SUNNYVALE, Calif. (July 18, 2000) - It's been nearly one year to the day that former Dorricott Racing great Philipp Peter and teammate Casey Mears made the collective racing world stand and take notice by being the key players in modern...
SUNNYVALE, Calif. (July 18, 2000) - It's been nearly one year to the day that former Dorricott Racing great Philipp Peter and teammate Casey Mears made the collective racing world stand and take notice by being the key players in modern motorsports closest race finish in recorded history. Could history repeat itself this weekend?
Other than being a race where Peter and Mears were figuratively linked nose-to-tail along with former teammate and current CART FedEx rising star, Oriol Servia, for 98 of 100 laps, Peter won the race by an infinitesimal 0.002-seconds over Mears. It was a finish so close that even trained eyes could not determine by stop-action photos who had won the race.
Peter was literally halfway around Michigan Speedway before he received word that he had prevailed. However, none of that matters to Mears anymore. What does matter is this weekend and another opportunity to etch his name in the Michigan record books as one of its finest racers.
Dorricott Racing returns to Michigan Speedway with a certainty that its driver trio of Australian Jason Bright, and Californians Casey Mears and Townsend Bell are championship contenders. The only other certainty is that the Dayton Indy Lights Championship is far from decided, making the Detroit News 100 at Michigan Speedway, Saturday, July 23, all the more important for Bright, Mears, and Bell.
The 50-lap/100.00-mile Indy Lights race around Michigan Speedway's two-mile superspeedway will be round five of the 12-race series and is scheduled to begin at 4:15 p.m. ET. This will be the fourth Dayton Indy Lights appearance at Michigan and it is the featured support event for the CART FedEx Championship Series Michigan 500, presented by Toyota, set to race the next afternoon. Besides last year, Indy Lights raced at Michigan in 1996 and 1998.
Bright and Mears are banging on the proverbial door of series leader Scott Dixon, of New Zealand. Dixon leads Bright by three points, 56-53, but Mears is hovering in third place with 40 points. Bell presents yet another dynamic as he moved back into title contention following a pole and second place finish at Portland in round four. Bell's 31 points ties him with Brazilian Felipe Giaffone for eighth place.
Bright, who started from the outside pole at Portland, led 37 of 38 laps to cross the finish line 0.354-seconds ahead of Bell and collect his first career Indy Lights win. Bell's runner-up showing combined with his record-shattering qualifying lap of 1:05.275 (108.593 mph) to win the Portland pole proved he is championship material on a team clearly partial to champions. Bell is the first American-born Indy Lights driver to win a pole since Geoff Boss won it in Toronto in 1999.
Mears, meanwhile, has been biting at the bit to get back to Michigan Speedway since finishing seventh at Portland. Mears, who is the son of legendary Off-Road World Champion and Dorricott Racing team manager Roger Mears, has become arguably one of the most consistent driver in Indy Lights history. He has only failed to complete one lap in the last 893 Indy Lights laps dating back through the 1999 season. Mears is also but 1.032-miles short of completing every mile since the beginning of the 1999 season with 1333.450 out of a possible 1334.482 miles.
ESPN2 will provide a delayed telecast of the Detroit News 100, Sunday, July 23, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET (3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT).