Battistini wins Indy Lights race

Dillon Battistini

Results Saturday of the Miami 100 Firestone Indy Lights event March 29 at the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, laps completed, reason out (if any) and money earned:

1. (2) Dillon Battistini, 67, Running $32,500
2. (5) Richard Antinucci, 67, Running $25,000
3. (13) Brent Sherman, 67, Running $20,000
4. (11) Arie Luyendyk Jr., 67, Running $16,400
5. (15) Chris Festa, 67, Running $15,900
6. (4) Andrew Prendeville, 67, Running $15,400
7. (6) Ana Beatriz, 67, Running $14,900
8. (1) Raphael Matos, 67, Running $15,700
9. (9) Wade Cunningham, 67, Running $13,900
10. (23) J.R. Hildebrand, 67, Running $13,400
11. (3) Sean Guthrie, 67, Running $12,400
12. (14) Logan Gomez, 67, Running $11,400
13. (18) Al Unser III, 67, Running $10,400
14. (21) Juan Manuel Polar, 67, Running $10,000
15. (16) Micky Gilbert, 67, Running $9,500
16. (12) Cyndie Alleman, 67, Running $9,000
17. (8) Bobby Wilson, 67, Running $8,500
18. (22) Tom Wieringa, 67, Running $8,000
19. (19) Jake Slotten, 66, Running $5,000
20. (17) Nathan Freke, 66, Running $4,000
21. (10) Pablo Donoso, 66, Running $3,000
22. (7) James Davison, 58, Running $2,000
23. (20) Jon Brownson, 55, Running $1,000

Race Statistics
Winner's average speed: 156.560 mph
Time of race: 38:07.8215
Margin of victory: 1.6848 seconds
Cautions: 2 caution flags for 7 laps
Lead changes: 4 among 3 drivers
Lap leaders: Matos 1-8, Antinucci 9-11, Matos 12-21, Antinucci 22-63, Battistini 64-67.

Point standings:
Battistini 50, Antinucci 42, Sherman 35, Luyendyk Jr. 32, Festa 30, Prendeville 28, Beatriz 26, Matos 25, Cunningham 22, Hildebrand 20.

DILLON BATTISTINI (No. 15 Panther Racing, finished first): “I'm really enjoying (this type of racing). I just went into the race with an open mind. I wanted to make sure I finished, gained experience and enjoyed myself. I think my inexperience showed at the start when I dropped a few places, probably six or seven. My car was set up to come together at the end of the race. The only problem I had was the restarts after a yellow when the car lost tire pressure. The tires cooled off and I was struggling to get back up to speed for a couple laps. I knew once the car heated up, I would be quick. I had the fast car at the end of the race."

RICHARD ANTINUCCI (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished second): “I think I burned my front tires a little too early. It went longer than expected without a caution. It was so hot, and it puts stress on the car. But we scored good points today, and it’s a long season."

BRENT SHERMAN (No. 16 Best Buddies/PEC, finished third): “I don’t want to say we were saving our tires, but we thought there would be some cautions that we would be able to gain some track position on, and before I know it, it’s two or three (laps) to go. The car was unbelievable – the team gave me a great car. Obviously Dillon had a great run. I’m just happy to be on the podium. I mean I’m sitting back in eighth, saying, ‘How am I going to pull this off, how am I going to get through the traffic?’ But it was really the car. It stuck as good on the last lap as it did on the first. I appreciate the opportunity that Panther has given me. A podium in my first Firestone Indy Lights start – I’m pretty excited about it."

ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 26 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., finished fourth): “It was a struggle. Starting 11th, it’s always going to be difficult to get to the front. But we worked our way up there quite fast. Then the car picked up a huge understeer, so I knew we were in trouble and we kept fading back. But when the restarts came, I knew I had something for them. So I’m really glad we ended up running fourth. Those last two restarts were pretty crazy, but they really helped me out. AFS and Andretti Green did an awesome job preparing the car. We missed a little bit on the setup, but I’m sure we’ll get it together for the next one."

CHRIS FESTA (No. 24 Alliance Motorsports, finished fifth): “We were having some gearbox problems with the upshifts, so we were kind of out to lunch on the restarts and the initial start, but once we got it rolling our car was very good and stayed very consistent. I feel that if the gearbox was upshifting properly we could have challenged for the win today. Today was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Yeah, you’d like to win, but when you come from the back like we did, it’s really good."

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