Loose conditions slow Fike and Witherill. Miami, FL -- Hemelgarn/Johnson teammates Aaron Fike and Cory Witherill both battled ill-handling cars in the IRL Infiniti Pro Series season opener Western Union 100 at Homestead-Miami Speedway March ...
Loose conditions slow Fike and Witherill.
Miami, FL -- Hemelgarn/Johnson teammates Aaron Fike and Cory Witherill both battled ill-handling cars in the IRL Infiniti Pro Series season opener Western Union 100 at Homestead-Miami Speedway March 2.
20-year-old Fike, starting from the outside of Row 2, had turned quick lap times throughout the weekend and was eager to capture his second Infiniti Pro Series victory. During the final morning practice session, the USAC Midget ace had reported a slight push. By race time, it was a totally different car.
When the green flag dropped, the No. 91 RFMS/Hemelgarn Racing Infiniti-powered Dallara chassis slipped out of the top-five and Fike struggled to stay in the top-ten.
"The car was evil," said Fike. "I was fighting loose conditions most of the race. As the race went on, I got looser and looser, especially in Turn 4. I played with the weight-jacker, but nothing seemed to help."
A disappointed Fike brought home an eighth place finish and earned 24 points towards the series points standings.
Witherill, of Santa Monica, Calif., had qualified ninth on the grid at 161.909 mph and quickly picked up a few spots at the start of the 67-lap event. However, Cory would soon find himself fighting to remain in control of his No. 92 WSA Healthcare Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone chassis. On Lap 2 he felt the backend of the car coming around on him and spun in Turn 2.
"We had a good start, but then the rear end broke loose and spun around on me," said Witherill, 30. "I was really surprised. I almost thought I had it saved. Luckily, I kept it off the wall by punching the accelerator."
Navajo Witherill continued on the 1.5-mile oval but severely loose handling conditions would prevent him from running up front. On Lap 34 Cory pulled onto pit lane for a wing adjustment; unfortunately it did not make a difference. A persistent Witherill finished 12th, earning just 18 points.
The next Infiniti Pro Series race is Saturday, March 22 at Phoenix International Raceway.