, so Indy car decided to throw a full course caution on lap 29.
On laps 33 the green flag flies again. the top five are Moore, Ward, Desilva, Padilla and Bourbonnais.
HOLLY COW! We've got a major pileup at Turn 1! This does not look good. Beaux Barfield slid under the car of Diego Guzman who was nosed into the the tires at Turn 1. Everyone here is anxious to find out the condition of Barfield, who has the right rear tire of Guzman up against his helmet. After a few minutes we are relieved to see him up and out of the car. We actually had five cars involved at Turn 1, but only Guzman and Barfield were forced out. Mark Hotchkis, who is driving today with the flu, was one of the drivers.
Full Course Caution on lap 34. Your leaders are Moore, Ward, Desilva, Padilla, Bourbonnais, Buhl, Chaves, Reid, Lacroix.
Here we go... Green Flag on Lap 39! Jeff Ward tries to win the race at Turn one with a similar move to the one used on Desilva, but this time it does not work and he goes into the tires. He'll recover, but probably in last place on the lead lap.
On laps 41, Moore leads Desilva and Bourbonnais, and Robbie Buhl takes Padilla for fourth places.
Player's Ltd. team is now first and second as Bourbonnais was able to take Desilva into Turn 6. Unfortunately, he threw it all away when he clipped the inside of Turn 4 and bounced into the tires on exit out of the exit of Turn 4 and into the tire wall on the exit. Claude had pulled himself up from 8th place on the start, and this will be yet another blemish on his record.
On the lap last lap now, Bourbonnais teammate Greg Moore is having this race all his own way. Only Jeff Ward could have passed him, and he's out of the race. Ward's only consolation is that he set the fastest lap of the race at 58.15-seconds.
Checkered flag for Greg Moore, who wins his third Firestone Indy Lights Championship race in as many races. He becomes only the second driver in Indy Lights history to win three races in a row since Paul Tracy did it in 1990.
After the race, Moore said he thought Jeff Ward had a real good shot at the win. "He was ahead of me at Turn 1 for about a tenth of a second or two," said Moore. "But then he went straight on."
Robbie Buhl has a fine, heads up drive to second place, and Desilva hung on for third.
It was such a crazy race with so many people falling out Buhl said, "I didn't even know what place I was in until they told me after the race!"
For Dave Desilva, this was his first trip to the podium in his second year of trying. "Its been a while since I've run near the front, and it feels real good (to finish third)."