Vernay all the way in Lights win
Rookie J.K. Vernay picked up a $5,000 bonus from Firestone for winning two Firestone Indy Lights races in a row winning the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
|Winner JK Vernay|
Vernay, starting from the pole in the No. 7 Lucas Slick Mist/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, held off Charlie Kimball by 1.1542 seconds to win the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on the 2.38-mile Barber Motorsports Park.
Vernay, who won the season opener on the temporary St. Petersburg street circuit two weeks earlier, joined Junior Strous (2009) in earning the bonus. He takes a 33-point lead over Kimball in the Firestone Indy Lights championship standings heading to Long Beach. Kimball, driving the No. 26 Levemir FlexPen car for AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport, recorded a career best finish.
1. (1) JK Vernay, 40, Running
2. (2) Charlie Kimball, 40, Running
3. (4) Sebastian Saavedra, 40, Running
4. (3) Martin Plowman, 40, Running
5. (5) James Hinchcliffe, 40, Running
6. (6) Stefan Wilson, 40, Running
7. (11) Dan Clarke, 40, Running
8. (8) Junior Strous, 40, Running
9. (10) Gustavo Yacaman, 40, Running
10. (13) Philip Major, 40, Running
11. (17) Nic LeDuc, 40, Running
12. (12) Pippa Mann, 40, Running
13. (14) Adrian Campos Jr, 40, Running
14. (7) Niall Quinn, 40, Running
15. (9) James Winslow, 39, Running
16. (15) Rodrigo Barbosa, 24, Mechanical
17. (16) Carmen Jorda, 1, Contact zzzz
Race Statistics Winners average speed: 96.627
Time of Race: 57:07.6033 Margin of victory: 1.1542 seconds
Cautions: 2 for 4 laps Lead changes: 1 among two drivers
Lap Leaders: Kimball 1, Vernay 2-40
Point Standings: Vernay 105, Kimball 72, Wilson 63, Plowman 60, Saavedra 53, Yacaman 52, Hinchcliffe 46, Strous 44, Winslow 41, Jan Heylen 40.
J.K. VERNAY (No. 7 Lucas Slick Mist/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, winner Grand Prix of Alabama): "I was trying to take care of my tires early in the race and at the end, I was able to push and the car was still very good at the end of the race. Everybody did a great job and I'm very happy. (About changes between warm-up and the race) "We tried some small changes for the race. It was warmer than this morning. We had to take care of the tires, the engine and the chassis. My engineer did a great job with the setup and the crew did a great job. I couldn't be happier." (About the start of the race): "(Charlie Kimball) was in front before the start line and that's why he let me overtake him on the second lap Charlie was really fair and it was very good race."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 26 Levemir FlexPen, finished second): "I'm happy points wise. Points mean prizes at the end of the year and the NO. 26 Levemir FlexPen car ran great. It bodes well for next week at Long Beach. (About the start of the race): "I came off the brakes going full throttle and it came out of the corner as I expected it to. When (Vernay) went, I don't know if he lifted or dragged the brake, but he fell behind pretty early. I can see why (the officials) up top would say that, but it was a good, clean start. I will have to talk to the officials and see what they saw up top."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 29 William Rast/Bryan Herta Autosport, finished third): "I'm very happy for the team. Bryan Herta Autosport deserved those points. I think we came here very conservative and tried to do our best. We had a good car all weekend long. I just wanted to finish the race, and we did. I'm very happy. Congrats to the other guys on the podium. We'll just have to get them at Long Beach."