Long Beach: Series race notes

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Sunday, April 19, 2009) -- J.R. Hildebrand led all 45 laps of the Firestone Indy Lights Grand Prix of Long Beach from the pole to earn his second career victory. Richard Philippe was second, James Hinchcliffe third, ...

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Sunday, April 19, 2009) -- J.R. Hildebrand led all 45 laps of the Firestone Indy Lights Grand Prix of Long Beach from the pole to earn his second career victory. Richard Philippe was second, James Hinchcliffe third, Jonathan Summerton fourth and Ana Beatriz fifth.

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FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-RACE NOTES:

* J.R. Hildebrand earns his second career victory. He also won at Kansas last year.

* This is the 29th Firestone Indy Lights race where the race winner led every lap.

* Rookie Richard Philippe finishes second, his career-best finish. His previous best was 10th at St. Petersburg 2.

* Rookie James Hinchcliffe finishes third, his second consecutive third-place finish.

* Rookie Jonathan Summerton finishes fourth, his third consecutive top-four finish.

* Ana Beatriz finishes fifth, her second top-five finish of the season and 11th of her career.

* Rookie Ali Jackson finishes a career-best sixth.

* Junior Strous, the winner of the first two races this season, remains the series points leader despite finishing 23rd. His lead shrunk from 28 points to three.

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FIRESTONE INDY LIGHT POST-RACE QUOTES:

J.R. HILDEBRAND (No. 26 ARPRO, first): "We just had a great car, and the ARPRO guys have just done a great job all weekend. We had a great car at St. Petersburg, but we had some mechanicals going on or we could have been just as good there. I have to give all the credit to the boys for picking it up after a rough weekend."

(About conditions): "It was getting hot out there. I feel like some of the other guys were dropping off a little quicker than I was. I think our fitness trainer will be getting a big hug when we get home. We had a good car, and that made my job easy."

(About next race): "I think we have the potential to be the fastest on the track everywhere we go. We had a good run at Kansas last year and picked up some miles in the IndyCar (Series car) a couple weeks ago, so maybe that will give us a leg up on everyone. Obviously, I'm looking for a good weekend there next year."

RICHARD PHILIPPE (No. 36 Genoa, second): "We're not P1, but we were equal with him. He had good restarts, and I couldn't catch him. At the end, I kind of faded off a little bit and James (Hinchcliffe) was catching up a little bit. But P2 is points in the bag, and we can move forward."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 7 Hinchtown/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, third): "It was a solid effort. I don't think any of us had anything for J.R. (Hildebrand) today. He was pretty quick and I feel like at the end he could just pretty much control the pace and do what he wanted. For me, good start, second off the start. And then the second or third lap, J.R. clobbered the wall coming out of the hairpin with his inside rear. And I thought for sure he was going to spin so I backed out of it to avoid the wreck. And the guy somehow managed to capture it up and keep going, so I had already lifted and lost my momentum, which allowed Richard (Philippe) to get by, which is too bad because I think for sure we could have been second today."

JONATHAN SUMMERTON (No. 9 Andersen/Allied Interior Products/Lafarge, fourth): "We had a car that was very consistent. I wouldn't say we had the quickest car, but we were consistent. I think consistency should win the championship, so hopefully that stays true. I'm happy with fourth place, but I would have liked to have been on the podium."

ANA BEATRIZ (No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, fifth): "It's good to finish top five again. It's important for the points. We struggled a little bit here at the beginning of the weekend. The Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports team made sure we could improve our qualifying. For the race, we made sure we picked up some positions, kept safe and finished in the top five."

JUNIOR STROUS (No. 18 Shell V-Power Knaus HTP, points leader): "The car was good, but on the first lap, I started seeing errors on my dash. Then in Turn 8, the car started to bog down. I looked back and saw flames and parked it immediately. I have to give credit to the marshals, because they did a great job getting to the car and helped limit the damage to the car. It sucks for sure. We had a bad weekend, but will back next week for sure, hopefully with more luck."

The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues April 26 with the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 4 p.m. (EDT) by VERSUS. 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 Firestone Indy Lights Grand Prix of Long Beach will be telecast at 4 p.m. (EDT) on April 20 by VERSUS. The 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season continues April 26 at Kansas Speedway. The race will be telecast at 4 p.m. (EDT) on April 27 by VERSUS.

-credit: irl

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