Detroit, Mich. (June 16) - Shaking off the pain and frustration of the year's first two races, Jonny Kane (KOOL Lola) scored a dominating win in Round Three of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship at the Raceway on Belle Isle Sunday. The 1999 ...
Detroit, Mich. (June 16) - Shaking off the pain and frustration of the year's first two races, Jonny Kane (KOOL Lola) scored a dominating win in Round Three of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship at the Raceway on Belle Isle Sunday. The 1999 Rookie of the Year led all 32 laps from the pole, set the fastest race lap and was never challenged for the lead. He crossed the finish line 2.902 seconds ahead of Felipe Giaffone (Hollywood Lola) while Casey Mears (Dorricott Racing/Sooner Trailer Lola) finished third.
After winning the pole in Saturday qualifying at a record 103.196 mph average speed (81.840 seconds) around the 2.346-mile road course, Kane led the field when the race started on lap two after the first attempt was waved off. Giaffone, who qualified third, slipped by outside pole-sitter Mears at the start but was never able to mount a serious challenge on Kane. Instead, Giaffone led a close group of race cars for the majority of the race that included Mears, Scott Dixon (Invensys/Powerware/PacWest Lights Lola) and Mario Dominguez (Herdez/Quaker State Lola). Dixon held on to finish fourth while Dominguez finished fifth despite brushing the wall in the final turn on the last lap.
Kane's convincing win came less than two weeks after a horrendous race accident at the Milwaukee Mile where his race car hit the wall, broke apart and slid upside down after a rear wheel failed. Kane escaped serious injury but still felt a little sore during the Detroit race weekend. His victory also made up for a mistake in the season-opening race at Long Beach where Kane over-shot Turn 1 while leading and handed the win to Dixon four laps from the finish.
In addition to the waved off start, Kane's winning average speed of 87.993 mph was slowed by two more caution periods for a pair of accidents. The first was for top Indy Lights rookie Jason Bright who was uninjured when he hit the Turn 12 wall while running in sixth place on lap 12. It is the first time this season Bright has failed to finish a race. The day's second caution was shown for Tony Renna (Motorola/PacWest Lights Lola) who was injured when he hit the wall in Turn 5 on lap 22.
While Kane's win moves him back into the championship picture, Dixon's fourth-place finish has essentially given him a full-race (20 points) lead in the standings. Mears, who recorded his best career qualifying effort and road course finish, has moved to second in the championship with 34 points while Kane and Bright are tied for third with 32 points. Giaffone is fifth in the standings with 31 points.
Light Look - Top Five Light Look - Top Five Points 1. Jonny Kane Scott Dixon 52 2. Felipe Giaffone Casey Mears 34 3. Casey Mears Jonny Kane 32 4. Scott Dixon Jason Bright (R) 32 5. Mario Dominguez Felipe Giaffone 31
Jonny Kane (Team KOOL Green Lola) - "Team KOOL Green did an excellent job this weekend and got the result they deserved. Everything went perfect today from the very start. I was pulling away quite easily and I seemed very quick on the first couple of laps when everyone was on cold tires. The car reacted the same way every single lap throughout the race. It's wonderful when you have days like today. I was a little worried on the restarts because Long Beach went through my mind a little bit. The first restart was really, really good and I probably had a second of lead at the green flag. Both restarts were just perfect."
Felipe Giaffone (Conquest Racing/Hollywood Lola) - "I knew it (the start) might be the only chance to overtake Casey because I knew it would be pretty close between our cars. I gave him plenty of room and that was good. I knew Jonny was faster. At first I saw that I could catch him but after about 15 laps, I could not catch him."
Casey Mears (Dorricott Racing/Sooner Trailer Lola) - "The approach for the first start was great for me. I pretty well kept up with Jonny (Kane) but for some reason we were waved off. Jonny had a good jump on the second time around and that gave Felipe (Giaffone) the room he needed to slip past me on the inside. I held the outside position as best I could so nobody else could pass. It was my best finish on a road course. That says a lot for Dorricott Racing and ultimately to my new engineer, Burke Harrison. I'm very grateful to be working with him this year. Burke does a great job and helped to make me quick every track we've raced or tested. It's allowing me to show my abilities on road courses."
Dayton Tire Awards: Townsend Bell receives four Dayton Daytona racing tires as the Move to the Front award recipient. Bell improved five positions to finish seventh. Todd Snyder receives two Dayton Daytona racing tires as the Dayton Rookie Award recipient. Jonny Kane receives two Dayton Daytona racing tires as the top qualifier.
MCI Worldcom Fast Pace Award: Jonny Kane receives the $1,000 MCI WorldCom Fast Pace Award for his fast lap of 1:22.843 seconds (101.947 mph) on lap 20.
Nation's Cup: New Zealand extends its lead in the Nation's Cup with 52 points. The United States passed Australia for second place with 38 points. Australia has 32 points.
Racing for Kids Award: Casey Mears wins the Racing for Kids Award of $500. An additional $1,500 will be presented to a local children's hospital in the Casey's name.
Television - Tonight!
The Detroit Dayton Indy Lights Championship race will be show in a one-hour show on ESPN2 tonight. The race airs at 7 p.m. ET and 4 p.m. PT.