Battistini runs 100% throttle to take flag to flag win
Road course backmarker Dillon Battistini ran the entire race at 100% throttle to win the Kentucky 100 Firestone Indy Lights race Saturday night. James Davison was 2nd and Arie Luyendyk Jr. 3rd.
This is Dillon Battistini's fourth victory of the season, most of any Firestone Indy Lights driver. His last victory came at Iowa Speedway in June. Battistini, who had fallen from first to sixth in points, moves back into third.
Points leader Richard Antinucci finished fourth. Raphael Matos, who is second in points, finished sixth after starting on the pole.
FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-RACE QUOTES:
DILLON BATTISTINI (No. 15 National Guard Delphi, first): "I knew it was going to be hard to pass on this track. I have to admit, (Raphael) Matos has been really strong in qualifying and practice throughout the weekend. I knew there was a chance at getting him at the start, and luckily I pulled that off and was able to hang on. I don't know why he wasn't behind me. Maybe something happened, but I don't know the story yet. I still had to fight off some really strong competition. Luckily, we were strong enough to hang on to the lead."
JAMES DAVISON (No. 11 Lifelock/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, second): "I think we definitely deserved to be up there. We've been strong on ovals lately. A strong oval finish has been important to me, and that hasn't been something I've been able to do so far this season, for one reason or the other. I just want to thank Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Lifelock, my fellow Australian engineer I've been working with this weekend, Tim Neff. I could have maybe taken a bit of a chance by jumping Dillon (Battistini) on the restart, but I didn't want to end up losing a position, so we held on to a safe second."
ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 26 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, third): "It was a great race. All of our cars are strong in the front. I think it just came down to track position. Dillon (Battistini) got a great start. He snuck up on me on the inside. I didn't expect him to be there, and he got the lead and it was hard to get around him after that. It's a third podium in a row on ovals for me, so I feel pretty good. We just need to get the first place. Hopefully that comes at Infineon or Chicago." (About his knee surgery): "I didn't think about it too much until the yellows, and it started aching a little bit, but it feels good. It feels good getting third, so for a few hours it's not going to really matter."
RICHARD ANTINUCCI (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, fourth): "A top-four, it's very good. I'm thankful to the whole team - Sam Schmidt, Lucas Oil, LifeLock. It was just awesome. The car felt so good. I could go inside, outside. Once you get to the front, it's tougher to pass. On the long runs, I had the best car by far. It's just that (James) Davison and (Dillon) Battistini made it hard to get around them. With two cars, it was a two-lane race. I was trying to help James. I almost got both of them at one point. I tried to pass Davison on the outside with three laps to go going into Turn 1, and Arie (Luyendyk) got underneath me. He had the slip stream on me, and I got boxed to the outside. Still, I'm excited about the finish." (On the championship): "We've still got the points lead. We're first. It's awesome. We'll just go to Sonoma and look to build on our points lead there. I had a lot of success on that track last year, and I think it will be a good venue for me."
BRENT SHERMAN (No. 16 National Guard Delphi, fifth): "It's no fun starting at the back. I feel like if I didn't use my stuff up coming through the field I probably would have had a shot at the podium and probably would have battled my teammate for the win. The car was awesome, I just ran out of time. Those cautions killed me. We had a really, really good setup on the car. It was really fast. I just like making it hard on myself. At the start, I don't know what happened. It didn't start, so we had to come back up through the field and they're like, 'Everyone knows you're coming through,' and the 22 car just swerved right in front of me. It was either hit him in the side or spin out, so I spun out and they made me go to the back. I don't really agree with that. It's also drivers not listening to their spotters and letting them know that we're coming up through the field. It's just a tough deal. But a top-five (finish) isn't bad. I guess I'm happy."
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers): "It was a little bit frustrating, but I was expecting it because my car lost positions on the start. The yellow flags kind of made us struggle a little bit, and my car wasn't good on the restarts. My car came back to me at the end of the race, and I was able to gain a little bit of ground, and I was able to attack, but I just ran out of time. But the important thing is with this race I was able to gain some good points. I finished sixth and Antinucci finished fourth. The good thing is that I am only four points behind, and there are still plenty of races, and we can improve and are real quick on the road courses, and we are still in the fight for the championship. I feel great about going into the next couple of races. We have been doing good everywhere and on the road courses, so Chicago should be good for us as well."
1. (4) Dillon Battistini, 67, Running $32,500
2. (5) James Davison, 67, Running $25,000
3. (3) Arie Luyendyk Jr., 67, Running $20,000
4. (10) Richard Antinucci, 67, $17,000
5. (6) Brent Sherman, 67, Running $16,000
6. (1) Raphael Matos, 67, Running $15,500
7. (15) Sean Guthrie, 67, Running $15,000
8. (11) Jonathan Klein, 67, Running $14,500
9. (16) Bobby Wilson, 67, Running $14,000
10. (21) Robbie Pecorari, 67, Running $13,500
11. (9) Daniel Herrington, 67, Running $12,500
12. (8) Logan Gomez, 67, Running $11,500
13. (22) Cyndie Allemann, 67, Running $10,500
14. (20) Franck Perera, 67, Running $10,000
15. (19) Micky Gilbert, 67, Running $9,500
16. (2) Ana Beatriz, 66, Running $9,000
17. (13) Mike Potekhen, 66, Running $8,500
18. (24) J.R. Hildebrand, 65, Running $8,000
19. (18) PJ Abbott, 60, Running $6,000
20. (17) CR Crews, 53, Contact $7,000
21. (23) Christina Orr, 53, Contact $4,500
22. (14) Pablo Donoso, 45, Contact $4,500
23. (12) Jeff Simmons, 40, Contact $3,000
24. (7) Travis Gregg, 2, Contact $1,000
Winner's average speed: 123.841 mph
Time of race: 48:02.5443
Margin of victory: 0.0814 of a second
Cautions: 4 caution flags for 27 laps
Lead changes: 1 among 2 drivers
Lap leaders: Beatriz 1, Battistini 2-67.
Point standings: Antinucci 408, Matos 404, Battistini 351, Luyendyk 351, Beatriz 346, Hildebrand 337, Simmons 285,
Guthrie 270, Davison 270, Sherman 269.