INDYPRO (SPARTA) - ROOKIE MUTOH CLAIMS VICTORY IN KENTUCKY 100
Rookie Hideki Mutoh earned his second Indy Pro Series victory, holding off Alex Lloyd and Wade Cunningham to win the Kentucky 100 at Kentucky Speedway. Mutoh, who will make his IndyCar Series debut with Panther Racing at Chicagoland Speedway, ran three-wide with Lloyd and Cunningham for the lead on the backstretch of the final lap and won by .1023 of a second – the 14th-closest finish in Indy Pro Series history. Chris Festa finished fourth followed by Jaime Camara in the first night race in series history. Lloyd closed in on clinching his first title with his 11th top-five finish of the season. He leads Mutoh by 98 points with three races remaining.
KENTUCKY 100 POST-RACE NOTES: • This is Hideki Mutoh’s second win this season and the second win of his career. He previously won on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in June. • Alex Lloyd finished second, his 11th top-five finish of the season. • Wade Cunningham finished third, his sixth-straight top-five finish. • Chris Festa finished fourth, his best finish since finishing second on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in May.
KENTUCKY 100 POST-RACE QUOTES:
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 55 Panther Racing, winner Kentucky 100): “I'm really excited. I have been looking forward to winning an oval race. I'm really happy. I have to thank the team. They gave me a great race car.”
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Inc., finished second): “It was exciting. It was a lot of fun. I know a lot of people dislike the mile-and-a-halves, but I love them to bits. It was a really hard, fast race. It was a shame we had those yellows and lost 25 laps of running because Hideki and I, and then in those last five laps, Alex -- it could have been anyone. Hideki was fast today and he held the bottom well. It was just a real battle to try to make a pass around the outside him in Turns 1 and 2. Unfortunately I didn't have a draft to help me by on the exit. The speed we were running, there was just a slight compromise between fifth and sixth gear. Neither was perfect, so I just couldn't get it quite done.”
ALEX LLOYD (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished third): “It was a crazy race. Early on, the three of us just pulled away. I knew we didn't quite have the car we needed in traffic. I thought we could be good in the lead but in traffic I was struggling to keep close behind. I just stayed patient and few yellows came out. I was concerned that I wasn't going to get the last few laps to make a run for it. We had a great restart and got to second. It was just a great finish and a great race.
JAIME CAMARA (No. 11 Osofresh, finished fifth): “It was a fun race to drive, starting from the back and coming all the way to fifth. The car was good. I was pretty happy with Andretti Green and AFS Racing. They gave me a great car to race. The yellows were too long. I just didn't have enough time to work my way to the front. With six laps to go, all of hte cars in the front pack were pretty quick. It was definitely hard but we had a good race. I'm happy with fifth.”
CHRIS FESTA (No. 9 CGR Indy Pro Series, finished fourth): “There were more yellows that we would have liked to have but that's the way it goes sometimes. The car was pretty good. We were just struggling to find a straight line speed this weekend. We'll go back and work on it before Chicago. The team did a really good job and we gained some momentum. I just look forward to keeping it going the next few races.
*** The next IndyCar Series event is the Motorola Indy 300 presented by Jackson Rancheria at 3:30 p.m. (ET) on Aug. 26 at Infineon Raceway. The race will be televised live by ESPN and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The next Indy Pro Series event is the Carneros 100 on Aug.25 at Infineon Raceway. ESPN2’s coverage of the Kentucky 100 will be broadcast at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 16 by ESPN2.