Tight title fight for Indy Pro Series

Four races to go, one-third of the season, and six drivers remain in the thick of the battle for the Indy Pro Series championship.

Jay Howard, Bobby Wilson, Jonathan Klein, Jaime Camara, Nick Bussell and Wade Cunningham are involved in the closest point race in Indy Pro Series history. The group is separated by just 64 points.

"The championship is really hard to predict," Bussell said. "There have been so many different winners this season, there's not one person who's in control. There are quite a few guys with a good shot at it. Jay is sitting pretty good, but Bobby Wilson is right there. Even Wade isn't out of it, especially with the way he's been running."

The remaining schedule features two races on 1.5-mile ovals, Aug. 13 at Kentucky Speedway and the season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, and two races on a road course, a doubleheader weekend at Infineon Raceway.

"I'm not very happy with the lead I have as such," said Howard, who has held the point lead since round four, the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "I think it could have been bigger. As long as we don't have any more dramas, mistakes, we should go on and win. I am fortunate to have a 30-point lead."

Howard won the pole at Homestead-Miami Speedway earlier this season, the only 1.5-mile track the series has competed on in 2006, and earned his first career victory on the 1.33-mile oval at Nashville. His No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon car sat on the pole the past two seasons at Kentucky with Travis Gregg behind the wheel.

"If Kentucky goes to plan – we tested there and the car was good – then we should be in good shape," Howard said.

Howard's nearest competitors are Wilson and Klein who are 30 and 31 points behind the leader, respectively.

Wilson, whose win this season came on the road course at Watkins Glen, hopes a solid finish at Kentucky keeps him within striking distance for Infineon.

"I'm looking for a consistent finish at Kentucky, and can't wait to get to Infineon," said Wilson, whose average finish is 5.75 in four oval races this season. "In the oval races, anything can happen, so it would be nice to get out of there with a solid finish. We're looking to dominate at Infineon. I think we should have a very good car."

Klein has his eyes set on passing Wilson for second at Kentucky and moving in on Howard down the road.

"I need to maximize points by all means necessary at Kentucky," said Klein, who qualified second at Homestead. "I'm only one point behind Bobby, and I know he'll be one of the strongest cars at Infineon, and that's a double weekend. Jay's 31 points ahead, but one DNF and I could be right there. It's real cutthroat right now. It's a moment of truth."

Klein is coming off three straight third-place finishes and is looking for his first career victory.

Camara, Bussell and Cunningham are 43, 54 and 64 points back, respectively, and realize they have their work cut out for them.

"Kentucky is a track that you need a very good setup, because you need a car that stays with the same balance until the end of the race. I just need to make sure things proceed the way they are since Nashville," said Camara, who has climbed back into the championship battle with four top-four finishes in the past five races, including a second at Nashville and a win at Milwaukee.

Said Bussell: "Myself, I haven't even thought about the championship. We're so concerned about running better. We haven't been in a position to win, but we're still in contention. Anything can happen on the 1.5-mile ovals. Our best result was on a 1.5, and we've got two of those coming."
The Michigan native finished second at Homestead-Miami and has three consecutive top-six finishes for Cheever Racing.

Cunningham remains the wild card. The defending series champion has nothing to prove, and after missing two races early this season due to illness, can aggressively pursue race wins.

"To win the championship, I'd have to win a majority of the races left and the leaders would have to have horrible luck," Cunningham said. "I'm not banking on that. If you look at the entrant points, we're second, so if we hadn't have missed St Pete we'd be in a much better position."
Cunningham has surged from 14th to sixth in the standings in the last five races with a win and two seconds. He's won three of the last five pole positions and has led laps in four of those five races.

"At Kentucky, we'll roll out a fast car and hope for a repeat of Indy, the test at Nashville and qualifying at Milwaukee. We want to carry our momentum and race at the front."

However things play out at Kentucky, the lead is still Howard's to lose.

"I really don't want to go to Chicago with all types of scenarios in play," he said. 'If so-and-so wins, you have to finish fifth.' That type of thing, because invariably something goes wrong."

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