Indy Pro Series driver Jay Howard drove his way home to a victory in the Kentucky 100 at Kentucky Speedway Sunday for his second IPS win on the season and second triumph in his career. The win did not, however, come easily to the Number 7 Lucas ...
Indy Pro Series driver Jay Howard drove his way home to a victory in the Kentucky 100 at Kentucky Speedway Sunday for his second IPS win on the season and second triumph in his career. The win did not, however, come easily to the Number 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver, who emerged from a wild 3-wide last lap dogfight for the checkered flag with runner-up Jonathan Klien and third-place Wade Cunningham.
Finishing a slim nineteen-thousandths of a second ahead of Klien, who collected his best finish ever in the series, Howard survived a bump and grind affair that had numerous incidents of on-track contact and tempers flaring by its end. The close conclusion stands as the second-narrowest in IPS history, bettered only by the remarkably tight 0.0170 sec. finish at Chicagoland Speedway in 2003.
"That was mega! The car was really good. I was patient and I had the opportunity to lead early on. I wasn't going to play cat and mouse games all the way through. Even though Wade had the lead, and I knew I could get by him (at the end)" he said in the post-race winners' circle interview.
Cunningham held the lead by 0.036 seconds going into the white flag 66th lap when Howard maneuvered low on the track to pass him in turn one of the BlueGrass state's premier automobile-racing venue. The race was briefly run under caution when Jaime Camara spun, without injury to himself or to his car in turn three on lap 61, and went green for the final time on lap 65 with Howard at the point.
Afterwards, Cunningham's remarks revealed the hard reality of a tightly- contested competition by saying "Everything was going well, and I knew there was going to be a challenge at the end. It was pretty obvious. At the restart I expected the same courtesy that I give others, but it wasn't there."
"I had a tire cut because I was driven into deliberately. Trying to run the last lap with a flat tire is pretty difficult. I kept my foot in it, hoping not to smash into the wall. I feel we had the best car and would have won today if we'd been given the opportunity.but that's the way it is."
Newly-returned Schmidt Motorsports driver Travis Gregg finished fourth in his Number 77 Lucas Oil/Argosy Casino machine, followed by Sean Guthrie, putting all of the first five finishers beneath a cozy two-tenths of a second blanket.
Sixth-place Nick Bussell and seventh-place Bobby Wilson finished on the same second as the quickest quintet, while Chris Festa, Ben Petter and Mike Potekhen claimed the remaining spots in the top ten.
The first nine cars remained on the lead lap for the duration of the event, run at an average speed of 156.752 miles per hour on the 1.5 mile oval in Sparta, Kentucky.
There were six lead changes and nine caution laps, the only serious yellow brought out by Alex Lloyd's brush with the wall on the initial lap of the event.