Simmon, Kane have tough day in Houston

Team KOOL Green drivers Jeff Simmons and Jonny Kane had a tough day in Sunday's Dayton Indy Lights race on the streets of downtown Houston, as both drivers' races ended before the checkered flag. Kane, who had started fourth, was the first to ...

Team KOOL Green drivers Jeff Simmons and Jonny Kane had a tough day in Sunday's Dayton Indy Lights race on the streets of downtown Houston, as both drivers' races ended before the checkered flag.

Kane, who had started fourth, was the first to experience problems on the race course. On lap 21 of the 45-lap race, as Kane was running third, his gearbox broke and locked up the rear wheels as he was entering turn six. Kane was unable to move away from the corner due to the gearbox problems and first Derek Higgins, then Jason Bright slid on oil from Kane's gearbox and hit his car. Derek Higgins also slid on the oil and hit the wall. Kane was credited with a 13th-place finish.

When the race restarted at the beginning of lap 28, Simmons had moved up to fifth place courtesy of Kane's incident, but his brakes were getting soft. When fourth-place driver Mario Dominguez ran into the back of third-place runner Felipe Giaffone as the field approached turn one, Simmons was forced down the runoff area at turn one when his brakes failed. He rejoined in 10th place but he only made three more laps before coming to pit lane to have the crew attempt to fix the brakes. As he exited pit lane, his brakes failed again and his race ended against the pit wall.

Casey Mears won the race by 1.241-seconds over Townsend Bell and 1.782 seconds in front of third-place finisher Felipe Giaffone.

JEFF SIMMONS , #26 Team KOOL Green Lola T97/20: (Started 8th / Finished 11th)

"The brakes were getting softer before the first caution, and after that the brakes were just going all the way to the floor. I could barely keep up with the field under yellow. The long caution period obviously made it worse because at such slow speeds we weren't getting enough air to the brakes. After we went green again I tried to brake real early going into turn one and still couldn't make the corner. The Team KOOL Green crew decided to give the brakes a quick bleed and that helped a bit. I was trying to beat the pack out of pit lane and the brakes worked the first couple of corners and I got to the end of pit lane and couldn't slow down at all."

JONNY KANE , #27 Team KOOL Green Lola T97/20: (Started 4th / Finished 13th)

"It's a bit unfortunate. Something broke in the gearbox going into turn six. I downshifted into second gear and there was a loud rattle from the rear of the car. The rear end locked up and I spun around in oil from the gearbox. I was trying to drive away again when two cars came into the corner and hit me. From what the boys tell me there was a lot of oil on the road so we wouldn't have been able to continue anyway. I'm obviously disappointed. We started fourth and the Team KOOL Green crew made a good call with the set up for the race. I knew that Derek (Higgins) was holding me up quite a bit at the start and I made a pretty good move on him to get past for third place. We were slightly quicker than the leaders at that time with 30 laps to catch up about six seconds, which would have been tough but I think I could have chipped away and gotten pretty close."

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Casey Mears , Townsend Bell , Derek Higgins , Mario Dominguez , Jonny Kane , Jason Bright , Jeff Simmons