Fike earns first win; title race goes to wire. JOLIET, Ill., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2002 -- USAC short-track star Aaron Fike earned his first career Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series victory on Sept. 8, winning the Chicagoland 100 at Chicagoland ...
Fike earns first win; title race goes to wire.
JOLIET, Ill., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2002 -- USAC short-track star Aaron Fike earned his first career Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series victory on Sept. 8, winning the Chicagoland 100 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Fike edged runner-up Arie Luyendyk Jr. by .0755 of a second for the win in the No. 91 Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. He started ninth in the 14-car field.
"It was awesome," Fike said. "I haven't had the year I expected to have. I just wanted to finish every race, and that didn't really happen. We got caught up in some wrecks and things happened. I'm just happy to be here in victory lane today."
Tom Wood finished a career-best third in the No. 9 Super 8 Motels/Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry, with Marty Roth a career-best fourth in the No. 3 Biltmore Homes/Marty Roth/Brian Stewart Racing entry. Ronnie Johncox rounded out the top five in the No. 8 REV 1 Racing entry.
Points leader A.J. Foyt IV finished sixth in the No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing entry. His point lead over Luyendyk shrank to just 28 points entering the season-ending BG Products 100 on Sept. 14 at Texas Motor Speedway.
"I made a mistake and got out of line," Foyt said. "Everyone was driving pretty defensively, and I couldn't make my way back up there. We'll just have to go to Texas and try to win the championship there."
Fike, from Galesburg, Ill., took the lead for good on Lap 50, the first lap of the final restart of the 67-lap race. But his lead never reached two-tenths of a second over the last 17 laps as he hung on to win at his home track.
It was the fourth runner-up finish in six starts this season for Luyendyk, the hard-luck kid of the new Indy Racing League development series.
"Unfortunately, we've finished second four times out of six races. I'm hurting for a win here, but I am sure it will come soon."
Ed Carpenter is the third and final driver eligible for the title at the season finale. Carpenter is 42 points behind Foyt after finishing seventh in the No. 2 Menards/Jack K. Elrod Co./Futaba/Delphi entry.