Perera takes first win at Sears Point

Franck Perera won the Carneros 100 at Infineon Raceway, becoming the 8th different driver to win in the Indy Lights Series this season. Perera, who competed in IndyCar Series races at Homestead and St. Petersburg, sailed to victory lane in his ...

Franck Perera won the Carneros 100 at Infineon Raceway, becoming the 8th different driver to win in the Indy Lights Series this season. Perera, who competed in IndyCar Series races at Homestead and St. Petersburg, sailed to victory lane in his eighth start in the Indy Lights Series.

Passing was difficult on the 2.303-mile road circuit and Perera led all 30 laps from the pole position. He crossed the finish line 3.7395 seconds ahead of Raphael Matos.

"It was a new track again, and we were really good," said Perera, alluding to the changing track conditions. "The car was consistent we didn't have to push it 100 percent. It was good to have a race like that."

Matos started second and finished second, one position ahead of Richard Antinucci. Matos and Antinucci are locked in a heated battle for the championship and with two races remaining Matos leads the standings by one point.

"It was good race," said Matos. "We're trying to maximize the points as much as we can this weekend. It's important that we come out of this weekend with a real chance at the championship."

Antinucci, who qualified third, was charged with jumping the start and was in the process of being served a one position penalty when it appeared that he overdrove the final corner, allowing Matos back into second place.

"We had that great start, but unfortunately I had to give way," said Antinucci. Rules are rules."

Antinucci indicated he was just following the polesitter as he came to take the green flag. "We had a better start than the other line with Matos on the front row," he said. "I had to let him by, so I let him by. I dropped one spot at the end of Lap 1, in a weird way, and let him by."

J.R. Hildebrand picked up two spots from his sixth starting position to finish fourth. Changing track conditions and tire wear made driving on the edge tricky at best. "As we got into the race, the front tires started going off, so that was affecting me on the brakes," reported Hildebrand. "Particularly in some of the slower corners, I was having a tough time keeping up. I fell into the trap of either you're overdriving it a bit or you're just a little bit slow. That was a fine line I crossed over a little bit too far a couple of times."

Logan Gomez qualified fourth, a season best for Guthrie Racing, and finished fifth. Gomez said he was passed before the green flag appeared but Antinucci was the only driver called for jumping the start.

"It was a tough race," said Gomez. "We'll see where the inversion goes and see where we'll be starting tomorrow. There wasn't much passing in the race so maybe we can start up front.

With the top eight drivers inverted for the second round of the Infineon Raceway doubleheader, Gomez will start fourth again. The inversion puts Pablo Donoso on the pole with Daniel Herrington starting alongside him on the front row.

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Richard Antinucci , Pablo Donoso , Daniel Herrington , Logan Gomez , J.R. Hildebrand , Franck Perera