CLUB SPEEDWAY IN FONTANA, CA
September 15, 2012 on NBC Sports
clinches first IndyCar championship; Carpenter wins MAVTV
Guerrieri takes checkered flag in Auto Club Speedway Foundation
BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com
Hunter-Ray celebrates his first IndyCar title at Auto
Club Speedway on Sept. 15, 2012.
Calif. -- Ed Carpenter won Saturday's season-ending
MAVTV 500 IZOD IndyCar series race at Auto Club Speedway
on Saturday under the lights. But the big story of the
day was Ryan Hunter-Reay's first IndyCar championship
title. It was all about the U.S.A. The American-born driver
won the title for an American manufacturer. It was the
first series title for Chevrolet since 2002. Earlier in
the day, Carlos Munoz took the checkered flag in the final
Firestone Indy Lights race of the year, the Auto Club
Speedway Foundation 100.
250-lap race lasted just under three hours. The average
speed was 168.939 mph. The air temperature was 98 degrees
at the start of the race while the track teperature was
113 degrees. Will Power crashed into the turn two barrier
on lap 55 dashing his hopes for the title. He was checked
and released from the infield care center.
depressing to lose the championship again that way,"
Power said. "It's the season, you can't make mistakes
like that. I had understeered all night, I was having
to lift, half a lane lower than I was before and caught
a seam, and yeah. I was surprised, I had been pushing
all day and just went a little bit different than what
I had, and nothing I can say. My team was pushing me to
get around him, and it was just a mistake. It's just depressing."
lap 74, J.R. Hildebrand made light contact with the same
SAFER barrier. Smoke was coming out of Rubens Barrichello's
car on lap 107. A small fire started and then he climbed
out unharmed. On Lap 181, Ryan Briscoe's car made contact
with the turn four barrier. On lap 230, Alex Tagliani
had a mechanical issue.
Kanaan's race car spun out and made contact in turn one
on lap 241. He was checked and released from the infield
was trying to go for it," Kanaan explained. "I
had nothing to lose. I was trying to win the oval championship.
I got caught in the middle of traffic and just lost it.
It's a shame. We had a strong car when I was in front.
It is what it is. Let's move on and get ready for next
lap 247, Franchitti was leading Carpenter by 0.4967 of
a second. Two laps later, Takuma Sato spun out and made
contact in turn two. That gave the lead to Ed Carpenter
who won the race under a caution. His margin of victory
over Franchitti was 1.9132 seconds.
was a wild race," race winner and team owner Carpenter
told the media. "I had never done a 500-miler before
other than Indianapolis. It was fun. We started out great.
The track changed a lot. It took a few stops to get the
right adjustments. I got a really good run on the start.
I wanted to be able to get around him before that yellow.
I stayed clean of Dario. The red flag, I guess that's
a new procedure we have in IndyCar, none of us had heard
about. But it worked out for me tonight so I'll take it.
I wish our season wasn't over. We have a long off-season."
only needed to finish above sixth position to win the
championship. He passed the finish line in fourth. Hunter-Reay
finished the season with a total of 468 points, three
more than Power.
very proud of my country," Hunter-Reay said. "It's
just amazing to get it done. Will is one of the greatest
talents of IndyCar, but we had a breakout year. We've
been riding the wave of momentum. We were struggling this
week. We have a great relationship [Hinchcliffe and Marco
Andretti]. The guys did a great job in the pits. The temperatures
were hot, way over operating range. Everybody was overheating
problems. The most pressure in my life was the last 20
laps. You try and stay cool. It's the biggest opportunity.
Just never give up."
