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Matos dominates Indy Lights race
Raphael Matos
Raphael Matos led from flag to flag to win the St. Pete 100 Firestone Indy Lights race. For Matos, who earned the SWE Pole earlier in the day, it was his third career victory in six career starts. All three wins have come on the Streets of St. Petersburg where he has led 108 of 120 laps.

Richard Antinucci, the nephew of 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever, finished second for the second consecutive weekend. Ana Beatriz finished third, the highest finish by a woman in Firestone Indy Lights history.


RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., finished first): “I love St. Petersburg. The atmosphere is great and everything was just working great today with the AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing car. I just can’t thank all of those guys enough. Michael Andretti, Kim Green, Kevin Savoree and Gary Peterson have put a lot into the program. This is great for our sponsors, Automatic Fire Sprinklers and oso*fresh. This is a great feeling for them, too. This is our first victory of the year, and hopefully we can repeat tomorrow.”

RICHARD ANTINUCCI (No. 7 Lucas Oil / Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished second): “It was a good but tough race. I made a mistake on one of the restarts at the beginning and my teammate Ana (Beatriz) got by me. She did a good job passing me. I tried to make it hard for her but she was just very good. After that, I had to wait to pass her back. We had that (local) yellow flag that kind of slowed things up. Once we got around that, I knew I could pass her if everything was right. Once I got through, I pulled away from her and tried to catch Rafa (Matos). I think he had a couple of tenths on me; he's had them all weekend.”

ANA BEATRIZ (No. 20 Healthy Choice / Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished third): “It was a great race. I didn't imagine that I would pass Richard (Antinucci). I just thought that Richard and Rafa (Matos) would just pull away and I wouldn't be able to catch them. I overtook Richard and it felt good to run in second for awhile. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's race and trying to finish on the podium again. We'll have to make some changes on the car because we'll probably start further back in tomorrow's race and work on passing through the straights and trying to overtake people.”

JEFF SIMMONS (No. 2 TMR-Xtreme Coil Drilling, finished fourth): “We did OK. It’s tough to pass on these street courses, and I don’t want to take any chances of damaging the car. This team wants to keep racing after this weekend so we have to try to be careful. Once we cleared the fourth-place car, we were really chasing down the third-place car quick. We caught some traffic there – probably weren’t going to catch up to her anyway. We just didn’t quite have the speed. The car was good, but we just haven’t had the time like the other teams to really nail down the perfect setup.”

J.R. HILDEBRAND (No. 25 RLR/Andersen Racing, finished fifth): “It was a tough one. I had a really good start and got up to fourth right at the beginning and was knocking on the door of third. But the car started going away a little bit and (Jeff) Simmons definitely had the pressure on. I had a little bit of trouble with the brake bias in the car. It was sort of different going into a bunch of corners. I locked up the rears going into the hairpin with a few laps to go and he snuck around me. We came away with a top five. It should put us in good position for tomorrow’s race. We’re looking to get in the top five in points and we’ll take it from there.”


1. (1) Raphael Matos, 40, Running $22,000
2. (2) Richard Antinucci, 40, Running $17,000
3. (3) Ana Beatriz, 40, Running $13,500
4. (5) Jeff Simmons, 40, Running $11,000
5. (6) J.R. Hildebrand, 40, Running $10,500
6. (9) Arie Luyendyk Jr., 40, Running $10,000
7. (8) Andrew Prendeville, 40, Running $9,750
8. (11) Cyndie Allemann, 40, Running $9,500
9. (17) Juan Manuel Polar, 40, Running $9,000
10. (12) Robbie Pecorari, 40, Running $8,750
11. (16) Chris Festa, 40, Running $8,500
12. (21) Al Unser III, 40, Running $8,000
13. (7) James Davison, 40, Running $7,750
14. (14) Pablo Donoso, 40, Running $7,500
15. (19) Sean Guthrie, 40, Running $7,000
16. (20) Micky Gilbert, 40, Running $6,500
17. (13) Brent Sherman, 39, Running $6,000
18. (23) Marc Williams, 39, Running $5,000
19. (18) Mitch Cunningham, 38, Running $4,000
20. (22) Nathan Freke, 33, Running $3,000
21. (15) Dillon Battistini, 30, Running $2,000
22. (4) Bobby Wilson, 23, Running $1,250
23. (10) Logan Gomez, 9, Mechanical $1,000
      Race Statistics
      Winner's average speed: 87.405 mph
      Time of race: 49:25.5158
      Margin of victory: 3.1577 seconds
      Cautions: 3 caution flags for 6 laps
      Lead changes: 0 lead changes
      Lap leaders: Matos 1-40
      Point standings: Antinucci 82, Matos 78, Beatriz 61, Luyendyk
Jr. 60, Battistini 59, Prendeville 54, Hildebrand 50, Festa
49, Sherman 48, Allemann 48.

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