BATTISTINI WINS SPIRITED FIRESTONE FREEDOM 100 Antinucci takes points lead with second-place finish INDIANAPOLIS - Dillon Battistini won the sixth Firestone Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from the pole, leading 38 of 40 laps...
BATTISTINI WINS SPIRITED FIRESTONE FREEDOM 100
Antinucci takes points lead with second-place finish
INDIANAPOLIS - Dillon Battistini won the sixth Firestone Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from the pole, leading 38 of 40 laps to record his second career victory in Firestone Indy Lights.
Battistini was challenged throughout the race, never leading by more than half of a second. James Davison led Lap 4, and 2006 race winner Wade Cunningham led Lap 7.
Richard Antinucci, the nephew of 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr., finished second, 0.2458 of a second behind Battistini. Antinucci's third second-place finish of the season was good enough to help him regain the series points lead, 179-176, over Battistini.
Cunningham finished third, Robbie Pecorari finished fourth and Ana Beatriz finished fifth.
Jeff Simmons, who will start 24th in Sunday's Indianapolis 500, finished eighth after starting 10th. It was his fourth top-eight finish in as many starts in the Firestone Freedom 100.
Al Unser III, Sean Guthrie and Arie Luyendyk Jr., all sons of past Indianapolis 500 competitors, finished 11th, 12th and 14th, respectively, all improving at least four positions during the race.
J.R. Hildebrand, who entered the race as the points leader, started 21st and moved up as high as third on Lap 26. However, he and Davison were forced to pit for flat tires after they made contact on Lap 30 as they battled three-wide with Antinucci for third. Hildebrand finished 24th.
Run under sunny skies a day after being postponed by rain, the Firestone Freedom 100 featured a record 27 cars on the starting grid.
Running three Firestone Indy Lights cars wasn't enough for Jim Guthrie, so he has added a fourth car to his growing team.
Guthrie announced May 23 that he has merged his three-car effort with Mile High Motorsports and will run the #54 Mile High Motorsports Dallara under the Guthrie Racing banner. Micky Gilbert, owner/driver of Mile High Motorsports, remains the driver of the car and will join drivers Logan Gomez, Sean Guthrie and Tom Wieringa in today's Firestone Freedom 100.
Gilbert is back with the team that give him his first start in the Indy Lights series and will join full-season drivers Logan Gomez and Sean Guthrie, along with Tom Wieringa driving the number 55 car for the Firestone Freedom 100, to compete for the championship.
JIM GUTHRIE (Owner, Guthrie Racing):
"We are all excited to have Mickey joining the team for the rest of the season and into the foreseeable future. He has showed amazing driving ability over the years and presents himself very well off of the track. I am proud to have Mickey representing the team."
"Before joining the team, it was like being on an island with nothing to compare myself with. Now with teammates, the technical assistance will be 100 percent better. Having discussions with actual drivers that are out there racing is invaluable. In 2005, I ran against Sean (Guthrie) in the Star Mazda Series, and for some reason we were always right next to each other on the track."
IZOD has signed on as a clothing sponsor of Guthrie Racing driver Logan Gomez. The company's logo appears on the engine cover of the No. 23 Menards/Guthrie Racing car.
The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Milwaukee 100 on June 1 at The Milwaukee Mile. The Firestone Freedom 100 will be telecast at 1 p.m. EDT May 31.