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DATE News (chronologically)
09/15/12
IRL
Saturday Pre-race Report
Carlos Munoz made the Indy Lights a snoozer, leading all laps en route to the win. David Ostella finished second, with Esteban Guerrieri third. The season championship went to Tristan Vautier, who finished fourth.

"I came over to the USA because of the Mazda Road to Indy," said Vautier. "I was struggling getting up the ladder in Europe and I knew that if I was coming over here and was able to win the Star Mazda Championships I would be able to get into the bigger cars. That was the goal. I won the championship last year. I cannot be thankful enough to Mazda for what they do for young drivers. Obviously, you have to earn it. You have to win championships. But it really rewards the winners, and you know, they don't pick you up because they like you the pick you up because you earned it. You have to win to get into this scholarship system so I'm really thankful to that, I wouldn't be here without them."

Well, maybe a nights sleep did it, but we're hearing that EJ will indeed run tonight's race. Still, for a driver whose reputation for most of his career has been a lack of fear, even a thought of not running was a shocker.

HVM officials told us that they were "concerned" about the 105% rule for their driver. There is no concern -- it will indeed happen. Simona's fastest lap of the week here was some 21 mph slower than the fastest of the month, set by Ed Carpenter. Depending on how far behind Simona is at the start, she'll be lapped in 7 or 8 laps. RIP, Lotus 2012 engine program.

Ed Carpenter's fastest lap of the month at 215.768 is admirable, but it probably wouldn't have been a warm up lap in the old CART series. Gil de Ferran's 2000 lap record was 241.428 mph, and the story goes that Gil put both feet on the gas pedal for the entire lap.

Kudos to Pippa Mann's coverage of the Indy Lights races. Whatever her future in IndyCar, she is naturally talented in the broadcast booth.

We asked Victor Carbone before the start of the Indy Lights race if there was anything that would prepare someone for today's race. He suggested standing in front of a hair dryer for an hour, as the heat pouring into the cars was incredible. Carbone finished 5th. -- Tim Wohlford, reporting from Fontana!!
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