Michigan Race Report

Philipp Peter Takes The Detroit News 100 in Closest Finish Ever BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 24) - Philipp Peter (Red Bull/Remus/ESTEBE Lola) edged Dorricott-Mears Racing teammate Casey Mears (Sooner Trailer/American Racing Custom Wheels Lola) by...

Philipp Peter Takes The Detroit News 100 in Closest Finish Ever

BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 24) - Philipp Peter (Red Bull/Remus/ESTEBE Lola) edged Dorricott-Mears Racing teammate Casey Mears (Sooner Trailer/American Racing Custom Wheels Lola) by just .002 of a second to win Saturday's Detroit News 100 PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship race at Michigan Speedway. The win was Peter's third of the year and first on an oval.

The duo crossed the finish line nearly side-by-side and edged CART's previous record finish that was set in the FedEx Championship Series race at Portland in 1997 where Mark Blundell beat Gil de Ferran by .027 of a second. The previous closest Indy Lights finish came at Nazareth in 1988 when Calvin Fish beat Mike Groff by .028 of a second.

Starting from the outside front row, Peter edged-Doo/Ski-Doo pole winner Jonny Kane (182.343 mph = 39.486 seconds) at the start but was later passed by the third Dorricott/Mears driver Oriol Servia (Catalonia/RACC/Elf Lola). Peter slipped past on lap two to retake a lead he wouldn't lose despite being hounded to the finish by Mears, Servia and Felipe Giaffone (Comet/Hollywood Lola).

Mears, who also got by Servia on lap two, maintained the closest watch on Peter and remained locked to his teammate's gearbox for each of the 49 laps the winner led, despite losing a body panel early in the race. He made a move to the inside as they approached the finish line, but Peter took the win in a true photo finish that will be made available in the near future by Omega Timing. Giaffone finished third while Mario Dominguez (Herdez/Quaker "Viva Mexico" Lola) passed Servia and Guy Smith (Swift Caravans Lola) for fourth in a final lap charge. Dominguez had run no higher than sixth before the final lap. Smith finished sixth.

The strong performance by the Dorricott/Mears squad enabled the California-based team to strengthen its lock on the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship point standings. Servia continues to lead with 95 points and Mears - the only driver to complete all 472 laps (696.225 miles) this season - is second with 88 points. Peter has closed on both in third with 87 points, a full 24 points ahead of Airton Dare (Banestado Lola). Giaffone is fifth with 61 points.

Dare failed to finish Saturday and brought out the race's only caution period when a left front wheel bearing broke on lap 18. The failure shattered the hub and wheel and shredded the tire, but Dare did a masterful job of bringing his race car under control without wall contact.

Television Coverage - Tomorrow! Saturday's Detroit News 100 race will be televised in a one-hour broadcast on cable sports network ESPN2 at 5:30 p.m. EDT (2:30 p.m. PDT) on Sunday, July 25. The race will be presented in an encore airing on ESPN2 at 4:00 a.m. EDT (1:00 a.m. PDT) on Wednesday, July 28.

Post-Race Quotes

* Philipp Peter, #31 Red Bull/Remus/ESTEBE Lola (third Indy Lights victory of season and career, closest finish in CART racing history) "Since lap 25 I thought for sure Casey would pass me for the win. He is my teammate and we had used the morning warm-up to practice race strategy. He knew exactly how my car worked, so I could not believe he would not get by me in the end. Coming down to the checker Casey and I were talking back and forth on the radio but when we crossed the line I did not know if I had won. I asked my crew five times but I never heard, 'You won! You did it!'"

* Casey Mears, #30 Sooner Trailer/American Racing Wheels Lola (second place) "I didn't even know my shock cover had blown off. I saw something fly by but I thought maybe it was a bag or some trash that had blown onto the track. It didn't effect the car at all though. When you are so close behind another car like I was behind Philipp, there is such a big hole in the wind that the front aero package isn't really working anyway. I wanted to set Philipp up on the last lap but when I eased out of it a little to do that, suddenly I had two other cars all over me. When we crossed the line, I didn't even ask [on the radio] who had won. I wasn't sure I wanted to know!"

* Felipe Giaffone, #21 Hollywood/Comet Lola (third place) "I did not expect to finish third today. We had quite a lot of trouble this weekend but the team did a great job and they gave me a good car for the race. Unfortunately for me, I had a good car and these guys [Peter and Mears] had great cars. I was able to follow Casey at the start and that helped me move to the front quickly. Servia was very aggressive but his car seemed to start to push up the track during the race."

Special Awards

* Dayton Tire Awards: Mario Dominguez receives four Dayton Daytona racing tires as the Move to the Front award recipient. Dominguez improved 12 positions to finish fourth. Chris Menninga receives two Dayton Daytona racing tires as the Dayton Rookie Award recipient. Jonny Kane receives two Dayton Daytona racing tires as the top qualifier.

* Racing For Kids: Philipp Peter is the Racing For Kids Driver Performance Award winner. Peter receives $500 and a $1,500 donation will be made in his name to a Children's Hospital.

* Sea-Doo/Ski-Doo Awards: Jonny Kane receives $1,000 for earning his first career Sea-Doo/Ski-Doo Pole. Six different drivers have now earned Sea-Doo/Ski-Doo Pole Awards this year, with Felipe Giaffone and Oriol Servia tied at the top with two each.

* Nation's Cup: Casey Mears' second place extends the United States slight lead over Brazil to four points (112-108). Spain is third. Peter's victory moves Austria past Ireland for fourth.

* MCI WorldCom Fast Pace Award: Rodolfo Lavin receives the $1,000 MCIWORLDCOM Fast Pace Award for his fast lap of 186.321 mph (38.643 seconds) on lap 28.

* Bosch Platinum+4 Speedway Challenge: After four of six rounds Casey Mears leads his Dorricott-Mears teammate Oriol Servia by 11 points in the $10,000 winner-take-all Bosch Platinum+4 Speedway Challenge (56-45). Airton Dare is third with 43 points.

Results

Race results can be obtained from www.indylights.com in the Omega Timing section.

Next Event The next event on the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship schedule is The Detroit News Challenge at the Raceway on Belle Isle on Sunday, August 8.

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Guy Smith , Felipe Giaffone , Casey Mears , Airton Daré , Gil de Ferran , Oriol Servia , Mark Blundell , Chris Menninga , Mario Dominguez , Jonny Kane , Rodolfo Lavin , Philipp Peter