LEXINGTON, Ohio, Sunday, July 20, 2008 - James Davison won a bizarre Firestone Indy Lights race that had three different drivers lead the final three laps. A wet course due to heavy rain immediately before the race led to numerous cars going...
LEXINGTON, Ohio, Sunday, July 20, 2008 - James Davison won a bizarre Firestone Indy Lights race that had three different drivers lead the final three laps.
A wet course due to heavy rain immediately before the race led to numerous cars going off course throughout the 20-lap race.
Pole sitter Jonny Reid led the first 16 laps before he was passed by Mitch Cunningham. Cunningham led Laps 17-18 but spun off course with two laps to go. Reid was the leader when the white flag flew, but mistakenly headed to pit lane before taking the checkered. Davison, who started seventh, was the beneficiary and claimed his first career victory.
Wade Cunningham finished second, and Pablo Donoso finished third. Richard Antinucci finished 14th and took a one-point lead in the championship over Raphael Matos, who finished 18th.
FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-RACE NOTES:
* This is James Davison's first career victory in Firestone Indy Lights. His previous best finish was sixth at Milwaukee.
* This is the 26th victory for Sam Schmidt Motorsports.
* This is the third consecutive victory for Sam Schmidt Motorsports this season, all with different drivers. Richard Antinucci won Watkins Glen 2 and Ana Beatriz won at Nashville.
* Wade Cunningham finished second, his best finish of the season. His previous best was third at Indianapolis. This is his best finish since second at Mid-Ohio last year with AFS Racing.
* Pablo Donoso finished third, his career best. Previously, he had three fifths this season.
* Cyndie Allemann finished a career-best fourth. Her previous best was eighth at St. Petersburg 1.
* Ana Beatriz finished fifth, her seventh top-five finish of the season.
* Jonny Reid finished ninth.
* Mitch Cunningham finished 12th.
* Richard Antinucci finished 14th, taking a one-point lead over Raphael Matos in the championship.
* Raphael Matos finished 18th.
FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-RACE QUOTES:
JAMES DAVISON (No. 11 Lifelock/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, first): "I was thinking, ‘Has he made a mistake? I'm pretty sure we haven't taken the checkered flag, and we need to take it.' I asked, ‘Have I just won this thing?' And they were like, ‘Yeah, you're showing P1 on the timing.' I had a very similar race to everyone. It was very chaotic. I went off down at Turn 4 at the end of the straight and went all the way down to the bottom of the gravel trap and somehow didn't get beached. I dropped back to about 15th and I just said to my engineer, ‘Look, I'm just going to drive this thing, keep it on the track, and lay it on the line if I have to.' You know, Jonny (Reid) took me out from second place at Nashville accidentally. If that's his way of saying, sorry, sort of helping me out, turning this season around that I've had, you know. We've been very strong at times, but literally zero luck. I mean, here we are. It's great."
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 24 Natural Spring Alliance Motorsports, second): "I inherited a couple of positions today. I threw a lot away at the beginning. The conditions were very, very difficult. It was great coming back through the field. We had a very reasonable car, especially once the track started drying. We had more of a dry setup, only with the wets on it. I was fortunate to get to watch my brother's (Mitch Cunningham) race because he was always about five positions in front. I watched him take the lead, and I was really happy for him. I didn't see him spin off, and I didn't see where he ended. I assumed he was far into the lead, but unfortunately he wasn't. So he made that mistake and then Jonny (Reid) obviously just pulled into the pits thinking it was checkered flag. So I'm not sure which mistake was worse, Mitch's or Jonny's. Unfortunately neither of them were able to pick up a result. But for us, we&rs quo;re happy to pick up second. It was probably the slickest track I've ever driven on. Obviously the sealer they put on the concrete to keep the integrity of the track together is just terrible in the rain. But it was just a case of keeping ahead and going forward and trying not to make to many mistakes."
PABLO DONOSO (No. 22 TMR-Cristal-Xtreme Coil Drilling, third): "The team gave me a really good car when things were really wet. We were a bit loose, and I hit Cyndie (Allemann) pretty hard in the back, which made it worse. I don't know what happened then. She was waiting for me for one lap and put me in the grass. It was a crazy race. I don't know what Jonny Reid did, but I'm happy for our team. It's our first podium finish, and I'm happy for James Davison. He deserved this win."
CYNDIE ALLEMANN (No. 18 American Spirit, fourth): "The main thing to do was keep it on the track and avoid all the accidents. What was really difficult was so much spray on the backstraight that you couldn't see where you had to brake, especially in the first half of the race. I'm happy because we've had so many problems the past few races. For my mind, it is good."
ANA BEATRIZ (No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, fifth): "Everybody is fighting for the championship, so this is pretty good."
RICHARD ANTINUCCI (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "I should have won it five times today, but I finished 14th. It's just one of those crappy days. It was hard. There was a lot of movement all over the place. I spun off then recovered three places immediately, and then the yellow came out. Then, I went wide, went off, recovered, and gained back another three places. I got put off by (Pablo) Donoso the last time we were put off the track. A lapped car didn't see us and crashed into us, which was pretty pathetic. As for the rest of the championship, we're still in good shape. We're going to go out and attack every race in the LUCAS OIL/LifeLock car."
JONNY REID (No. 9 Integra): "I am really disappointed. I just came into the pits; there is really no excuse for it. Basically, the yellow came out so I thought the race was over and it was the done. I have never had a race finish under yellow like that before, and it just caught me off. I wasn't thinking. My radio wasn't working, and I didn't have any communication with the team, and that wasn't helping. It wasn't working the whole race. It got water in it after the torrential downpour. And what confused me as well was that the safety car came on in the back straight and then came off the track again, and I slowed down. I switched into first gear and started following it and I pulled off. I didn't really know what to do, and I thought the other drivers were going to follow me and they didn't. So I lost, and it is a huge disappointment. I feel a little bit embarrassed about it, but what can I do? It is going t o just make me more hungry for a win in the future."
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc.): "It was very difficult out there today. I couldn't see anything at the start. I lost a couple of spots because I just couldn't see anything. Unfortunately I spun out and got hit by Bobby Wilson, and it broke the rear suspension on the AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing car."
The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the Rexall Edmonton Indy July 26 at Edmonton City Centre Airport. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 5 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Kentucky 100 on Aug. 9. The race will air at 2 p.m. Aug. 14 on ESPN2. The Mid-Ohio 100 doubleheader airs at 2 p.m. (EDT) July 24 on ESPN2 and live on www.indycar.com.