IPS: Watkins Glen: Race notes

WILSON WINS FIRST IN CORNING 100 WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Sunday, June 4, 2006 -- Bobby Wilson fended off the rain, fog, changing track conditions and then reigning series champion Wade Cunningham to win the Corning 100 by 3.2795 seconds. Wilson's...


WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Sunday, June 4, 2006 -- Bobby Wilson fended off the rain, fog, changing track conditions and then reigning series champion Wade Cunningham to win the Corning 100 by 3.2795 seconds. Wilson's Kenn Hardley Racing teammate, Phil Giebler, was a close third.

On a Lap 18 restart (after the No. 52 car driven by Nick Bussell stalled between Turns 7 and 8), Wilson's nose was a few feet off Cunningham's gearbox heading into Turn 1. He moved to the inside and completed the pass at the exit.

"It's a wonderful feeling," said Wilson, who won the SWE Race Car Parts Pole Award and moved to second behind Jay Howard in the series standings. "The team worked so hard this weekend just adapting the car to the set-up. It was kind of iffy conditions. Just staying on the track and adapting to the conditions paid off."


* This is Bobby Wilson's first career victory in the Indy Pro Series in his eighth start in the series. His previous-best finish was fifth at Homestead-Miami Speedway earlier this year.

* This is Kenn Hardley Racing's second win of the season and the sixth in the Indy Pro Series. It won at Homestead-Miami Speedway with Jeff Simmons and four times previously with Simmons, including the inaugural Corning 100 in 2005.

* Wade Cunningham finished second. He has finished in the top two in each of his last two Indy Pro Series starts and in the top 10 in each of his 17 starts in the Indy Pro Series.

* Phil Giebler finished a season-best third, his best finish since he finished third at California Speedway in 2004.

* Nick Bussell failed to finish a race for the first time in his Indy Pro Series career (19 starts.)


BOBBY WILSON (No. 24 Kenn Hardley Racing, winner Corning 100): "The visibility was zero at times, especially when you're following people. The concrete patches were really slippery, so it was key to stay off of those. I'm really happy. It's our second outing together. Kenn Hardley Racing is a great operation, and I'm glad to be part of it." (About conditions): "It didn't really get too bad until the end. The beginning was pretty hairy at times. It started to dry up pretty quick in the middle of the race. We just had to conserve tires and not abuse them. I knew I had enough for the end, so I just made the move when I needed to."

WADE CUNNINGHAM: (No. 1 Brian Stewart Racing, finished second): "It was definitely tough to follow. There's so much mist in the air that you just really struggle with your line and your braking. You have to be so aware of what's going on in front of you that it's tough to concentrate on what you have to do in the car. Once you get out front, it's a lot easier. I think the only real passing at the front happened on restarts. I know it was tough. We got the lead that way, but then we lost it. We were great when it was damp. When the track was drying, the car was good then, but we were a bit too low, bottoming out and aquaplaning when it started to rain. There wasn't much that I thought I could do at the end but hold on. Second is better than third. We're disappointed that the win went away."

JAIME CAMARA (No. 11 CELG, finished fourth): "I couldn't see anything from the first lap to the end. My visor started fogging inside from the beginning, and I couldn't see anything. It was a tough race, a very tough race. My car was pretty good. I could make it better on the last laps and I passed Jonathan (Klein) to the fourth position, and that's pretty much what I could do in the race. It was a fourth-place car."

JONATHAN KLEIN (No. 27 Klein Tools/Turn-Key Forging, finished fifth): "I'm glad it was wet because, had it been dry, we didn't have the car to compete. So it was good that it was wet. We stayed clean for the whole race, and we eventually got up to third with Alex Lloyd dropping out. Then my tires started going off toward the end; the fronts, and I didn't have a lot of front-end grip, so I slowly got picked off by two more guys. We'll take a top-five any day."

JAY HOWARD (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished sixth): "It was miserable out there. It was one of the worst races by the weather conditions that I've ever been in in my life. For about the laps, I couldn't see anything. Water was running in my visor and in my eyes and I'm like 'Oh my God.' It was real miserable. It started to clear up a little, then it started to dry and my car started getting even worse than what it did when it was really wet. And right at the end, every time we had a restart, I'd make sure I was around to make a pass. Every restart but one, I made a position, but then within four or five corners, they could just drive around me whenever they wanted. I think we're in the lead in the championship and I brought it back with all four corners on (the car). Let's go to the next one and try to win the next race."

RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 41 Guthrie Racing Car Crafters Special, finished 13th): "To be honest with you, it was one of the worst races of my life. We actually had a pretty good car. We made some major changes after the qualifying session and the car was really different. Unfortunately, I spun on the second lap and I couldn't get started again and we were two laps down. After that, we were running pretty quick. Since we were two laps down, we couldn't do anything. Towards the end of the race, I had trouble with (CR) Crews. We just came in because we wanted to save the car. That's it."

CHRIS FESTA (No. 51 Cheever Racing Formtek, finished 14th): "It was going alright until I made a mistake and stuffed it in the toe of the boot. We had a good race going. We didn't get to qualify yesterday, and I brought it back up to eighth. Then I made a mistake and cost us the whole day." (About the conditions): "It's pretty bad. I mean it was going green, and you can basically imagine yourself being blind, flat out and brake when you think the time's right. It's literally that bad, it's no exaggeration. It's definitely treacherous."

NICK BUSSELL (No. 52 Cheever Racing, finished 15th): "It started out good, and then we developed some problem and not quite exactly sure what it was the car just turned off. I got re-started and thought it was going to run, and it didn't. So I was out. I was trying to be patient, and I thought maybe we could pick up a couple spots and see if I could get some other guys into some mistakes. It's so hard to pass in the rain that you're not going to pass any guys, unless some of them go off."


The 2006 IRL IndyCar Series continues with the Bombardier 500k at 9 p.m. (EDT) on June 10 at Texas Motor Speedway. The race will be televised live by ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPN Deportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 145 "IndyCar Racing" and www.indycar.com. The fifth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Liberty Challenge on July 1 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. ESPN2's coverage of the Corning will be televised at 2 p.m. (EDT) on June 8.


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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Jeff Simmons , Alex Lloyd , Nick Bussell , Phil Giebler , Wade Cunningham , Bobby Wilson , Jay Howard