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Herrington wins, Hildebrand clinches Lights title.


JR Hildebrand continued his march toward a potential IndyCar berth for 2010 by clinching the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights crown at Chicagoland Speedway, although his success from fifth at the chequered flag overshadowed a maiden win for Daniel Herrington and Bryan Herta Autosport.

A conservative finish from a lowly grid slot was enough to ensure the 21-year old Californian cannot by beaten with just one race remaining in the season, leaving the likes of James Davison, Sebastian Saavedra and Wade Cunningham to fight over the crumbs of second spot.

"It's just a dream come true," Hildebrand grinned, "I came into this year with Andretti Green Racing knowing I had every opportunity to make this happen, so it feels great to bring it home to the boys and bring everything back together after the last few years. Hopefully, we can take this and move forward for next year."

Having qualified only 13th, however, the race wasn't easy for the long-time points leader, who follows AFS/AGR predecessor Raphael Matos as champion after needing only to finish 14th.

"It was a total mess out," he reported, "You'd think starting at the back at this kind of circuit wouldn't be so bad. You'd get a big drafting pack, but when the entire field is three- and four-wide, there's nowhere to go. But we just worked our way to the field and got to the front."

Herrington, meanwhile, turned ninth in qualifying into his first Indy Lights victory, beating Davison to the line by 0.0613secs to easily surpass a previous best finish of fifth in his first full season with BHA.

He had been running third behind Cunningham and Davison when the yellow flag flew for an incident involving Mike Potekhen, Ana Beatriz and James Hinchcliffe on lap 32, and got a good jump on the restart, going three-wide into turn four before moving to the front.

"Finally," Herrington exclaimed, "We've had a rough couple of races in the middle of the season but, at the beginning of the year, Bryan told us we would win a race. We just didn't think it would be this late in the season before we did. It sure is nice to get that win."

"It's unbelievable - but it feels great," Herta echoed, "Actually, it feels just like winning as a driver. I'm so excited about Daniel getting his first win and getting him in victory lane. The way it worked was exactly how our programme is set up between Vision Racing and BHA, a technical partnership working together. Out on the track, those guys worked so well together - James helped us out a lot. It's just a great result and a great feeling."

Davison finished second for the second time this season, creating an pseudo 1-2 for Vision Racing.




Related Pictures

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Daniel Herrington celebrates Chicagoland Indy Lights victory with Bryan Herta Autsport   [pic credit: IRL/Snoddy]
JR Hildebrand celebrates Indy Lights title success   [pic credit: IRL/Snoddy]
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V-6, celebrates his victory Sunday, April 19, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach in the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium as Juan Pablo Montoya (l to r), driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar; Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Verizon Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V-6 and Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet V-6, celebrate Saturday, April 18, 2015 after finishing third, first and second in the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach through the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 pumps his fist as he crosses the finish line, winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday, April 19, 2015 in the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to victory Sunday, April 19, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach in the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon lead the field into Turn 1 during the start of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday April 19 2015. (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon enters Turn 3 during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday April 19 2015. (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon navigates the fountain turn complex during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday April 19 2015. (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon wins the 41st Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday April 19 2015. (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
The confetti flies in Victory Lane for Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, and Juan Pablo Montoya on Sunday April 19 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates in Victory Lane following his win in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday April 19 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon drinks the champagne following his win in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday April 19 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon drinks the champagne following his win in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday April 19 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden in his pit stand. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Josef Newgarden apexes the hairpin turn during qualifications for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates winning the pole Saturday, April 18, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach through the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates winning the pole Saturday, April 18, 2015 for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Long Beach through the streets of Long Beach, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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