IPS: Watkins Glen I: Race report

CUNNINGHAM TAKES FIRST CORNING TWIN 100 WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Saturday, July 7, 2007 -- Wade Cunningham rebounded from a crash in the morning qualifying session and led every lap to win the first Corning Twin 100. Cunningham, who earned the pole...


WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Saturday, July 7, 2007 -- Wade Cunningham rebounded from a crash in the morning qualifying session and led every lap to win the first Corning Twin 100.

Cunningham, who earned the pole with his time from Saturday's qualifying, held off a late charge from Hideki Mutoh to claim his first win of the season and fifth win of his career.

* This is Wade Cunningham's first win of the season and the fifth of his Indy Pro Series career. His last victory came in September 2006 at Chicagoland -- eight races ago.
* This is Cunningham's first win at Watkins Glen. He finished third in 2005 and second last year.
* Hideki Mutoh finished second -- his eighth top five finish in nine starts.
* Alex Lloyd finished third, his worst finish of the season. Lloyd has recorded top-three finishes in every race this season.
* The margin of victory -- .0758 of a second -- is the 13th closest finish in the Indy Pro Series and the closest finish on a road/street course.
* Wade Cunningham chose the No. 6 starting spot in the post-race draw. The top six finishers will be inverted for Sunday's race.


WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, winner Corning 100 #1): "It feels like we belong here (in Victory Lane). We've had quick times and a couple of good showings, but really put it together today." (About a closer finish than expected): "I've been pretty loose on the high-speed stuff all day, and I was just taking it easy and just forgot about how much momentum we're really carrying there, so I could see Hideki coming. I downshifted and just had to drag him a little bit to the flag. I wasn't really too concerned. I'm just happy we got the win."

HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 55 Panther Racing, finished second): "I was right behind Wade (Cunningham). And I tried to pass him as he came every lap. But I couldn't make it. And the last lap looks like I got close to him. So I tried again, but it didn't happen. I still have tomorrow, so I'll go for it.

ALEX LLOYD (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished third): "We really messed up today, to be honest. We just had no straight line speed. Once Hideki got around me, that was it. We were so slow on the straights that overtaking was almost impossible. We used up all of our tires reeling back in the leaders midway through the race. By the time I got there, the tires were gone. It's disappointing. We had a car that was physically capable of winning the race. If we just would have done a very small thing, we could have been in Victory Lane today."

PHIL GIEBLER (No. 12 Playa Del Racing, finished fourth): "It was a very competitive, tough race for everybody out there. From the very beginning, it was very tough. My Playa Del car took a few laps to get going. Once we got the tires heated up and everything going, we started to settle back in. It was good, and I was running good lap times. We've just got to work on it a little more. I had an eventful race. I moved up to fourth pretty quick. I almost got passed on one of the restarts. We all got bottled up. I almost got passed but I stayed in front, of (Daniel) Herrington I think it was. On the next restart, I got (Alex) Lloyd. That was really good. I thought I had more for (Hideki) Mutoh and I was focusing on him and (Wade) Cunningham. Lloyd made a pretty good move on me on the hill of "The Boot". I just had to give him room. There was nothing I could do at that point once he was committed. He was faster and was definitely going to pass me at some point. I struggled to keep Bobby Wilson behind me the rest of the way so I tried to stay consistent. The car was pretty tough to drive consistently. It's something we have to work on for tomorrow. Hopefully we'll find a little more speed to compete for the top three. That's the best finish for Playa Del Racing yet."

BOBBY WILSON (No. 1 Ocala Gran Prix, finished fifth): "I had a good race going there with Phil (Giebler). I started 10th and made up some ground. The car was pretty good in some areas. I got a little bit of aero push when I started getting close behind Phil. I had to save the car for the end, and I put together the best laps of the race at the end. I used it all up. Phil was right there the whole time, and I came up a car length behind him. That's how it goes."

Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, Indy Racing League director of medical services: Chris Festa and Ryan Justice were checked and released from the infield care center. Both are cleared to drive.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Alex Lloyd , Ryan Justice , Chris Festa , Wade Cunningham , Bobby Wilson , Hideki Mutoh
Teams Panther Racing