J.K. VERNAY LEADS FLAG TO FLAG AND SCORES MAXIMUM POINTS IN TORONTO DOMINATION TORONTO - Starting from the pole, Sam Schmidt Motorsports rookie J.K. Vernay led every lap and scored the maximum weekend point tally en route to a dominating victory...
J.K. VERNAY LEADS FLAG TO FLAG AND SCORES MAXIMUM POINTS IN TORONTO DOMINATION
TORONTO - Starting from the pole, Sam Schmidt Motorsports rookie J.K. Vernay led every lap and scored the maximum weekend point tally en route to a dominating victory on Sunday afternoon in the Toronto 100 in the city's downtown city circuit.
James Hinchcliffe, starting second, challenged Vernay in the first few corners, and the two actually touched, but Vernay was able to hold off the hometown driver and eventually pull away. Even with damage to his car and having to change his driving style a bit, Vernay was able to extend his lead in the points standings to 68 over Hinchcliffe.
Next across the line for the team was Pippa Mann who tied her career-best finish with an eighth-place result. After a collision with a retaining wall earlier in the weekend and injuring her left hand, possibly even breaking it, Mann was able to rebound and drive a mistake-free race. Starting from 13th, she overcame the tough conditions and fought her way into her finishing position. Given the frustration she's suffered in the last few events, the result was one that she'll happily take and build on for the next event.
Behind Mann was James Winslow who finished in 11th, one lap down, due to contact in the middle of the race with Adrian Campos, Jr. Starting from 11th, Winslow moved his way into the eighth spot by the end of lap one before settling into ninth chasing Campos. The two battled for several laps when Winslow was finally able to make a move by on lap 31 heading into Turn 8. Winslow was clearly in front, but rather than concede the position, Campos turned into Winslow's left-rear, sending Winslow airborne. Winslow landed, returned to the pits, changed his front wing, and was able to resume in the race, albeit a lap down. He was setting very quick laps with his best lap being ranked fifth among everyone else's quick laps. A bit of bad luck with regards to his result, but his pace is a good thing to build on heading into the next weekend.
Finally, Philip Major, who finished 12th, four laps down, had a weekend he admits he'd like to forget. Racing in his backyard of Ontario, the young Canadian hit the Turn 8 tire barrier on lap 11. The race continued under green flag conditions, and by the time he was able to be moved by safety officials so he could drive back to the pits for necessary repairs, his race was basically finished. He's looking to put this event behind him as soon as possible and move onto the next event.
From Toronto, it's a quick turn around for Sam Schmidt Motorsports as the next Firestone Indy Lights race takes place in just one week in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, at the City Centre Airport Circuit.
No. 7 LUCAS OIL/CJ Motorsport/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver J.K. Vernay
"The beginning of the race was very difficult because in the first corner, the inside part of the track was very slippery. I touched James (Hinchcliffe). I didn't want to do that, but I had no choice. After that, my front left suspension was a bit broken. It was really difficult. I had to change my driving style to manage my tire. When my engineer told me 10 laps to go, I knew I would be okay. I just wanted to push and make a big gap. I saw James crash on the last lap. I feel sorry for him but, I can't say it's not a good thing for me in the championship."
No. 11 LOBLAWS/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Pippa Mann
"I managed to cope with the pain when we were racing under the green flag. Adrenalin just kicked in, and I was running pretty good laps. However, the caution periods in the second half of the race made it very difficult for me, and the last green stint was pretty tough. Overall, I'm really pleased to the bring the No. 11 LOBLAWS car home in the top-10, especially this being a Canadian race with a Canadian sponsor. Had I not picked up this hand injury, I know we would have had a stronger finish. However, I'm pleased with the result knowing we made no mistakes in the race."
No. 49 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver Philip Major
"Well, obviously, this wasn't the best of weekends. I think the most important thing to do is just to forget about this and move on and get ready for Edmonton. We struggled a bit for pace, and we just couldn't find it. I think we know the source of the problems. We'll be able to fix it for Edmonton and get back on the form that we know should be on. That's the main thing now is just focusing on Edmonton and forgetting this weekend."
No. 77 FOCAL POINT/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Driver James Winslow
"We had massive problems in practice and qualifying. We were fairly quick in the first practice when we unloaded, but all weekend, I've had massive turn-in over-steer making things very uncomfortable for me. For the race, we were able to turn the whole situation around. We got the car comfortable, and we were flying. I was coming back through the field, and Campos turned into me when I was over-taking him. It was a clean move, and he was trying to keep it on the outside. It was a desperate move by him that took us both out of the race. My car launched in the air and was damaged. I landed, drove back into the pits to change the front wing, and we were setting really quick times. Seeing the pace we were able to set, it gives us a lot of confidence heading into the next round."
Team Owner, Sam Schmidt
"Another great performance by J.K. I've said before that he's the real deal, and his performance this weekend further proves that. He was flawless the whole weekend in securing the maximum points possible. Pippa had a strong run and did well to overcome the pain that she's had to endure with her hand. I'm sure it wasn't easy for her, but to drive a clean race and not make any mistakes was a solid result for her and something she needed. What happened to Winslow was unfortunate. He was, once again, moving forward and making strides towards the front, but unfortunately, another driver took away the chance for him to have a good finish. It was a tough weekend for Philip, especially considering it was his hometown race basically, but sometimes weekends like this happen, and he'll learn from it. Let's hope that we can do better as a team in Edmonton and get everyone into the top-ten and maybe even the top-five.