Hinchcliffe wins Chicago Lights race
James Hinchcliffe held off Pippa Mann by 0.0159 of a second - the third-closest margin of victory in Firestone Indy Lights history - to win the Chicagoland 100.
Mann, who led her first laps of the season in the No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, recorded a career-best finish and led three Sam Schmidt Motorsports drivers across the line. Philip Major also posted a career best to finish third and series championship points leader J.R. Vernay was fourth.
Hinchcliffe, who started 13th, was driving the high line and caught Mann on Lap 66 following a Lap 63 restart. It was his third victory of the season (first on an oval).
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 2 TMR-Xtreme Coil Drilling, winner Chicagoland 100): "It was tough, I wasn't sure I would have enough. Pippa (Mann) was super strong. At the drop of the green, we had to make up from 13th to first. I sort of went for it with two laps to go and I thought I may have gone a lap too early but I had a really good run off of Turn 2. I was able to get alongside Pippa and side-draft her a bit. She pushed me kind of high and that may have hurt her momentum a bit. Then the same thing off of Turn 4, and we were able to use the angle to run down to the start/finish line. That's Chicagoland racing.
PIPPA MANN (No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsport, finished second): "Hinch and I did some side-by-side racing today and he had an awesome car. When he was right behind me on the last restart, I thought this is the last person I want to see in my mirrors and I mean that in the most complementary way. I had something for everyone out there today but the guy that crossed the line first. My team did an amazing job but at the end of the day, the better guy won the race.
PHILIP MAJOR (No. 49 Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished third): "Oh man, this is probably one of the craziest tracks I have ever raced at. It's my first time here. I don't remember a lap where we weren't side-by-side and almost banging wheels. It was crazy. In the end, you just have to feel out your car and make adjustments, put yourself in the right place and try to finish at the podium in the end.
J.K. VERNAY (No. 7 Lucas/CJ/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished fourth): "I'm really disappointed because we had a chance to win. The last two laps were really odd. I have nothing to say really about this race. The car was great. The team did a great job. The strategy was not good, that's all."
1. (13) James Hinchcliffe, 67, Running
2. (2) Pippa Mann, 67, Running
3. (4) Philip Major, 67, Running
4. (5) J.K. Vernay, 67, Running
5. (11) Dan Clarke, 67, Running
6. (10) Stefan Wilson, 67, Running
7. (14) Arie Luyendyk Jr., 67, Running
8. (12) Adrian Campos Jr., 67, Running
9. (9) Dillon Battistini, 67, Running
10. (15) Rodrigo Barbosa, 67, Running
11. (3) Sebastian Saavedra, 64, Running
12. (8) Brandon Wagner, 64, Running
13. (1) Martin Plowman, 58, Contact
14. (6) Charlie Kimball, 5, Contact
15. (7) Gustavo Yacaman, 5, Contact zzzz
Time of Race: 42:30.9080
Winners average speed: 143.723
Margin of victory: .0159 of a second
Cautions: 4 cautions for 17 laps
Lead changes: 4 among three drivers
Lap Leaders: Plowman 1-29, Mann 30-59, Hinchcliffe 60, Mann 61-65
Point Standings: Vernay 444, Hinchcliffe 391, Kimball 343, Plowman 338, Saavedra 303, Clarke 271, Wilson 262, Major 258, Yacaman 249, Campos 243.