St. Pete II: Series race notes

Richard Antinucci, the nephew of 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever, won the Firestone Indy Light's St. Pete 100 Race 2. After the win, series officials penalized Antinucci 10 point for avoidable contact with teammate Ana Beatriz during...

Richard Antinucci, the nephew of 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever, won the Firestone Indy Light's St. Pete 100 Race 2. After the win, series officials penalized Antinucci 10 point for avoidable contact with teammate Ana Beatriz during the race.

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Firestone officials have selected Team E as the winner of the Firestone Image Award for this weekend's races. At each event, Firestone pays a bonus of $1,000 to the team that Firestone Racing officials vote as the best representative of Firestone.

Winners in 2008 are: Brian Stewart Racing (Homestead-Miami) and Team E (St. Petersburg).

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FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-RACE NOTES:

* This is Richard Antinucci's third career victory in Firestone Indy Lights. His previous wins came last season at Mid-Ohio and Infineon 2.

* This is the 23rd Firestone Indy Lights victory for Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

* This is J.R. Hildebrand's career-best finish in his fourth start in the series.

* This is the best finish in Firestone Indy Lights for RLR/Andersen Racing. Andrew Prendeville finished third for the team last year at Infineon 2.

* This is Logan Gomez's best finish on a road/street course. The Chicagoland winner was fourth at Infineon 2 last year.

* Gomez tied the Firestone Indy Lights record for greatest advance from start to finish (20). Jaime Camara set the record at Homestead-Miami in 2007.

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FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-RACE QUOTES:

RICHARD ANTINUCCI (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished first): "Rafa (Matos) was really quick this weekend. He and the AGR guys did a great job all weekend, but we were right behind them. We made a few changes to the car last night and I think that helped. We slowly took our stride today. Things got a little bit hairy with my teammate (Ana Beatriz), which is the worst of all situations. We were fighting out there and I didn't want to make a dangerous move, but I just ran out of room.

(About the incident with Ana Beatriz): "It was a racing incident, and I'm not going to start blaming Bea. She's a great driver and what she was doing was incredible. I'm going to apologize and hopefully have reasonable, mutual understanding that it was a racing incident."

J.R. HILDEBRAND (No. 25 RLR/Andersen Racing, finished second): "We rolled out of the box really well. The first four guys have been at the top of the time charts most of the weekend. We've been struggling a little bit this weekend with the ALMS rubber on the track, but the IndyCar Series going out to practice before our race today made it a little bit easier. It was just a hectic, typical street course race. I'm just really glad to make it through all of the attrition and come out on the podium."

LOGAN GOMEZ (No. 23 Menards Guthrie Racing, finished third): "The podium finish was definitely better than I expected since we've been having trouble all week. Homestead was a rough start to the season, and we had some gearbox issues in yesterday's race. It's great to comeback from dead last. From 23rd to third - 20 spots - that's a pretty good race."

DILLON BATTISTINI (No. 15 Panther Racing, finished fourth): "I'm pleased to come away with that result after the way my weekend's gone on. I thought I was just having one of those weekends where nothing could possibly go right. But luckily, I just managed to pick them off in that race. I kept my nose clean and let everybody else park it in the wall. I'm quite pleased with myself. Yesterday was a bit of disaster. I was going forward, but then I punched a hole in my oil cooler and it started spraying oil all over my rear tire. So I started to drop back and then eventually lost oil pressure and had to retire. It was a bit of a comedown after last weekend, but we've salvaged something today, so it's nice to finish it on a bit of a high."

SEAN GUTHRIE (No. 4 Car Crafters Guthrie Racing, finished fifth): "I sure am happy. The Guthrie Racing team has had a stroke of bad luck. From me spinning on the pace lap at Homestead, to the gearbox problems in both cars all weekend. Finally we just said, ‘Let's just hold on.' We drove a smart race. My teammate finished third, we finished fifth. We're just ecstatic."

RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc.): "I was trying to outbrake (Jeff) Simmons and was already on the inside, and he just turned into me. I don't think he had any business doing that. He knew I was at least a half-a-second faster than he was and that I was going to pass him anyway. I got a run on him on the restart and he just closed the door and ruined my race and his race as well. I'm very disappointed for everyone on the AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing team. There's no question we had the best car all weekend. We came out of the weekend with one win, but we would have liked to have won both races."

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Firestone Indy Lights driver Raphael Matos injured his wrist during today's race. He was evaluated by Dr. Michael Olinger, director of medical services for the Indy Racing League. X-rays were negative, and Matos is cleared to drive.

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The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues April 27 at Kansas. The St. Pete 100 doubleheader will be telecast at 2 p.m. (EDT) on April 10 by ESPN2.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Sam Schmidt , Andrew Prendeville , Richard Antinucci , Jaime Camara , Logan Gomez , J.R. Hildebrand , Ana Beatriz
Teams Panther Racing