Battistini Wins at Iowa; Sherman Finishes Fourth on Short Oval NEWTON, Iowa. (June 21, 2008) -- Panther driver Dillon Battistini captured another race victory Saturday in the Jeld Wen 100 at Iowa Speedway, and took over the Firestone Indy...
Battistini Wins at Iowa; Sherman Finishes Fourth on Short Oval
NEWTON, Iowa. (June 21, 2008) -- Panther driver Dillon Battistini captured another race victory Saturday in the Jeld Wen 100 at Iowa Speedway, and took over the Firestone Indy Lights Championship lead in the process. Battistini's Panther teammate, Brent Sherman also had a good showing in the race, bringing his Delphi National Guard machine across the finish line in fourth place.
Competing in his first season in the Firestone Indy Lights Championship, Battistini has managed to reach Victory Lane for the third time, with all his wins coming on oval tracks -- Homestead, Indianapolis and now Iowa Speedway. Coming into the year, Battistini had never raced on an oval course, making his victories all the more remarkable.
After starting second and running there for most of the race, the driver of the No. 15 AlexP racecar was able to take advantage of lap traffic and make his move for the lead. On lap 101, as leader Arie Luyendyk Jr. got caught up in lapped traffic, Dillon took the lead from the winless Indy Lights veteran and never gave it back. The team's British driver was able to fend off Luyendyk Jr. on a restart with one lap to go to win by 0.4948 of a second.
The victory is Panther's 12th in Firestone Indy Lights, and puts the team in prime position to make a run at its second Indy Lights title.
Sherman, who started the race in fifth position, moved up to finish in the fourth spot after battling cars around him for position all race long. After falling back at the beginning of the race, the driver of the Delphi National Guard racecar made several strong moves, and ended the race one spot off his best finish of the year, earning his second Top 5 of the season.
The race results nearly duplicated the duos performance from the first race of the season at Homestead where Dillon won and Brent finished third. Battistini's third victory of the season propelled him to first place in the championship standings, 27 points ahead of the second place driver. The fourth place finish by Sherman vaulted him up four spots in the championship race to eighth position, 88 points back of Battistini, but just 48 points out of third.
Panther Racing's Firestone Indy Lights duo will be in action next in two weeks at Watkins Glen International competing in the Corning Twin 100's. The races will be held on Saturday July 5th with the first race beginning at 11:15 a.m. EST and the second race beginning at 3:20 p.m. EST. The Jeld Wen 100 will air on ESPN2 June 26th at 5:30 p.m. EST and the Corning Twin 100's will air on ESPN2 July 10th at 2 p.m. EST.
Dillon Battistini, No. 15 AlexP Firestone Indy Lights:
"I'm just amazed. What a race; I really enjoyed that. My car was very close to (Arie) Luyendyk and we were very close to matching pace. We lapped a few cars several times and we both got held up, so I realized if I dropped back a little bit and when he got held up I might be able to carry a run on him and it worked perfectly. There was a little bit of luck involved but I can't thank my Panther team enough for the cars they've given me this season. These guys are the best for a reason and we're proving it this season."
Brent Sherman, No. 16 Delphi National Guard:
"It was a good run for us today in the Delphi National Guard car. On the last restart I was making a move for third place and had the pass made, but I got hung up behind a lapped car and had to slow way down. Then it looked like cars were going to pass me on both sides, but I got it back going and was able to bring it home fourth. This is a strong result for the team, and I'm happy that my teammate was able to get another victory. We made some major improvements since we tested here and it paid off."