IndyCar »

Beatriz leads Schmidt Lights sweep.

Ana Beatriz earned her second career Firestone Indy Lights victory after passing Sam Schmidt Motorsports team-mate Wade Cunningham with nine laps to go in the Miller Lite 100, run under lights at Iowa Speedway.

Cunningham, who also finished second at Iowa in 2007 after leading 105 of 115 laps, had passed polesitter JR Hildebrand for the lead on lap four and led the next 103 laps but, as he and Beatriz caught up to Hildebrand's AFS/AGR team-mate Sebastian Saavedra on the backstretch, the Brazilian was able to get past on the high side while Cunningham was forced to slow. Cunningham's chances of fighting back were then dented when the race ended under caution as James Davison and Pippa Mann crashed on lap 114.

"I was thinking and wanting to finish the race today," Beatriz admitted, "We qualified sixth, but it was great at the start of the race and it was very competitive. I was fortunate to find the right time to pass Wade, as there was a lot of lapped cars out there when that happened. It was all about momentum."

Beatriz's previous victory came at Nashville in 2008, and she remains the only female driver to win in the Firestone Indy Lights series. Her fourth top five finish of the 2009 season also keeps her in touch with the points leaders.

"At the finish, I was thinking it was just unbelievable," she continued, reflecting on the accident in the Firestone Freedom 100 that, combined with a shortage of backing, forced her to sit out the Milwaukee round, "The last couple of weeks have been tough, missing out on sponsorship and then finding a way to come back. I nearly crashed around the flipped car at the end right there, but this team deserves it. I really want to celebrate with them tonight."

Cunningham, however, cut a frustrated figure after seeing a second Iowa race go begging after being the dominant force on track.

"Saavedra is 25 laps down, but running flat out because he has good tyres," he fumed, "The team said 'hey, just let him go, he's just going to keep driving forward'. I was just saving my tyres, so I let him go but, the minute he got in front of me, he slowed down half-a-second a lap because he knows I'm fighting him for the championship and he was out of the race. It's probably the most unsportsmanlike thing I've ever seen on the racetrack, apart from shunting someone into a wall. I hope the stewards do something - because if they don't, I will."

Despite the Kiwi's anger, the night was a bigger success for team owner Sam Schmidt as James Hinchcliffe ensured that his driver recorded the first 1-2-3 finish by team-mates in series history. The result tied Canadian Hinchcliffe's Lights career best following similar finishes in both St Petersburg and Long Beach, but was his best on an oval.

"What a night," he enthused, "First of all, with the delays it was tough - everyone was in the wrong frame of mind heading into tonight and it was tough to stay focused - but we had a pretty good car at the start, It was okay running fourth there behind Daniel [Herrington], but then just sort of started losing it when I got side-by-side in traffic. I did a lot of work in the cockpit with the weightjacker and front bars trying to get it back and, slowly, the car started coming back to us.Then it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time. It's tough to stay out of trouble at a short track like Iowa. I had contact with Daniel at one point and nearly took out both of my team-mates too, but there was some great wheel-to-wheel racing."




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Ana Beatriz - Sam Schmidt Motorsport   [pic credit: IRL/McQueeney]
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, and his team perform the traditional kissing of the bricks after racing to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, drinks the traditional bottle of milk while celebrating his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, crosses the finish line as he races to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Will Power (left), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, finishes second. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Andy Frame/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya is congratulated by his Penske team mate Helio Castroneves after clinching victory in the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates victory in the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates victory in the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Chequered flag for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Walter Kuhn for IndyCar Media)
The start of the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Walter Kuhn for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya meets the press after winning the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Will Power on pit road during the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya in Victory Circle after the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Penske team mates Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power race side-by-wide during the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra`s wrecked car is craned away during the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan`s wrecked car is craned away during the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.