IPS: St. Louis: Hemelgarn Racing race notes

Witherill scores second top-three of season, Fike sixth. Madison, IL -- Cory Witherill and his Hemelgarn/Johnson team earned a second-place podium finish of the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series season at Gateway International Raceway August 9.

Witherill scores second top-three of season, Fike sixth.

Madison, IL -- Cory Witherill and his Hemelgarn/Johnson team earned a second-place podium finish of the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series season at Gateway International Raceway August 9. Teammate Aaron Fike took home sixth despite having struggled throughout the weekend.

Witherill, who recorded four podiums including a victory in 2002, had run much of the 80-lap event in the fourth position before a late-race crash involving leader Mark Taylor and Brandon Erwin boosted him to second.

"I had a pretty good, consistent car for most of the race," Witherill said. "I knew we had a car that could have won. I just didn't get that good of a start, so I just kind of hung in there in fourth.

"With a few laps to go, there was a crash with the leader and second place. They took each other out, so with that, we inherited second place.

Witherill praised his Hemelgarn/Johnson team and the tremendous job they did building a new race car after his No. 92 WSA Healthcare Dallara chassis was destroyed in an unfortunate crash at Michigan.

"I knew the crew could do an awesome job of putting it together. We've been kind of struggling to get the good luck and the good finishing position. I guess this is kind of a payback. It was an awesome job by the Hemelgarn/Johnson team."

Witherill remains seventh in the series point standings but has closed the gap on the top-five, trailing fifth-place Tom Wood by four.

Fike, winner of the 2003 Pikes Peak race, struggled throughout practice and his qualifying run. Failing to find the proper setup necessary to run up front, Fike started 9th on the grid.

"We didn't have a very good qualifying effort," Fike said. "If we would have started a little bit better, I think we could have been up front with Cory. Wherever you fell in line at the start is where you pretty much ended up. It is pretty hard to pass anybody out there."

Nevertheless, Fike's persistency and never give up attitude landed him a sixth place finish.

"We finished sixth out of eight cars running at the end and the biggest thing was that we survived. There is kind of a lot of attrition when it comes to St. Louis. The track is really tight and narrow so you're going to have a lot of carnage."

Fike is sixth in points, a mere point ahead of Witherill.

The Gateway 100 will be televised on ESPN2 at 2 pm (EDT) on August 15.

The next Infiniti Pro Series event is the Kentucky 100 August 16 at Kentucky Speedway.

-hr-

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Mark Taylor , Cory Witherill , Brandon Erwin , Aaron Fike , Tom Wood