RICHARD ANTINUCCI CLAIMS TOP 3 FINISH IN FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS ROUND 11 AT MID-OHIO SPORTSCAR COURSE
RACE 1 WINNER RAPHAEL MATOS GRABS POINTS LEAD, BUT SAM SCHMIDT MOTORSPORTS DRIVER IS STILL CLOSE, 3 POINTS BEHIND THE BRAZILIAN. THE PAIR WILL START FROM ROW 2 TODAY
LEXINGTON, OH. -- Richard Antinucci picked the fourth spot at Mid-Ohio in the European-style Qualifying, with everybody on track at the same time. The opening lap offered him the opportunity to grab P3 from Jonny Reid on the inside of Turn 8, which the Italian-American did successfully. An uneventful race -- which stayed green lights-to-flag -- followed. Pole sitter Raphael Matos remained in control throughout the race, always keeping at bay Franck Perera who had started from the front row. Antinucci's third place always looked safe from any challenge from the rest of the field, but the Top 2 spots looked out of reach, as at the half-race mark the San Diegan was trailing the Brazilian by 7.7561 and the Frenchman by 4.9337. In the closing stages Antinucci improved his pace, chipping away at the edge of the rivals up front before the chequered flag. Matos, who has a 363-360 advantage over Antinucci, will start alongside the Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver today from Row 2, with the Italian-American moving from the outside.
"The track was quite bad at the beginning, that's where we lost most of our time. We've managed to improve at the end. We had the pace to be third I think today, and that's what we got. But I'm happy. We've been improving all weekend. We were one of the only teams who didn't attend the test about a month ago. So to come here and get on the podium for race one, and Matos drew a pretty good number for us, which means we're starting outside front row for the second race, so we're looking forward to another podium, maybe something even better. We lost the lead in the championship by a hair, but we're right there, and we gained ground on the rest with the 35 points we've picked. Big picture, we're still close."