Romancini goes wire-to-wire to win Indy Lights race
Polesitter Mario Romancini led all 100 laps of the Husar's House of Fine Diamonds 100 Sunday at the Milwaukee Mile to give RLR/Andersen Racing its second Firestone Indy Lights victory ever.
The 21-year-old driver from Sao Paulo, Brazil impressed everyone with his come-from-behind podium finish at the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway nine days ago. This time the rookie made the crowd on hand in Milwaukee take notice of his total domination of the event, even though he never
turned a lap here before Saturday morning's first practice session and this was only his third oval-track race ever.
Romancini's No. 5, which is sponsored by Andersen Racing, Revita Recycling, Win Brazil Marketing, Allied Interior Products and Lafarge North America, had a 1.0907-second advantage over a former RLR/Andersen Racing driver, J.R. Hildebrand, when the checkered waved after 100 laps of competition on the tight, 1.015-mile oval.
Romancini also set the fastest lap of the race when his lap 13 took 25.3397 seconds for an average speed of 144.201 miles per hour.
Results Sunday of the Husar's House of Fine Diamonds 100 presented by Charter Firestone Indy Lights event May 31 at the 1-mile The Milwaukee Mile, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, laps completed and reason out (if any) and money earned:
1. (1) Mario Romancini, 100, Running $30,000
2. (2) J.R. Hildebrand, 100, Running $22,500
3. (4) Sebastian Saavedra, 100, Running $18,000
4. (6) Gustavo Yacaman, 100, Running $16,000
5. (7) James Davison, 100, Running $15,000
6. (5) Wade Cunningham, 100, Running $14,500
7. (10) James Hinchcliffe, 100, Running $14,000
8. (8) Andrew Prendeville, 100, Running $13,500
9. (9) Pippa Mann, 98, Running $13,000
10. (15) Charlie Kimball, 97, Running $13,500 zzzz
11. (12) Pablo Donoso, 95, Running $12,000
12. (16) Rodrigo Barbosa, 95, Running $11,500
13. (14) Sergey Mokshantsev, 93, Running $11,000
14. (11) Daniel Herrington, 84, Contact $13,000
15. (13) Martin Plowman, 84, Running $11,000
16. (3) Jonathan Summerton, 49, Contact $10,000
Winner's average speed: 113.945 mph
Time of race: 53:26.8054
Margin of victory: 1.0907 seconds
Cautions: 4 caution flags for 17 laps
Lead changes: 0 lead changes
Lap leaders: Romancini 1-100.
Point standings: Hildebrand 198, Saavedra 188, Romancini 179,
Cunningham 163, Summerton 162, Hinchcliffe 156, Strous 146, Herrington 146, Davison 145, Howard 123.
MARIO ROMANCINI (No. 5 Revita/Win Brazil/Allied/RLR Andersen, first): "I'm so happy to be here. I just have to thank RLR/Andersen Racing. They've done a fantastic job since we've been here. This win means a lot to me and a lot to the guys. It's just my third oval race, and I'm so very, very happy to be this competitive. Now we have two weeks to work and think about the next one in Iowa." (About the late caution): "I was a bit concerned because every time I started to pull away, the yellow came. We knew we had a good car, so with 10 laps to go, all I had to do was manage the gap." (About jumping to third in points): "Every track I am getting more and more comfortable. Iowa is the last oval before we go back to the road courses, and I think I'll be strong there so we can keep going for this championship at the end of the year."
J.R. HILDEBRAND (No. 26 ARPRO, second): "(Romancini) had a really good car, and he was doing a really good job with it. Having to run behind him the whole race, I started picking up understeer and wearing out the front tires, and I just didn't have anything for him at the end. I think I had just worn out the fronts trying to keep up with him. With the lapped car on that restart, I didn't really have a chance to try to jump him then, so there wasn't much I could do there towards the end. But it was a great finish for the team. I have to thank the boys. They've done a great job all weekend. We've had a good car in qualifying and practice. I'm looking forward to the next one."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., third): "It was close racing for sure. We knew at the beginning there were really strong guys coming into here. I wasn't very lucky during one of the restarts where I lost many positions just because someone spun in front of me. From then on, I just needed to save my tires, stay concentrated and go to the front."
GUSTAVO YACAMAN (No. 44 Crepes & Waffles/Tuvaco/SSM, fourth): "It was a good run for us. My car was very strong at the beginning. I made a pass on the outside of my teammate, Wade Cunningham, on the first lap. I think I got by Saavedra as well. Then, on the next restart, Summerton spun in front of me, and I got by him with no incident. It was a long race after that. I think we did 50 laps or so under green. It was a good run for us. The worst position to finish in is second or fourth. I should be happy, but I'm not. The team did a very good job. I think with a little more experience, I could have done better."
JAMES DAVISON (No. 21 People*s Liberation Vision Racing, fifth): "The one thing I'm most happy about today is our race car. We had a good car that didn't go off, that was able to race with the power teams - the AGR's and Schmidt's. So we've got to be very happy with that. As a result, we got a top-five. I drove the right race, made sure I protected the right rear tires to make sure the tires didn't go loose. Unfortunately, we caught a bit of traffic, two cars side-by-side, there was nowhere to go and unfortunately (Sebastian) Saavedra got a run on me. So we could have potentially had a fourth place, but we've got to be happy with a top-five. We're starting to learn our ropes - all the things that a new team has to (learn) in order to compete at the front of a competitive series like this one."