Michigan wrapup

BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 23) - Making his 40th race start in three years of Dayton Indy Lights Championship competition, Felipe Giaffone (Hollywood Lola) led every lap from the pole for his first series win in Saturday's Detroit News 100 at Michigan...

BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 23) - Making his 40th race start in three years of Dayton Indy Lights Championship competition, Felipe Giaffone (Hollywood Lola) led every lap from the pole for his first series win in Saturday's Detroit News 100 at Michigan Speedway.

Giaffone withstood constant pressure from Casey Mears (Dorricott Racing/Sooner Trailer) and a late charge from Tony Renna (Motorola/PacWest Lights Lola) to lead all 50 race laps from the pole for the victory. The win was also the first for Conquest Racing and 1991 Indy Lights champion Eric Bachelart in his four years as a team owner. The pole, a 183.267 mph (39.287 seconds) lap around the two-mile oval, was also the first on a superspeedway for Giaffone and the team. Renna grabbed the lead from third on the grid at the race start, but Giaffone passed him coming out of Turn 4 at the end of lap one for a lead he would never lose. Mears also made a quick move from fourth starting spot and tucked in behind Giaffone from the start and stayed there for the rest of the race. Mears and Renna never had a chance to make a move on Giaffone, however, as the day's third and final caution flag on lap 47 for track debris cut short any late race heroics. The yellow flew as Renna slipped by both Giaffone and Mears for what appeared to be the lead, but the others had already slowed. Giaffone retained the lead and circled under caution for the final three laps for an anti-climactic yet convincing win.

Renna was later moved to second place when a post-race review preliminarily indicated he passed for position just prior to the yellow flag. A protest by Dorricott Racing, however, overturned the decision after a hearing by the CART Protest Judges late Saturday evening ruled in favor of Mears. He finished second at Michigan for the second straight year while Renna, the 1998 Detroit News 100 winner, earned a season's best third place finish.

The race also produced a new points leader when Jason Bright (Dorricott Racing Lola) benefited from another post-race position reversal. Bright crossed the line in 10th place but a review later determined Andy Boss (Cross Pens/Lacoste/ITIS Lola) passed him during the final caution. Bright was moved to ninth and now leads the championship with 57 points, one ahead of Scott Dixon (Invensys/Powerware/PacWest Lights Lola) and Mears who are tied for second with 56. Dixon, forced to pit with a cut tire, finished one lap down in 14th place.

Giaffone, who has also moved into the championship hunt with 53 points in fourth place, had his race winning speed of 146.866 mph slowed by three caution periods for 10 laps. The second yellow was for contact between Jonny Kane (KOOL Lola) and outside front row starter Chris Menninga (Mi-Jack Lola) who were uninjured but eliminated.

<pre> Light Look - Top Five Light Look - Top Five Points 1. Felipe Giaffone Jason Bright (R) 57 2. Casey Mears Scott Dixon 56 3. Tony Renna Casey Mears 56 4. Townsend Bell (R) Felipe Giaffone 53 5. Todd Snyder (R) Townsend Bell (R) 43

{TX} * Quotes

Felipe Giaffone (Conquest Racing/Hollywood Lola) - "It feels real good to win, especially with this team because we have been together for so many years. This car was just so good and ran great. I knew Casey was back there but I talked to his engineer Burke (Harrison) and we agreed we would run together. I knew my car was a little bit faster but Casey stayed right there. For sure, he was going to try something at the end but fortunately the yellow came out."

Casey Mears (Dorricott Racing/Sooner Trailer Lola) - "I'm a little disappointed with second place but at the same time I always look to the next race after I've finished a race. Finishing second place moved me up near the front in the points so I'll still leave Michigan knowing that much. Chicago is now our focus and hopefully I'll get a win there."

Tony Renna (PacWest Lights/Motorola Lola) - "I'm feeling a bit bitter sweet right now. I am very happy that I was able to reach the podium today, although I thought I may have finished a little higher. I made my move when I was running third. I think things are really starting to come together for us now."

Jason Bright (Dorricott Racing Lola) - "It's great that I'm in the lead for the Indy Lights championship. At least we got 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 to have a major incident at 185 miles per hour on a superspeedway oval and still be able to move into the championship lead."

* Special Awards

Dayton Tire Awards: Mario Dominguez receives four Dayton Daytona racing tires as the Move to the Front award recipient. Dominguez improved eleven positions to seventh place. Townsend Bell receives two Dayton Daytona racing tires as the Dayton Rookie Award recipient. Felipe Giaffone receives two Dayton Daytona racing tires as the top qualifier.

MCI Worldcom Fast Pace Award: Jason Bright receives the $1,000 MCI WorldCom Fast Pace Award for his fast lap of 191.037 seconds (37.689 seconds) on lap 33.

Nation's Cup: Casey Mears helps the United States take over the lead in the Nation's Cup with a second place finish. Scott Dixon cut a tire late in the race to finish out of the points dropping New Zealand to second. United States leads with 71 points followed by New Zealand with 57. Australia and Brazil are close behind with 56 and 53 points respectively.

Racing for Kids Award: Casey Mears wins the Racing for Kids Award of $500. An additional $1,500 will be presented to a local children's hospital in Casey's name.

Bosch Platinum+4 Speedway Challenge: Casey Mears takes over the lead in the Bosch Platinum+4 Speedway Challenge with 26 points, three points ahead of Felipe Giaffone. The winner-take-all $10,000 Bosch award is paid to the driver that earns the most points in the year's five oval track races.

* Television - Today!

The Detroit News 100 Dayton Indy Lights Championship race will be shown on ESPN2 this Sunday, July 23rd at 6:00 p.m. ET.

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Casey Mears , Scott Dixon , Chris Menninga , Townsend Bell , Mario Dominguez , Jonny Kane , Tony Renna , Jason Bright , Todd Snyder
Teams Conquest Racing