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Victories Make Junior the Indy Lights Man to Beat at LB
Junior Strous visits the Queen Mary
It’s not often one can say that being a marked man is a good thing, but it certainly applies to Junior Strous for he clearly is the driver everyone will be looking to beat at Long Beach in this weekend’s third round of the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights championship.

The driver of the No. 18 Shell V-Power/Winners Circle Group Racing Dallara established himself as the man to beat after winning both races at St. Petersburg in convincing fashion. He now holds a 100-72 lead over Jonathan Summerton with Sunday’s race scheduled for 45 laps around the 11-turn, 1.968-mile circuit on the streets of Long Beach.

“Long Beach is my favorite race track,” said Strous, who finished 13th here in 2007 (despite breaking his wrist) and eighth here last year in Atlantics. “I love the setting and the atmosphere. It reminds me of Monaco in Europe. This will be my third year to drive here and I feel like I have unfinished business at this track.

“Long Beach is similar to St. Pete. I think we have all the changes to do well here again, but we need some luck. I feel great leading the championship in this great event and the mission is to score as many points possible to keep the lead in the championship. I’d also like to thank Nathan Jones and his crew (one of the race organizers) for his never-ending support to this legendary race and for welcoming the IndyCar Series.

Team Director Paul Diatlovich believes that Strous can continue his winnings way in California.

“What’s really encouraging is the fact that those wins at St. Pete weren’t flukes,” Diatlovich said. “He won those races. In each race, he got passed at the start, but did never got flustered. He was patient and then went out and passed the people he needed to pass to get the lead. We’ve certainly enjoyed being in the limelight the past few days. We want to stay on top.”

Strous and his fellow competitors will practice twice on Friday with qualifying set for Saturday morning and the race on Sunday.

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