LACK OF TRACK TIME HURTS LUCAS PLACE DRIVERS The rainy weather that has hampered the efforts of the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights teams since leaving Homestead once again limited track time at Gateway International Raceway. Strong storms limited ...
LACK OF TRACK TIME HURTS LUCAS PLACE DRIVERS
The rainy weather that has hampered the efforts of the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights teams since leaving Homestead once again limited track time at Gateway International Raceway. Strong storms limited practice time along with the only qualifying session of the weekend.
Due to qualifying being washed out, grid positions were determined by the drivers' best lap time out of the two practice sessions. Cunningham, who was visiting the 1.270-mile oval for the first time, started 12th after using the first session to learn the track. His teammate, Boss struggled to fine tune the handling of his Lola throughout the two sessions and as a result turned the 20th fastest time overall.
In the race, both drivers made good starts and picked up a few positions before rain briefly slowed the field for seven laps. Cunningham, who posted the fastest time in the raceday morning practice session maintained sixth place throughout the event until he encountered traffic on lap 49. In this traffic, Cunningham was slowed by the lapped car of Rodolfo Lavin, who ignored the passing flag given by race officials. After five laps behind Lavin, Cunningham made an attempt to pass the Mexican driver on the inside as they entered turn two. Lavin came down on Cunningham and the two cars touched, sending both cars into the outside wall. Both drivers escaped serious injury despite the serious damage to their race cars. Boss who had made progress on his car throughout the weekend advanced to 15th at the finish after running out of time to move into the points.
"I'm really disappointed for the team and the points that we lost because we had a top five car," said Cunningham. "After five laps behind Lavin I took a chance to pass him and he closed the door on me and my right front tire hit his left rear which put me into the wall at about 110 mph. There was no reason for him to hold me up like that so he might have thought I was Geoff Boss because they were on the same lap and we have identical looking cars. I'll be okay for Milwaukee this week, but I'll be really sore because I have bone bruising from my toes all the way up to my neck."
Boss, despite the team's difficult weekend, feels good about their chances on the Milwaukee Mile. "I was pretty disappointed that we didn't get a chance to qualify because we made a number of changes to the car that would have made it better," said Boss. "In the race we were real close to a good car, but it was too little too late. I feel optimistic about our chances this weekend after the good test that we had there earlier this month despite time we lost due to the rain."
The Milwaukee round of the championship can be seen on ESPN2 at 6:00 p.m. EDT on May 31. Lucas Place Motorsports is profiled in the June issue of Indy Car & Championship Racing Magazine. The article describes the auspicious beginnings of the team through the successes of the season to date.