Matos, Antinucci win same-day Firestone Indy Lights races WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Saturday, July 5, 2008 - Raphael Matos and Richard Antinucci won the Corning Duels Firestone Indy Lights races - the first time the series has held two...
Matos, Antinucci win same-day Firestone Indy Lights races
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Saturday, July 5, 2008 - Raphael Matos and Richard Antinucci won the Corning Duels Firestone Indy Lights races - the first time the series has held two races on the same day.
Matos won Race 1 by 2.1290 seconds over Antinucci, passing pole sitter Franck Perera on Lap 3 and leading the final 26 laps.
Antinucci came back to win Race 2 after starting from the fifth position. He passed teammate Ana Beatriz on Lap 10 and led the final 20 laps.
The two podium finishes for Antinucci vaulted him into first place in the point standings, while Matos, who finished second in Race 2, moved into second. Dillon Battistini, who entered the weekend as the points leader, finished 17th and 20th and dropped to third in points.
CORNING DUELS RACE 1 POST-RACE NOTES:
* This is Raphael Matos' fourth career victory and his second this season. He also won St. Petersburg 1.
* Richard Antinucci finished second, his fifth top-two finish of the season. Antinucci and Dillon Battistini both have 255 points. Battistini remains the series points leader based on three victories to one.
* Jeff Simmons finished third, his third top-five finish of the season.
* Ana Beatriz finished fourth, her fourth top-five finish of the season.
* Pablo Donoso finished fifth, his second consecutive fifth-place finish.
* Daniel Herrington finished eighth in his first race of the season.
* Jonny Reid finished a career-best 10th in his fourth start.
CORNING DUELS RACE 1 POST-RACE QUOTES:
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., first): "I knew I had to get by Franck (Perera) in the beginning of the race because he was running more downforce than me. That was definitely the most important pass. It worked out pretty well, and I was able to get by him. At the end of the race, my car was good enough that I could make a big enough gap so I was comfortable in the lead, and I could bring the AFS/Andretti Green Racing car to victory lane."
RICHARD ANTINUCCI (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, second): "I like the challenge of a road course. It's my background, and I love it. To be able to prove myself on left and right corners, not just left, is a great thing, it's a nice break. We're immediately back in the top two, so it kind of underlines that we're pretty competitive on it. Matos, for most of the race was more competitive than us, and that's about as good as we could have gotten. We almost got the lead up the hill in the first lap. So we really made our race in the first lap, knowing it was going to be tough to pass. And Simmons is a very good driver, he's a professional and had pretty good speed. So we probably finished up where our speed reflected. I don't know if we did the fastest lap of the race, but we were probably pretty close at the end there."
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 2 TMR-Xtreme Coil Drilling, third): "We were trying as hard as we could to win this race. Maybe the last lap or so we kind of backed off just a little bit to try to take care of the car. There was no reason to push it, we had a big gap where we were. I'm a little disappointed. I thought we'd be a little more competitive than that. I didn't think I drove the best race, and the car was difficult to put in a consistent lap. But all in all, it's a podium finish and we got some good points. Unfortunately, the two guys that finished ahead of us are already ahead of us in the points. Hopefully we'll get a good chance in the second race, try to get the car a little better, and do a better job."
ANA BEATRIZ (No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, fourth): "It was a very good race, a crazy race in the beginning. Everybody was spinning, and people were just too anxious about it. We had a lot of yellow flags after that. I was cautious because the track doesn't have the best grip, and it was hard to get a lot of good laps. I think I was a little bit faster than Simmons in the beginning, but I couldn't overtake him, and after that he was just a little bit faster than me. But it was a fair race. There was a little gap between everybody, and we didn't have much fight in the front. I think the second race will be more."
PABLO DONOSO (No. 22 TMR-Cristal-Xtreme Coil Drilling, fifth): "It's good, it's not bad. We're improving. This is my second consecutive fifth-place, so it's not bad. The team is working hard and the team is on the podium, so we're happy. I think we have a good chance to finish on the podium (in the second race). We're going to try to finish in the top five again and try to move up in the championship. I think we have a good car."
CORNING DUELS RACE 2 POST-RACE NOTES:
* This is Richard Antinucci's fourth career victory and his second this season. He also won St. Petersburg 2. Antinucci now leads the Firestone Indy Lights point standings.
* Raphael Matos finished second and moves into second in the point standings, 29 points back.
* Ana Beatriz finished third for the third time this season. She also was third at St. Petersburg 1 and Iowa.
* Pablo Donoso finished fifth, his third consecutive fifth-place finish.
CORNING DUELS RACE 2 POST-RACE QUOTES:
RICHARD ANTINUCCI (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, first): "We were good on cold tires. During the first few laps of the morning race, I noticed we were quicker than (Raphael) Matos on cold tires. We had a really good car. We had new tires while Matos and (Jeff) Simmons had scuffed tires. That might have helped us with the hotter tempratures. In the long run it hurt us, but it was enough at the end to win."
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., second): "I don't think we had a strong car on the restarts. I almost spun on the last restart in Turn 10, and Ana Beatriz got a run on me. It's just too bad because I think AFS/Andretti Green Racing gave me a strong car. I was catching Richard (Antinucci) at the end, but we just ran out of time."
ANA BEATRIZ (No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, third): "Unfortunately, I had oversteer in the race car and lost the first position. It was really very good to lead a race again. I have to thank the Healthy Choice crew and all the Healthy Choice guys that came here to watch me today. And, for sure, my managers that couldn't be here this time. Another podium - I wish they were here with me celebrating."
LOGAN GOMEZ (No. 23 Menards Guthrie Racing, fourth): "I think it went pretty well. We started the day 10th in the first race and moved up to sixth, and they inverted our position and put us on pole and we were able to hold onto fourth, so it's definitely the right direction that we want to go. We weren't involved in any accidents, which seemed pretty easy to do. Other than that, the team was great. Darrell Soppe has been working on the setup and improved it throughout the weekend, so I'm really happy with that. It's great to have IZOD on board, this is their big race. It's good to get a top-five in front of them. Hopefully we'll go into the next race, Nashville - I got second there last year, so maybe we can win a guitar, who knows."
PABLO DONOSO (No. 22 TMR-Cristal-Xtreme Coil Drilling, fifth): "I started second. I think I did the correct thing. I gave a space to Logan (Gomez), and he was more focused on me than on the inside so we got Ana (Beatriz) and Antinnuci on the inside. I gave a space to Antinnuci, but I don't know why he put me on the curb. He made me lose three spots. Now I know how he runs. He doesn't need to run with me like that because I gave a space to him. But anyway, a top-five is good for the team, and I was fighting hard with Jeff (Simmons). It was a good race, and it's more points for the championship, so we're going to see what happens."
The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen July 6 at Watkins Glen International. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Sunbelt Rentals 100 on July 12 at Nashville Superspeedway. The Corning Duels will be telecast at 2 p.m. (EDT) July 10 on ESPN2 and live on www.indycar.com.