IPS: Indianapolis II: CR Crews race notes

Crews Finishes Sixth In His Second Indy Pro Series Race Saturday in Indianapolis INDIANAPOLIS, July 3 - In the past 30 days CR Crews of Dallas has competed in the first two Indy Pro Series races of his career, and he's finished in the top 10 in...

Crews Finishes Sixth In His Second Indy Pro Series Race Saturday in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS, July 3 - In the past 30 days CR Crews of Dallas has competed in the first two Indy Pro Series races of his career, and he's finished in the top 10 in both of them.

Crews, who turned 18 on May 30, is one of the youngest drivers ever to compete in the official support series of the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series.

Despite that he was able to follow up his ninth-place finish at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. on June 4 with a sixth-place finish at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway here Saturday in the Liberty Challenge.

What's more, he gained more positions than any other driver in Saturday's race, starting 16th and finishing sixth.

Saturday's 23-lap event was held on IMS's 2.605-mile, 13-turn road course and supported the United States Grand Prix Formula One race. The race at Watkins Glen was held in a pouring rain, but this one was held under sunny skies and near 90-degree temperatures, with a track temperature of 133.

It will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 2 p.m. (EDT) this Thursday, July 6.

Crews drove in both events for Michael Crawford Motorsports, a young and energetic, although not yet fully funded, team.

"We struggled at the test and in practice, so for the race we tried some radical set-up stuff and it paid off," Crews said after the race, which turned out to be one of survival even though all but four of the 18 starters finished. "The car was really good.

"Since we made so many changes, I knew the car would be completely different at the start, but right away it felt good so I started pushing hard," he related. "Every chance I had I went for it. The start and the restart were good for me.

"On the initial start the engine flooded a little so I didn't have much going into Turn One, but then it cleared out and I started making up spots from there," he added.

Crews advanced to 13th by the end of lap one when Bobby Wilson, Chris Festa and Jay Howard ran into problems at the drop of the green. Jamie Camara dropped back on lap three to move him up to 12th, and he got up to 11th when Jon Herb fell back on lap four.

Crews stayed in 11th place for the next six laps while he tried to pass Brett Van Blankers while keeping Camara behind him. Van Blankers spun in Turn Four on lap 12 to move Crews into the top 10 for the first time. At that point he got caught up in a heated battle with Phil Giebler, who was running ninth.

Wade Cunningham, who had been second despite being involved in the lap one scuffle, retired on lap 14 due to a problem with his accelerator pedal. That moved Giebler and Crews up to eighth and ninth, respectively. They both advanced one more spot on lap 17 when the sixth-place car of Scott Mansell, Crews' teammate, lost power, caught fire and rolled to a stop in Turn Two of the oval. Right before the event's only full-course yellow waved on lap 20 to retrieve Mansell's Dallara, Crews got around Giebler to nail down seventh place.

He stayed in that position on the restart on lap 22, although that's when he had his closest call. "On the restart Nick Bussell got on the grass and Mike Potekhen spun in Turns One and Two. I went between them both," he said afterwards. Bussell was able to regroup to finish right ahead of Crews but Potekhen dropped from fourth to 11th. Crews kept out of trouble and took the checkered in sixth, right between Bussell and Giebler.

Alex Lloyd won the event over Graham Rahal and Jonathan Klein.

"My best battle was with Phil Giebler," Crews noted. "I was behind him longer than anybody else, but I was finally able to pass him. Our cars were pretty evenly matched, but I finally caught up to him. Then he got a little deep in Turn One and I got under him, and then we went side-by-side into Turn Two and I got by him on the inside in Turn Three.

"The tires were good at the start, but we all fell off some at the end," he added. "I think I managed my tire wear better than some of the others.

"I went into this with an all-or-nothing attitude," he said. "This is only my second Indy Pro race and we're not going for points. We qualified 16th, wh ich is one row from the back. Then we made so many changes to the set-up that it was either going to work or it wasn't going to work. I wasn't stupidly aggressive, but I pushed hard and made every opportunity I had count."

Crews said his next Indy Pro Series race at the moment will be the doubleheader at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Aug. 26-27. "There are some other possibilities, but that's it right now," he said.

"It was great to get the opportunity to race at Indy," he added. "It's a great track. The crowd is bigger here than where we normally race. It's special to be part of any race here. I hope to someday get to race in the 500 too; that's my goal!

"I want to thank my dad and my grandfather, especially my grandfather, and the groups that helped get me here: Magnus Energy Marketing, CR Crews Capital Investment Group, ZOOM, Sign-A-Rama in North Dallas and Restart Communications," he concluded. "And I also want to thank everyone at Michael Crawford Motorsports. We struggled, but no one got negative. Everyone here has the same goal in mind: to finish as far up as we can, and that's what we did today."

-crcrews.com

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Graham Rahal , Alex Lloyd , Nick Bussell , Chris Festa , Phil Giebler , Wade Cunningham , Bobby Wilson , Jay Howard , Jonathan Klein , Scott Mansell , Jamie Camara