Sears Point II: Series race notes

SONOMA, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 24, 2008 - Pablo Donoso earned his first career Firestone Indy Lights victory, winning the Valley of the Moon 100 by 2.0601 seconds over Logan Gomez. Raphael Matos finished sixth, extending his points lead to three...

SONOMA, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 24, 2008 - Pablo Donoso earned his first career Firestone Indy Lights victory, winning the Valley of the Moon 100 by 2.0601 seconds over Logan Gomez. Raphael Matos finished sixth, extending his points lead to three over Richard Antinucci, who finished seventh. The season finale is Sept. 7 at Chicagoland Speedway.

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FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-RACE NOTES:

* This is Pablo Donoso's first career victory in Firestone Indy Lights.

* This is the first victory for Team Moore Racing.

* Donoso becomes the record-setting ninth driver to win a race this season. Other winners include Dillon Battistini, Raphael Matos, Richard Antinucci, J.R. Hildebrand, Bobby Wilson, Ana Beatriz, James Davison and Franck Perera.

* Logan Gomez finished a season-best second. His previous best was third in St. Petersburg 2.

* Ana Beatriz finished third, her eighth top-five finish of the season.

* J.R. Hildebrand finished fourth, his eighth top-five finish of the season.

* Raphael Matos finished sixth and holds a three-point lead over Richard Antinucci in the championship with one race remaining.

* Antinucci finished seventh.

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FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-RACE QUOTES:

PABLO DONOSO (No. 22 TMR-Cristal-Xtreme Coil Drilling, first): "This is great. This is a beautiful day. I'm pretty happy, and I love this track. I won here in 2005 (in Star Mazda), so now I've repeated in 2008. I had an awesome car. Team Moore Racing gave me a beautiful car. I did the job. I finished first. But it's just not me, it's the team, my family, my manager. This is for all the people who supported me in Chile."

LOGAN GOMEZ (No. 23 IZOD Menards Guthrie Racing, second): "We had something for (Pablo Donoso), it's just every time you go into a braking zone, all the air is off the cars. And with it being so hot today and a bunch of different rubber on the track, we were just locking up tires. We had a few moments out there, I fell back to Pablo (Donoso), but overall it was a good race. It was a big improvement from where we started at the Open Test, when we were about 11th or 12th. So we'll take a fifth and a second from a weekend in California."

ANA BEATRIZ (No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, third): "It was a good race. Unfortunately, during the restart I was a little bit stuck behind (Pablo) Donoso. It was so hard to pass, but when someone made a mistake you could pass, and we got another podium. It's fantastic. I'm really thankful for my Healthy Choice Sam Schmidt crew. They worked really hard this weekend. I don't know what happened behind us, but I hope we can still fight for the championship."

J.R. HILDEBRAND (No. 25 Allied Building Products, fourth): "It was just tough to pass out there. We were running on a little bit less aero than everyone else. It was helping us stay up, but it was making it so every time I got close I'd kind of lose the front end and wash back off. As you can see, we've got guys that were running faster lap times than us yesterday that couldn't get by, so that's kind of unfortunate. We could have really stood to finish ahead of Bia (Ana Beatriz) just for the points. But we're looking pretty good going into Chicago. We've had good runs on the big tracks, so I think we should be looking pretty good."

FRANCK PERERA (CJ Consulting Guthrie Racing, fifth): "Yesterday was a good race. It was a good opportunity to pick out the numbers (for the inverted start), but I picked the wrong number. I think the way they do that is not very good. It's good for all the drivers especially at this track because there's not much passing, so it's a very boring race. It was good that (Richard) Antinucci, (Raphael) Matos and myself did some fighting out there. The car was good again, but you cannot overtake here. I just tried to be close to them, and I knew that I could have the opportunity to pass them, and it happened. After that I had just one lap and I was catching them (the race leaders) like crazy. I think I was almost the fastest lap, so I thought we could win again today for sure."

RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 26 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, sixth): "I feel great. That's what we needed coming out of here. The inversion of the second race made things very, very difficult. I was clearly faster than Richard (Antinucci). Unfortunately, he blocked me four or five times. He didn't give me any room, and that's what happened. I'm very happy that I made the pass and continue leading the championship, and we'll go into Chicago competing for the championship."

RICHARD ANTINUCCI (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, seventh): "All of the opposition is very difficult this year to pass. Everyone was stationary, and we're all having control gaps. There was a DNF car in the middle of Turn 8, and he was on line, so we all got a little bunched up. I chose my line from the beginning. In the backstraight, (Raphael) Matos went to the outside and cut the track, so he came out right behind by cutting the track. That's how he gained the advantage. I chose the inside from the beginning, knowing that he was right on my tail and I would get passed. I can't bank on having the race review that later on so I defended my position from the inside, and he choose the outside and then back inside and just lifted me in the air and pushed me off. I lost two places. I'm OK, a little bruised but I'm OK."

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Richard Antinucci , Pablo Donoso , James Davison , Bobby Wilson , Logan Gomez , J.R. Hildebrand , Ana Beatriz , Dillon Battistini , Franck Perera