Vernay goes flag-to-flag in Toronto
Polesitter JK Vernay hopes to move up to IndyCar in 2011 and today he helped that cause by winning his 4th Firestone Indy Lights race of 2010 by leading flag-to-flag in Toronto Sunday. The rookie held off James Hinchcliffe the entire race until Dan Clarke passed Hinchliffe on the last lap as the Canadian's tires appeared to be all used up. Hinchcliffe later crashed on the same lap.
“I didn't take risks because I had the chance to lead and didn't have to pass,” said Vernay, who has stood on the podium in six of the seven races. “But I'm not focused on the championship. My goal is to win the championship, for sure. But I prefer to be focused race after race, great qualifying, because on the road courses it is really important. If you start on pole, second, the first two rows, really it's a big deal.
“I really wanted to win here because I know that on the road track, on the city track, I'm really quick. I finished second in the World Cup in F3 for a rookie in my car. I know that I'm confident.”
Dan Clarke, driving the No. 40 Wasteco Deans Knight Special, was second (his best finish of the season) and Gustavo Yacaman finished third (also a season best) in the No. 10 Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing entry.
“We really were struggling at the beginning of the year. It’s a new car, new team, but we did a great job this weekend,” Yacaman said. “Everyone on the team worked together and succeeded as a team, which is the way to go. This race is really challenging. It’s a really long race and physically challenging. You’re just bouncing off of every wall and so close to them. I’ve never been closer to the wall in my life before, not even on an oval. But I’m just really excited. The car was really good and the guys just did an overall awesome job.”
J.K. VERNAY (No. 7 Lucas/CJ/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, winner Toronto 100): "The beginning of the race is very difficult because in the first corner, the inside part of the track was very slippery. I touched James. I didn't want to do that but I had no choice. After that, my front left suspension was a bit broken. It was really difficult. I had to change my driving style to manage my tire. When my engineer told me ten laps to go, I knew I would be OK. I just wanted to push and make a big gap. I saw James crash on the last lap. I feel sorry for him but I can't say it's not a good thing for me in the championship."
DAN CLARKE (No. 40 Wasteco Deans Knight Special, finished second): "It is great to be on the podium again. I would have been happy with third after the year we've had. I've never actually finished in my previous races at Toronto. I was going to happy with third. I got a good run on Hinchcliffe on the back straight of the last lap. It was the closet I had ever been to him and I knew I could get him then. He kept it high in the breaking zone and I thought, fair enough, I have it. Then he just slid on. I know how it feels to do that. But I'm very happy for Walker Racing. We're going to celebrate now."
GUSTAVO YACAMAN (No. 10 Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, finished third): "This is my maiden podium, we really were struggling at the beginning of the year, it's a new car, new team but we did a great job this weekend. Everyone on the team worked together and succeeded as a team which that is the way to go. This race is really challenging, it's a really long race and physically really challenging. You're just bouncing off of every wall and so close to them. I've never been closer to the wall in my life before, not even on an oval. But I'm just really excited, the car was really good and the guys just did an overall awesome job."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 26 Levemir FlexPen, finished fourth): "That was a lot of fun. It was a really long, hard, hot race. The #26 Levemir car was good from green to checkered. I could fight all day; I could have gone another 10-15 laps for sure. The car was only getting better. All the credit goes to the AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport guys. Except for a mechanical issue during qualifying, we were in the top five all weekend. On to Edmonton and, if not a win, definitely a podium finish."
STEFAN WILSON (No. 28 Bryan Herta Autosport, finished fifth): " It was a great race. It was difficult weekend for the number 28. We had been set up and were struggling to find the right direction to go all weekend. We qualified badly, ended up p10 but we worked really hard every day to try and improve the car and I think it paid off, we had a really fast car out there. I'm really pleased with the performance this weekend. The race was a little difficult; I made a mistake and went down the run-off barrier and had to spin the car around so I dropped at least 40 seconds to the leaders then had to work so hard to get back up with them."
MARTIN PLOWMAN (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers/KEP Printing): "This was my worst finish in this season, but it was probably one of the best races I've run in the last two years. I lost a wing on lap 2 but my team did a fantastic job to get me back out there. I stayed on the lead lap, and didn't lose a lap after that. I think I had the fastest car out there, I had quite a few good passes, and then when that full course yellow came out it was great because that allowed me to bunch up to the rest of the field. I made a few more passes on the restart and overall it was a fantastic way to end a bad start. I want to thank IZOD and everybody that was involved, because this is easily one of my favorite events of the year."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 29 William Rast/Bryan Herta Autosport, finished 14th): "It's very disappointing, coming from last year which was such a victory for me, then coming to this year which is such a disappointment for me. It's hard for us and hard for the points. We were looking forward to the championship but we'll keep fighting with several races to go."
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