Dorricott Racing Milwaukee Race Report

CASEY MEARS AND DORRICOTT RACING TAKE THE LEAD IN THE INDY LIGHTS CHAMPIONSHIP AT MILWAUKEE WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 6, 1999) - Casey Mears has been a model of championship consistency from the start of the Indy Lights season, but he took...

CASEY MEARS AND DORRICOTT RACING TAKE THE LEAD IN THE INDY LIGHTS CHAMPIONSHIP AT MILWAUKEE

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 6, 1999) - Casey Mears has been a model of championship consistency from the start of the Indy Lights season, but he took yet another step in that direction when he assumed the series points lead with an Indy Lights career-best second place finish in round four of the 12-race PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship, Sunday, June 6, at the Milwaukee Mile. Mears success magnified the presence of Dorricott Racing in the Indy Lights series this year as teammates Oriol Servia and Philipp Peter finished fifth and 11th place, respectively. The accumulated points among the three drivers places Dorricott Racing first, fourth, and sixth in the overall driver standings after four races. The potential for disaster lurked in a variety of corners throughout the weekend, but none greater than when Mears crew discovered a blown cylinder in the motor during the pre-race warm-up. That started a mad dash crew scramble to fully replace the broken motor with a new one - and very little precious time to do so. "We lost a cylinder during the final laps of the warm-up session," said Mears. "We didn't even know how bad it was at the time because I was already slowing. We didn't know we were facing a last minute motor replacement situation until a little later when the crew began running their engine check. It was remarkable how the entire team became involved in changing the motor. It just wasn't my crew. All the crew members from all three Dorricott cars came together and did an amazing job." Mears, who qualified sixth with a time of 0:25.262 = 147.067 mph around Milwaukee's 1.033-mile oval, was literally rolled onto the track as the rest of the 19-car field had been given the command to "start" their engines. He was allowed to assume his starting position by blending into the field as it began its parade laps. On the opening lap, Mears flew past Servia, who started third, and Derek Higgins to move into fourth place. Mears remained in complete control of his positioning from that point forward, and took advantage of opportunities to improve his spot when they arose. "We had a distinct push we were trying to iron out in warm-up, so we were a bit apprehensive at the start of the race besides the motor change," said Mears. "We made a couple of changes in warm-up prior to the motor going bad and they seemed to pay off. I still fought some push but not nearly as bad as it was during the start of warm-up." Three caution periods for 32 laps aided Mears as two torrid re-starts caught nearly all by surprise. His first big break came on a lap 38 re-start where he slipped past Felipe Giaffone for third place. His next major break occurred on lap 80 of the 97-lap race when he forged past Tony Renna for second place on a re-start. Mears held Renna off during the remaining laps to clinch his second consecutive podium visit and fourth consecutive top-five finish in the Sooner Trailer/American Custom Racing Wheels Lola. Mears finished fifth place at Homestead and Long Beach, and third place at Nazareth. Servia, meanwhile, maintained a strong presence following a disappointing start, and didn't yield any more ground below sixth place. A single-car accident involving Cory Witherill on lap 30 and the subsequent re-start eight laps later moved Servia's Catalonia/RACC/Elf Lola back into fifth place. "The car was too loose yesterday but we had that solved by race time," said Servia. "However, I battled too much push at the start of the race. A couple of cars passed me in the first two turns including Casey (Mears) because I couldn't maintain speed through the corners. I made a few adjustments with the weight jacking device and the car stabilized for the rest of the race. It wasn't good enough to get past Felipe Giaffone down the stretch though." Peter struggled the entire weekend but ran a tactical race after starting 18th and finished 11th eighth place in the Red Bull/Remus/ESTEBE/Chicco d' Oro Lola. "I didn't expect to earn any points after the way I qualified so I'm pleasantly surprised," said Peter. "Three of the drivers I finished ahead of are key drivers I'm battling for points. That made this a better race than it might have been. "I wish we could have started the weekend with today's race set-up. We fixed all the problems but we found them too late to make a major difference. The balance was better so I could at least keep up with the cars in front of me. We hopefully learned something from this poor showing so we can be more competitive on the next oval." Mears runner-up showing at Milwaukee propels him into first place in the Indy Lights driver standings with 50 points. It is the first time for Dorricott Racing to lead the Indy Lights championship. Servia's fifth place finish earned 10 points and leaves him alone in fourth place with 36 points. Peter, who won at Long Beach in round two, is far from being out of the championship hunt and stands in sixth place with 27 points. Peter was also awarded four Dayton Daytona racing tires for being the "Move to the Front" award recipient by virtue of improving seven positions during the race. Mears trails Airton Dare by three points, 43-40, in the winner-take-all Bosch Platinum+4 Speedway Challenge. Servia is third with 35 points. The next stop for Dorricott Racing will be round five at Portland International Raceway in Portland, Ore., on Sunday, June 20.

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Casey Mears , Airton Daré , Cory Witherill , Oriol Servia , Derek Higgins , Tony Renna , Philipp Peter