RICHARD ANTINUCCI IS ONE POINT OUT OF THE FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS LEAD AFTER ROUND 14 AT INFINEON RACEWAY Top 3 in the grid -- Franck Perera, Raphael Matos and Antinucci -- take the checkered flag in the same order at Northern California ...
RICHARD ANTINUCCI IS ONE POINT OUT OF THE FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS LEAD AFTER ROUND 14 AT INFINEON RACEWAY
Top 3 in the grid -- Franck Perera, Raphael Matos and Antinucci -- take the checkered flag in the same order at Northern California permanent road course
SATURDAY'S NOTES :
Richard Antinucci had slotted third on the starting grid for the Carneros 100, but at the start Antinucci moved past archrival Raphael Matos, who was trailing the San Diegan by four points after the previous round at Kentucky Speedway. However, Antinucci pit wall was noticed that the race control had deemed his move a jumped start and he was therefore forced to relinquish P2. Alongside the fuss of the provision, two full course yellow hindered the race flow until Lap 6.
After the second restart the Top 3 were never bunched up enough to let a driver pull off a move. At the half-race mark the field was getting spread out as pole sitter Franck Perera had a 2-second edge over Matos, whilst Antinucci was trailing the Brazilian by two seconds. Throughout the second half of the 30-lap race Antinucci could make small gains on 4th JR Hildebrand to keep the lead among American -- both call California home -- drivers. Frenchman Perera claimed his first Firestone Indy Lights victory, and runner up Matos moved up in the standings to 444 points to grab the series' lead; after his ninth top‑five finish of the season Antinucci's score is now 443. Tomorrow's race, the Valley of the Moon 100 at Infineon Raceway, will be the last 2008 round staged at a permanent road course, and today's top eight finishers will be inverted for the starting grid. Pablo Donoso will be sitting on pole, Antinucci will start from the inside of Row 3 and Matos one spot behind the #7 Lucas Oil Lifelock Dallara.
RICHARD'S TAKE :
"Over all it was a good race. It was a pretty straightforward race in the sense that this is the order that we had in qualifying, and it seems to reflect the performances in the race. I think Matos was a little bit quicker than me over the course of the race, and Perera was probably the same amount quicker than him, or maybe a little less. I had a great start, I just think I kept my position and followed my line, but unfortunately I was radioed immediately halfway through the first lap to relinquish that position and give it back to Matos, so I went wide in the last corner. I didn't actually want to let him by in that way. It's a little weird. But I locked up, and I said, the hell with it, I'll go wide here and let him by, and I can get behind him without risking getting passed by someone else. The rest was pretty good, at the end the pace was good, I also managed to post my fastest lap with three to go. We have a draw that we start sixth tomorrow, and it's going to be a tough race. The points have been tight all year. I have a lot of respect for Matos, so hopefully tomorrow we'll have a clean race, starting next to each other, and see who does better."