Ana Beatriz led her Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammates Wade Cunningham and James Hinchcliffe across the finish line at Iowa Speedway, marking the first time an Indy Lights team has scored a 1-2-3 finish. Beatriz's second career victory is the ...
Ana Beatriz led her Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammates Wade Cunningham and James Hinchcliffe across the finish line at Iowa Speedway, marking the first time an Indy Lights team has scored a 1-2-3 finish. Beatriz's second career victory is the Indianapolis based team's 28th, the most of any team in the series.
Traffic played a major role in the outcome with Beatriz, or Bea as she likes to be called, passing Wade Cunningham as the pair worked their way past lapped cars.
"I was fortunate to find the right time to pass Wade," said Beatriz. "There were a lot of lapped cars out there when that happened."
Held up by Sebastian Saavedra, Cunningham wasn't happy as he had just let Saavedra go past. "Sebastian Saavedra is 25 laps down, running flat out because he has good tires," explained Cunningham. "I was just saving my tires so I let him go. The minute he got in front of me, he slowed down a half-second a lap because he knows I'm fighting him for the championship and he was out of the race. It's probably the most unsportsmanlike thing I've ever seen on racetrack, apart from shunting someone into a wall."
Saavedra reported to the pits with mechanical problems on the pace lap and rejoined the race 25 laps down.
With Beatriz in the lead, Cunningham tried to strike back, but the final lap was run under caution when Pippa Mann and James Davison made contact in Turn two. The caution was shown as Bea was starting the final lap and she narrowly missed being collected by the accident.
For the third consecutive Iowa race, the lap leader did not go to victory lane. Cunningham led 106 laps before being relegated to second place. Beatriz, the only other driver to lead, led the last nine.
Cunningham finished second last year after leading 105 laps.
Cunningham started from the outside of the front row but quickly assumed the lead on the fourth lap. Polesitter J. R. Hildebrand led the first three laps before moving to second, where he came under pressure from Daniel Herrington. Hildebrand slowed at one point before veering into Herrington's path to impede his progress. Hildebrand was penalized for his actions and while under yellow was ordered to drive through the pits when green was restored.
Hildebrand reported to the pits to serve his penalty but another caution came out putting him at the rear of the field. Hildebrand put together a very nice drive to finish sixth.
Mario Romancini put together a notable drive as well, starting 13th and finishing fourth despite a broken weight jacker.
Romancini briefly held onto third place but fell back to fourth, spoiling a 1-2-3-4 finish for Sam Schmidt Motorsports as Gustavo Yacaman finished fifth. "It was a very hard race," said Yacaman. "The car was really hard to drive because we had a lot of push. I just let the race come to me and kept four tires on the car."