Pivotal Doubleheader Weekend For Lights Point Leader Newgarden
When the drivers of the Firestone Indy Lights Series roll into Edmonton City Centre Airport this weekend for Rounds 8 and 9 of the 2012 season they will be well aware that over 100 points are up for grabs. For championship leaders, Josef Newgarden, Esteban Guerrieri and Stefan Wilson, just how many of those points they take home could well dictate the outcome of their season. Newgarden currently sits in the top spot with 267 points, 37 clear of Guerrieri with Wilson a further 9 markers back.
Newgarden has scored a season-high 3 wins, with Guerrieri and Wilson each claiming a single victory, Wilson's having come at the most recent round in Toronto. Although the stakes are higher, Newgarden's approach hasn't changed.
"I think it's going to be a very important weekend, not only for ourselves but for everyone in the championship, to have a strong weekend and maximize the results, seeing as there are two points-paying races up for grabs. Our approach, with the emphasis on the championship, as it has been from the beginning, including race wins and maximizing points, will not change. We're going to be mindful to keep away from mistakes and issues, but certainly we're going to go for wins."
The two 50-lap Indy Lights events will take place on the reconfigured 2.556-mile, 13-turn Edmonton City Centre Airport circuit. The interesting new layout at Edmonton features a very long straight into a hard braking zone for Turn 1, which should be a great passing zone, but it also features some tight sections that have proved troublesome for Newgarden's No. 11 Copart/ScoreBig/Robo-Pong/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara.
"We seem to have had minor little problems in qualifying sessions this year that have put us further down the grid than we would have liked but the main problem is that our car seems to be just a tiny bit sluggish in quick transitions which you tend to get a lot of at temporary street circuits and it looks like Edmonton has a few of those. We've tried everything we can to improve the car's willingness to quickly change direction but nothing really works so it may just be something inherent in the chassis. Fortunately it seems to be more of a problem over one lap in qualifying than it does in the race where you're managing your tires more anyway. Ideally though, we'll be able to dial that out and have a good chance to qualify on top this weekend."
This weekend's Firestone Indy Lights Series double-header is part of the Edmonton Indy weekend at the Edmonton City Centre Airport on July 23-24. Saturday's race will be broadcast live on Versus at 4:30pm ET, and Sunday’s race will be run at 1:15pm ET.