Hildebrand wins Edmonton Indy Lights race
By the time Richard Philippe had made 20 laps around the bumpy, taxing track, he knew he wasn’t going to catch leader J.R. Hildebrand. At least not without the benefit of a restart.
But on a relatively quiet afternoon at the Rexall Speedway, there were no cautions during the Indy Lights race. Instead, Hildebrand went post to post to register his third win of the season — with an advantage of more than 14 seconds.
Philippe was second, followed by Sebastian Saavedra.
“I was just trying to maintain the lap time, and I just started to get into a rhythm,” said Hildebrand, a 21-year-old driver from California.
Gustavo Yacaman veered off the track during the 31st lap. Thirteen laps later, Ana Beatriz bumped James Davison, but otherwise it was Hildebrand’s show.
“I tried to put some pressure on J.R., but at the same time I didn’t want to end my race and his race in the first corner,” said Philippe, the bespectacled French driver who started the day in second spot. Saavedra overtook Australia’s Davison and Toronto’s James Hinchcliffe on the 14-turn track to get on the podium.
Hinchcliffe finished fourth.
“It’s a difficult track ... but we really didn’t make any mistakes in terms of how we adjusted the car for the track. We were able to stick with the game plan session after session,” continued Hildebrand, who, like Saavedra, was driving for Andretti Green/AFS racing.
The win extended Hildebrand’s lead to 69 points over Sebastian Saavedra in the championship points race. It was his third of the season.
This was the debut event for the Indy Lights series in Edmonton. Atlantic had been the feeder series for Champ Car, an open wheel series that was swallowed up by the IRL last year.
d in the championship points standings from 51 to 69 heading to the Kentucky Speedway oval on Aug. zzzz
J.R. HILDEBRAND (No. 26 ARPRO, winner Firestone Indy Lights Grand Prix of Edmonton): "We were running our own pace and I think the other guys started to fall off a little bit. I was just trying to run the same lap time from start to end and the car came to me a little bit as the tires went off, so I didn't have to take too many risks to accomplish that. We were able to bring home another win. It's a great circuit. It keeps you on your toes from top to bottom and front to back. I'm happy for the guys. We had a frustrating weekend at Toronto, but everyone did a great job this weekend."
RICHARD PHILIPPE (No. 37 Palm Beach International Raceway, finished second): "I'm as happy as I can be with finishing second. We've come a long way with the Palm Beach International Raceway car. I need to thank the team because they brought their "A" game. I've been trying to push them a lot to get to the front and here we are splitting two AGR cars, so we're doing something right."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., finished third): For sure it wasn't easy. It was a really tough race, a long race and a physical race. I think we did a nice strategy of saving tires in the beginning. I just put pressure on the guys in front of me. Every time they made a mistake I was able to take advantage of that. I'm happy. Being 1-3 for AFS/Andretti Green is what we need for the championship and the rookie championship.
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 7 Hinchtown/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished fourth): "It was a tough day at the office. We got a decent start, but sort of got hung out to dry on the outside. I thought I would be able to get around (James) Davison but he got back around, so I settled into fourth. I was following Davison, but then my engine started to overheat, I tried to run off line on the straightaways, but there was so much marbles and dust offline. I got some marbles on my tires and locked up going into Turn 10 and that allowed Saavedra to get by. It's too bad. Early in the race we were being hung up by Davison and I think we could have run with Philippe. It's still a decent result and good for points and Sam Schmidt Motorsports, so thanks to them."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 35 Palm Beach International Raceway, finished fifth): "We had a good car at the beginning and it lasted longer than James Davison and the other cars we were battling. I couldn't run with the four cars ahead of me, but it was good. I have to thank the team for putting a good car underneath me."
1. (1) J.R. Hildebrand, 50, Running $30,000
2. (2) Richard Philippe, 50, Running $23,500
3. (5) Sebastian Saavedra, 50, Running $18,000
4. (4) James Hinchcliffe, 50, Running $16,000
5. (6) Charlie Kimball, 50, Running $15,000
6. (12) Wade Cunningham, 50, Running $15,500
7. (8) Andrew Prendeville, 49, Running $14,000
8. (7) Mario Romancini, 49, Running $13,500
9. (9) Daniel Herrington, 49, Running $13,000
10. (3) James Davison, 49, Running $12,500
11. (15) Pippa Mann, 49, Running $13,000
12. (10) Ana Beatriz, 49, Running $11,500
13. (13) Martin Plowman, 48, Running $13,500
14. (16) Rodrigo Barbosa, 47, Running $12,000
15. (11) Ali Jackson, 44, Mechanical $10,000
16. (14) Gustavo Yacaman, 29, Mechanical $7,500 zzzz
Winner's average speed: 104.190 mph
Time of race: 56:48.5498
Margin of victory: 14.0154 seconds
Cautions: No caution flags
Lead changes: No lead changes
Lap leaders: Hildebrand 1-50.
Point standings: Hildebrand 372, Saavedra 303, Romancini 273, Cunningham 270, Hinchcliffe 267, Davison 256, Herrington 240, Beatriz 221, Kimball 214, Yacaman 213.