Twenty-three year-old Ana 'Bia' Beatriz of Sam Schmidt Motorsports became the first woman to win an Indy Lights race on Saturday (July 12th) by charging past pole-sitter and teammate James Davison for lead on Lap 33 of 77, then cruising home for...
Twenty-three year-old Ana 'Bia' Beatriz of Sam Schmidt Motorsports became the first woman to win an Indy Lights race on Saturday (July 12th) by charging past pole-sitter and teammate James Davison for lead on Lap 33 of 77, then cruising home for the win at Nashville (Tennesse) SuperSpeedway.
"The track was very green (from earlier rains in the area that washed away the rubber grip) so I started slow and gave up some track position," she said afterwards of the opening laps in which the Brazilian fell from second to fourth place.
"After that the car started to work really well and I was able to pass James for the win. It's really good."
The win is the first for a woman competitor in the twenty-seven year history of the Indy Lights Series, whose history extends back in time to 1981 and its origins as the American Racing Series. Beatriz is the first of five female competitors to earn a victory, adding to her already precedent-making string of three podium finishes to date in this her rookie year in the Indy Lights series.
Second place was won by Team E's Bobby Wilson, who was followed across the line by AFS Andretti Green Racing's Arie Luyendyk Jr.
Championship points leader and Beatriz teammate Richard Antinucci suffered the end of an ignoble weekend of competition by finishing a disappointing twelfth; however, he retained the lead in the season-long race for the Firestone Firehawk Cup by a fifteen points margin over Raphael Matos (who was involved in an opening race-lap spin and finished fifth).
Indy Lights competition continues in one week when the series entertains the fans of central Ohio at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for a Saturday/Sunday double-header rounds eleven and twelve of this sixteen-race 2008 season.