Andretti became the winning team owner for the 2012 IZOD
IndyCar series after his driver, Hunter-Reay, clinched
the title. This is Andretti Autosport's fourth IndyCar
championship after Kanaan in 2004, Wheldon in 2005 and
Franchitti in 2007.
was a crazy, crazy night," Andretti explained. "That's
exactly what we told him going into the race. We knew
it was going to be tough. We had a car that was not so
good in the beginning. Every pit stop, we kept making
it better and better. Ryan did one hell of a job. He drove
his butt off when he needed to. We got it done. It feels
really good. It was a nerve-wrecking day. Everybody worked
really hard. The three worked together [Hunter-Reay, Chincliffe
and Marco Andretti]. They're friends. I heard Power hit
the wall and didn't win. Hats off to the Penske guys."
celebrated its first manufacturer series title after returning
to IndyCar at the start of this season. Previously, Chevrolet
participated as an engine manufacturer from 1986-93 and
2002-05 with its V8 engines. During that period, the automaker
finished with 105 race wins and six driver championships.
has just been awesome from start to finish," Hunter-Reay
explained. "They've given us the power to win this
championship. Chevy has done a magnificent job. I couldn't
be happier to win for an American brand."
added: "Chevy has been a great partner. We evaluated
which way to go at the end of this year. We just felt
like they are a real strong company. They are really serious
about winning. We really felt confident that we were going
to make the right decision with going with Chevrolet.
Obviously, in the end, I think we did."
were 43 caution laps and 29 lead changes during the MAVTV
500. Franchitti had the overall fastest lap of 216.561
mph on lap 228 while Carpenter had the fastest leader
lap of 215.745 mph on lap 229. Pole winner Marco Andretti
finished the race in eighth position. Only six cars finished
on the lead lap.
wins Firestone Indy Lights title; Munoz takes checkered
flag in Auto Club Speedway Foundation 100
in the day, rookie Carlos Munoz won the season-ending
Auto Club Speedway Foundation 100 race. The air temperature
was 102 degrees at the start of the race while the track
temperature was a balmy 137 degrees. Munoz's margin of
victory over David Ostrella was 0.6344 seconds. Munoz
also had the fastest leader lap with a speed of 187.391
mph on lap five.
words to say, my last race of the season win so I'm really
happy with the Andretti team giving me a great car,"
Munoz explained. "I knew I had to save some tires.
I was running really high to save tires and keep my speed
up. Ostrella was catching up and we won. I knew in these
oval races, anything can happen. Yesterday, in the second
practice, I was not feeling really good with the car.
We worked a lot yesterday night with my engineer. Just
today, I had fantastic car overall with the race. It was
great and now I'm pretty happy."
were two cautions during the race. The first one was for
a "no start" from laps one through two. The
other was for Jorge Goncalvez's crash in turn four, which
lasted for laps eight through 10.
was a hell of a season," said 2012 Firestone Indy
Lights Champion Tristan Vautier. "We had a few bumps
on the road. We managed to do it. It was a very tough
day today. I struggled with my tires. Today, the air was
not too humid. I was expecting it to be harder. I managed
to get fourth position, but be not too greedy. I tried
to keep cool and it worked. I can't be thankful enough
to Mazda for what they do for young drivers. I would not
be in this seat without the scholarship I got from them.
A lot of pressure last year as well."
of the 14 drivers finished on the lead lap. Pole winner
Sebastian Saavedra had a mechanical problem and wasn't
able to complete a single lap. Jorge Goncalvez got into
a crash on lap six, Peter Dempsey had a mechanical issue
on lap 15 and Gustavo Yacaman finished one lap down.
team owner, Sam Schmidt, added: "Race where you can,
win and dominate. It was a pretty easy decision for him
to go back to Mazda and compete for the championship.
I knew it would happen just like this. He would have no
problem winning. We have a phenomenal group of people
on our Indy Lights team. It's been almost like a dream.
We had to make a lot of changes this time last year .
He was extremely focused in and out of the car."
Auto Club Speedway Foundation 100 race took only 37 minutes
and 38 seconds to complete. The average speed of the 50-lap
race was 159.410 mph. Second-place finisher David Ostrella
was credited with the overall fastest lap with a speed
of 187.513 mph on lap 13.
up: The drivers will have several months to relax before
the 2013 season gets underway on the Streets of St. Petersburg.
Club Speedway Foundation 100 Official Race Results
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