Sonoma: Series race report

Originally-From: Indy Racing League <> J.K. Vernay recorded his fifth victory of the season (all on road/street courses) to increase his Firestone Indy Lights championship points lead to 71. Vernay, the pole...

Originally-From: Indy Racing League <>

J.K. Vernay recorded his fifth victory of the season (all on road/street courses) to increase his Firestone Indy Lights championship points lead to 71.

Vernay, the pole sitter in the No. 7 Lucas Oil/CJ/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, held off Charlie Kimball in the No. 26 Levemir FlexPen car for AFS Racing Andretti Autosport over the final 10 laps to win the Carneros 100 by 3.4245 seconds.

James Hinchcliffe finished third in the No. 2 TMR-Xtreme Coil Drilling car. The final three races of the season are on 1.5-mile ovals.

CARNEROS 100 (Firestone Indy Lights) POST-RACE NOTES:

- This is J.K. Vernay's fifth Firestone Indy Lights win this season. Vernay previously won at St. Petersburg, Barber, Watkins Glen and Toronto.

- This is the third time that Vernay has won from the pole with flag-to-flag victories (Barber, Toronto, Infineon). This is the sixth Firestone Indy Lights race at Infineon Raceway that has been a flag-to-flag victory.

- Charlie Kimball finished second, his eighth top-five finish of the season. Kimball has finished outside the top-five only twice this season.

- James Hinchcliffe finished third, his fifth podium finish of the season.

- Gustavo Yacaman finished fourth, his third top-five finish of the season

- Pippa Mann finished fifth, a career best Firestone Indy Lights finish. Her previous best finished was eighth (2010: Long Beach, Iowa and Toronto, 09: Homestead). Mann did not run the previous race at Mid-Ohio due to surgery on left hand.

- Today's DNF ends Martin Plowman's streak of 14 consecutive top-10 finishes and 19 consecutive races that he was running at the finish.

CARNEROS 100 (Firestone Indy Lights) POST-RACE QUOTES:

J.K. VERNAY (No. 7 Lucas/CJ/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, winner, Carneros 100): "Just a great weekend. After such a disappointing weekend at Mid-Ohio, I really wanted to win here. My family came for this race, so it's beautiful for everybody. I'm really happy."

(About final restart): "We had a good car, maybe he was a bit faster. I wanted to take care of my tires and wasn't really pushing. We did the fastest lap at the end. You always worry when you have a Safety Car because you never know what will happen, but we won and it's fantastic for the team."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 26 Levemir FlexPen, finished second): "It's great to be on the podium, especially here in California. We had a lot of support this weekend. We were quick from the green flag, but I had to fight my way past (James Hinchcliffe). Once I did that I didn't have enough to go after J.K. (Vernay) up front."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 2 TMR-Xtreme Coil Drilling, finished third): "We started third and finished third. It was a pretty standard day. We managed to get ahead of Charlie (Kimball) at the start. He didn't get a great start. I didn't do anything particularly good to be honest. But it was clear that those two guys, J.K. (Vernay) and Charlie were the class of the field today and we were best of the rest. I was struggling with rear grip a little bit and just trying to hold on to it. Once Charlie got by and he did it with a pretty clean move, it was to consolidate third place and get on the podium.:

GUSTAVO YACAMAN (No. 10 Cape Motorsport with Wayne Taylor Racing, finished fourth): "I felt like I had a fourth-place car and probably could have gotten a third-place finish out of it. (Charlie) Kimball lifted on the straight and that could have cost me that spot. It's difficult racing without teammates"

PIPPA MANN (No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished fifth): "I've had a lot of bad luck with Indy then the broken hand. This is the potential we thought we had with our best finish so far. I flat spotted the tires early on, but the Firestone Firehawks hung on. My hand was beaten up, so we sat out most of the morning's practice. The crew has been working really hard, so it was good to be able to give them a good finish."

The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the Chicagoland 100 on Aug. 28 at Chicagoland Speedway.

-source: irl

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Wayne Taylor , Sam Schmidt , Charlie Kimball , Pippa Mann , James Hinchcliffe , Martin Plowman , Gustavo Yacaman
Teams Andretti Autosport , Wayne Taylor Racing