IPS: Taylor wins Fontana, clinches championship

Mark Taylor won his seventh Menards Infiniti Pro Series race, clinching the championship with one race remaining on the schedule. Taylor started from the pole in Saturday's California 100, which quickly turned into a two-car race when outside pole...

Mark Taylor won his seventh Menards Infiniti Pro Series race, clinching the championship with one race remaining on the schedule. Taylor started from the pole in Saturday's California 100, which quickly turned into a two-car race when outside pole sitter Ed Carpenter and Taylor pulled away from the field.

Taylor and Carpenter were able to race side by side throughout the race but Carpenter was never able to pull ahead at the line. Taylor, who crossed the finish line 2.5148 seconds ahead of Carpenter, was credited with leading all 50 laps.

When the temperatures increased in the afternoon, Taylor knew he would have an advantage. "We found that yesterday afternoon we had an advantage over everybody else in the hot weather. I was looking forward to the race. Especially as the wind picked up, we were able to take advantage of the conditions."

Carpenter's car developed a push, preventing him from successfully challenging Taylor for the victory. "The wind made it really hard," said Carpenter. "I was pushing. I think everyone behind me was pushing. Being in second place was a disadvantage because he was able to take a little bit more air off my wing, and we were already having problems pushing."

Thiago Medeiros started fourth and finished third. Medeiros moved into third position early in the race, running comfortably to the finish. "There was a lot of wind," said Medeiros. "I was trying to keep the pace like the leaders, but I couldn't stay with them. I was shifting every lap, because the winds here make a big difference."

G.J. Mennen made the right decision in selecting his fifth gear, as he was able to run the entire track without shifting. Mennen, who tied his career best with a fourth place finish, would lightly touch the rev-limiter at the end of the front stretch, where everyone was running with a with a tailwind. On the backstretch, he found that fifth gear was perfect.

"It was a good race for us," said Mennen. "We've struggled a little bit all year, but now we've turned things around.

Dreyer and Reinbold engineer Mark Weida recently joined Mennen's team.

Billy Roes rounded out the top five with Aaron Fike and Matt Beardsley sixth and seventh, respectively. Jeff Simmons, Cory Witherhill and Arie Luyendyk rounded out the top ten.

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Mark Taylor , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Roe , Aaron Fike , Matt Beardsley , G.J. Mennen , Jeff Simmons , Ed Carpenter , Thiago Medeiros