Long Beach Sunday Notes

Sea-Doo/Ski-Doo Win From The Pole Bonus - New this year is the Sea-Doo/Ski-Doo "Win from the Pole" bonus. Any driver winning an Indy Lights race from the pole will earn an additional $1,000. This $1,000 rolls over to the next event ...

Sea-Doo/Ski-Doo Win From The Pole Bonus - New this year is the Sea-Doo/Ski-Doo "Win from the Pole" bonus. Any driver winning an Indy Lights race from the pole will earn an additional $1,000. This $1,000 rolls over to the next event every time a pole winner does not go on to victory in the race. Sergio Paese won the Sea-Doo/Ski-Doo Pole Award in the season opener at Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex but did not win (retiring after contact while challenging for the lead). If Didier Andre wins today his "Win from the Pole" bonus will be $2,000. Warm-up Notes - Cristiano da Matta (Medley/LCI Lola) topped the time sheets in the morning warm-up session with a best lap of 57.599 seconds (98.377 mph). Felipe Giaffone was second quickest at 57.695 seconds in the Hollywood/Banco Sofisa/Caf, do Ponta/MI-JACK Lola. Naoki Hattori (KOOL Lola) completed the top three at 57.815 seconds (98.009 mph). The fastest American driver was Brian Cunningham (LCI/Exide Electronics Lola) at 57.939 seconds (97.799 mph), good for fourth. The session was stopped once for three minutes when Luiz Garcia Jr. (NTS Dream Writer/Petrobas Lola) pulled over between Turn 6 and Turn 7 with a brake problem. Guy Smith - #6 NTS Dream Writer/Swift Caravans Lola (third in championship standings, 10th in warm-up session) "We've been behind and playing catch up all weekend. I've only had two testing days in an Indy Lights car on a road course. We had test days scheduled earlier this week but the truck broke down. We just took a guess on initial set-up and have refined it every session. The team's done a great job under the circumstances but it's clearly not where we'd like to be. Our goal today is to finish in the points." Rapid Race Recap - Cristiano da Matta (Medley/LCI Lola) passed pole-sitter Didier Andre (Motorola/Mack Trucks/PacWest Lola) in Turn One on the first lap and was never passed on his way to victory. Da Matta had to hold off a final challenge from Geoff Boss (LCI/Exide Electronics Lola) after the second and final caution when the race returned to green flag racing with one lap to go. Boss, who fought a 30-lap battle with Andre for second place, continued on to his best career Indy Lights finish behind da Matta. Naoki Hattori drove the KOOL Lola to third place, only one second behind the winner. Cristiano da Matta - #2 Medley/LCI Lola (fourth career victory, first in '98, leading championship) "The start of the race is always different than you imagine it. You think of one thousand different ways it will go and it goes one you never thought of. Didier [Andre] started faster than I expected but I was able to recover and get a pretty good tow. But Sergio [Paese] was right behind me. So I had to make that outside move work for the lead or I might lose second place also. My car was very good under braking with cold tires, so I could go for it. Didier started braking at the 500 sign, I went to the 400. That was a little too deep, I had to lock up the wheels and had to go all the way down to first gear but I think it was the critical move. The leader is always able to pull away a bit every lap here at the exit of Turn Five and the hairpin. "At the end of the race my car had more oversteer than it did earlier. But I think the last yellow was probably to my advantage. It let Geoff [Boss] close up on me but I knew my car was very, very good on cold tires. "I had a bit of pressure on me before today. There is always pressure when you join a new team and want to show you can win with them. Pressure from the outside did not effect me. The pressure all comes from within myself. Now I will be better with this win." Geoff Boss - #14 LCI/Exide Electronics Lola (second, best Indy Lights career finish) "Coming up to the final restart, I knew Cristiano got a great jump on the earlier restart. I miscalculated. I though Cristiano would get a bit better jump and I ended up hitting him in the gearbox. I was a pretty good hit and damaged my wing. But that didn't hurt me too much. My real opportunity might have come if we hadn't had the final yellow. I was closing and I could see that Cristiano's car was oversteering." Naoki Hattori - #27 KOOL Lola (third, best Indy Lights career finish) "Team KOOL is only running one Indy Lights car this year. Last year we ran three. So now the entire team is concentrating on my car and helping me. That has been important in my better start this year." Didier Andre - #18 Motorola/Mack Trucks/PacWest Lola: (pole-sitter, finished 5th) "It was definitely a difficult race. I am happy we got 10 points toward the championship. At the start of the race, I had a lot of oversteer. It was a challenge to stay up front, but I just kept at it. With about 15 laps to go, I was going into Turn Six and I shifted into 2nd gear but the car went into neutral. I locked up the front and went into the tires." Mike Borkowski - #41 Textron Automotive Lola (25th, retired with throttle problem): "The car started fine before we came around to the grid but when the command came to start engines on the grid there was nothing. We pulled it into pit lane, tried a dozen time and suddenly it just started. We joined half a lap behind the field but then the throttle went to the floor out of Turn Two like it was disconnected. It wasn't our weekend for sure. Saying we're disappointed is a huge understatement, especially after we ran so well at Homestead."

Philipp Peter - #31 Sebring/Red Bull/ESTEBE Lola (4th) "I'm happy with the result. I finished as the top rookie, which isn't bad for my first time at Long Beach. Between yesterday and the warm-up we made a lot of changes to the car. But during the warm-up I was nearly a second off the pace. We had to make more changes and that is where my team did a really good job. The changes made were good enough to allow me to run with the top cars today." Special Awards: Dayton Tire Awards - Luiz Garcia Jr. receives four Dayton Daytona racing tires as the Move to the Front award recipient. Garcia improved 10 positions to finish 10th. Philipp Peter receives two Dayton Daytona racing tires as the Dayton Rookie Award recipient. Didier Andre receives two Dayton Daytona racing tires as the top qualifier. Sea-Doo/Ski-Doo Awards - Didier Andre receives $1,000 for earning his first Sea-Doo/Ski-Doo Pole. Andre did not claim the "Win from the Pole" bonus, which will be worth $3,000 at Nazareth. MCI Fast Pace Award - The $1,000 MCI Fast Pace Award was presented to Shigeaki Hattori for setting the fastest lap of the race on lap three at 98.206 mph. First Finance Nations Cup - With Cristiano da Matta's victory today, Brazil pulls into the lead in the First Finance Nations Cup with 38 points. Japan drops to second, three points back. The United States is third with 26 points. Racing for Kids - Cristiano da Matta is the Racing for Kids award winner. He receives a $500 check and a $1,000 donation will be made to a local children's hospital in the name of da Matta, Racing for Kids and the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship. Next Event - The next event on the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship trail is the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Presented by Toyota at Nazareth Speedway on April 26. PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship http://www.indylights.com

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Guy Smith , Felipe Giaffone , Shigeaki Hattori , Didier André , Brian Cunningham , Naoki Hattori , Mike Borkowski , Geoff Boss , Philipp Peter , Cristiano da Matta , Luiz Garcia