Jason Bright leads inpoints after Michigan

BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 22, 2000) - - Jason Bright, of Gold Coast, Australia, assumed the lead in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship following a ninth place finish in the Detroit News 100 at Michigan Speedway, Saturday, July 22. ...

BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 22, 2000) - - Jason Bright, of Gold Coast, Australia, assumed the lead in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship following a ninth place finish in the Detroit News 100 at Michigan Speedway, Saturday, July 22. Bright's ninth place finish resulted when CART and Indy Lights officials accepted a post-race complaint from Bright and Dorricott Racing stating that Andy Boss, of Narragansett, R.I., unintentionally passed Bright under a late race yellow flag. A review of the race videotape clearly showed the infraction. Bright was awarded one additional championship point and improved his finishing position from 10th to ninth place. Felipe Giaffone, of Brazil, was the race winner. Bright leads the Dayton Indy Lights Championship with 57 points. Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, went scoreless with a 13th place finish and is in second place with 56 points. Dorricott Racing's Casey Mears, of Bakersfield, Calif., is in third place with 54 points and closely shadowed by Giaffone with 53 points. Dorricott Racing's Townsend Bell, of Costa Mesa, Calif., in fifth place with 43 points. Bright qualified fifth but suffered a slow start that caused him to fall to ninth place by lap 10 of the 50-lap, 100-mile race around Michigan Speedway's two-mile oval. Bright then found his way back through the 18-car field and moved into fifth place on lap 14. Disaster struck Bright on lap 20 when Jeff Simmons, of Indianapolis, Ind., attempted to pass Bright. Rather than complete the pass on the outside, Simmons carelessly edged from high to low on the track and aggressively contacted Bright's right front wing. Bright suffered serious suspension damage and helplessly watched his right front wing fly into the outside wall. "Simmons drove around my outside and started to squeeze me down," said Bright. "When you're in a draft and running as low as you can there isn't any room to give. I couldn't move my front end out of his way. He kept coming down then ran his left rear tire into my right front. That move bent my suspension and tore my front wing off. I had to pit to replace the front wing but unfortunately we couldn't bend the steering arm as straight as we wanted." Bright returned to pit lane where his Dorricott Racing crew was able to replace the damaged nose assembly and wing within 10 seconds. Bright ran one lap under the yellow flag before returning to pit lane for one more cautionary look at his damaged suspension. "The car's damage was hard to assess right away because the push through the corners after the contact was worsened by not having a front wing," said Bright. "We came close to the wall but fortunately avoided contact. I was trying to get a feel on whether I had a broken suspension and it didn't feel good. After the first pit stop, I came back in for another check to be sure nothing was broken." Bright then began a near miraculous recovery when the race resumed on lap 24. The incident pulled Bright down to 17th but he adeptly charged back through the field and moved into fourth place ahead of Bell on lap 43. His momentum, however, began to weaken on lap 44 due to the stress of the damaged suspension. "The biggest problem I had after I returned to the race was the push," said Bright. "I was able to move from 17th to fourth due to finding some drafting partners. What I needed was help whenever I was on the outside line. We couldn't run each time in the train because the push moved me outside. I kept losing positions through the corners and that allowed somebody to go around and tuck inside of me. The only way I could have stayed up front would have been to catch Casey or Townsend. Nobody else was going to give up anything." Controversy leading to a post-race position change occurred on lap 48 when a yellow flag was issued for Rodolfo Lavin, of Mexico, when he lost his front wing due to previous contact with another car. Boss passed Bright under the caution but it wasn't until a close review by Indy Lights officials that moved Bright from 10th place to ninth. This decision officially placed Bright into the Indy Lights championship lead. "It's great that I'm in the lead for the Indy Lights championship," said Bright. "At least we gained some points although I would have liked more. The team did a great job at getting me in and out of the pits. Without them, we wouldn't have scored a point. It's quite an interesting day when you experience a major incident at 185 miles per hour on a superspeedway oval and still move into a championship lead." Bright also won the MCI WORLCOM Fast Pace Award and received a $1,000 (USD) bonus for running the race's fastest lap at 0:37.689-seconds = 191.037 mph on lap 33.. Race results, team, and sponsor information are available on Dorricott Racing's official web site, http://www.dorricottracing.com. Round six of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship will be at the Target Grand Prix of Chicago from Chicago Motor Speedway (Ill.) on Saturday, July 30.

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Casey Mears , Scott Dixon , Townsend Bell , Rodolfo Lavin , Jason Bright , Jeff Simmons