Hunter-Reay Wins IZOD IndyCar Series Title as Carpenter Wins MAVTV 500
FONTANA, Calif. -- The IZOD IndyCar Series championship was Will Power's to lose entering the MAVTV 500 INDYCAR World Championships at Auto Club Speedway. After Lap 55, it became Ryan Hunter-Reay's to win.
For the third consecutive year, contact in the season finale altered the title aspirations of the Aussie. The No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car "caught a seam" in Turn 2 of the 2-mile oval, spun and made contact with the SAFER Barrier while running 12th -- a few car lengths ahead of Hunter-Reay's No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car.
Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti relayed to a surprised Hunter-Reay, who 18 hours before had signed a two-year contract extension, that he had to finish sixth to claim his first series championship by one point.
But wait. In this season of surprises, ultra-tight competition and high drama, all three collectively focused on the Team Penske garage as the crew converged to repair the Dallara chassis and collect 11 more laps to finish 24th and ahead of the retired car of E.J. Viso.
That's exactly what transpired, forcing Hunter-Reay to finish at least fifth. Crews from rival teams cheered as the No. 12 entry was wheeled onto pit lane.
That went by the wayside as Alex Tagliani's engine expired with 20 laps left and then Tony Kanaan's car made contact with the Turn 4 SAFER Barrier on Lap 241, creating a red flag with the restart on Lap 244.
Ed Carpenter earned his second IZOD IndyCar Series victory for the second consecutive year in the finale and with Dario Franchitti as the runner-up. Scott Dixon finished third and Helio Castroneves was fifth.
Hunter-Reay was running third on the restart and lost two positions, but the 31-year-old Floridian regained one spot when Takuma Sato's car crashed on the final lap. The points difference, in over 15 events on the most diverse set of racetracks in motorsports, was three points over Power.
Hunter-Reay also clinched the A.J. Foyt Trophy for most points scored on ovals. He entered the race tied with Kanaan.
Franchitti, who won the last IZOD IndyCar Series race at the speedway in 2005, tied Al Unser Jr. and Bobby Rahal for fifth all time with 88 podium finishes. He also passed Rick Mears with his 112th top-five finish and tied Castroneves and Dixon for eighth with his 29th runner-up finish.
DAY 2 NOTEBOOK:
Officials with Andretti Autosport confirmed that driver Ryan Hunter-Reay will return to the team after he signed a contract extension.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (President, Chairman and CEO, Andretti Autosport):"We are happy to have Ryan (Hunter-Reay) back with us for the 2013 and 2014 IndyCar seasons. He is a tough competitor and has become an important part of our team. He is the ultimate team player and I know we can count on him, along with his teammates, to continue to be a foundation for us. We believe that he, Marco (Andretti) and James (Hinchcliffe) will continue to work together and take the team to great places with great success."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (Driver, Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda): "I have a lot of deep rooted relationships with the team and the team sponsors and I'm looking forward to continuing and further developing those relationships. I'm happy to be able to enjoy the off season knowing what the next two years hold. I'm looking forward to my return with Andretti Autosport and hope to have the opportunity to speak more on it soon, but today we are focused on leaving Fontana tonight with a championship."
Former Indy car champion Alex Zanardi won two gold medals and a silver in the recent London Paralympics using a handbike created by INDYCAR chassis manufacturer Dallara.
Zanardi, who won a gold in the individual time trial class H4, another gold medal in the individual H4 (a 64 km race), and a silver in the medley relay.
These remarkable achievements were all accomplished with a very special handbike, developed largely in Dallara, with the aid of professionals and friends whom Zanardi has known for much of his life, since he began racing in the 1988 Formula 3 championship with a car made in Varano.
Dialma Zinelli: "The hardest thing was to define the best riding position, with the correct height and a comfortable shell. But for each small change, Alex gave us very precise feedback due to the sensitivity he developed as a driver." Regarding the whole project, he added: "It's been fantastic, emotionally intense; the team was extraordinarily motivated and the driving force behind this enthusiasm was all Alex."
Dallara's CEO, Mr. Andrea Pontremoli: "Alex was able to involve the entire company with his dream and we are proud that the result rewards an exceptional person. It has also promoted the image of an Italy that works."
Gian Paolo Dallara said "he is a unique person, enriching those who have the privilege of knowing him.
MAVTV 500 RACE RUNNING:
At 5:45 p.m., the ambient temperature was 98 degrees, with a relative humidity of 14 percent. Skies were fair. The track temperature was 113 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.
5:46 p.m. - Nate Block, General Manager, DISH Commercial Services and grand marshal of the MAVTV 500, gave the command, "Drivers, start your engines." All cars have started and are rolling on the grid.
Lap 1: #26 Andretti leads the field into Turn 1. #11 Kanaan makes a pass for the lead in Turn 2. He leads at the line .1339 of a second.
Lap 2: #26 Andretti takes the leads for Kanaan with a pass in Turn 3.
Lap 5: #4 Hildebrand leads #26 Andretti by .3176 of a second.
Lap 10: #4 Hildebrand leads #26 Andretti by .2038 of a second.
JR Hildebrand leads an IZOD IndyCar Series race for the third time in 2012 and the sixth time in his IZOD IndyCar Series career. The most laps he has led in the series was 7 at Indianapolis in 2011.
Lap 15: #4 Hildebrand leads #26 Andretti by .5040 of a second.
Lap 20: #4 Hildebrand leads #26 Andretti by 1.6092 seconds.
Lap 25: #4 Hildebrand leads #2 Briscoe by 3.2449 seconds.
Lap 30: #4 Hildebrand leads #2 Briscoe by 3.6495 seconds.
Lap 31: #26 Andretti on pit road for four tires and fuel and wing adjustment.
Lap 35: #4 Hildebrand leads #2 Briscoe by 3.3510 seconds.
Lap 36: Leader #4 Hildebrand on pit road for four tires and fuel. New leader is #2 Briscoe.
Lap 38: #2 Briscoe on pit road for four tires and fuel. New leader is #15 Sato.
Lap 39: #15 Sato on pit road for four tires and fuel. New leader is #67 Newgarden.
Lap 40: #67 Newgarden on pit road for four tire and fuel. New leader is #4 Hildebrand.
Lap 42: Green flag stops complete, #4 Hildebrand leads #20 Carpenter by 5.0874 seconds. #67 Newgarden off the pace in Turn 3. Driver reports car has no power.
Lap 46: #4 Hildebrand leads #20 Carpenter 5.8138 seconds.
Lap 50: #4 Hildebrand leads #2 Briscoe by 3.4500 seconds.
Lap 55: YELLOW. #12 Power spins and makes hard left-side contact with SAFER Barrier in Turn 2. Driver climbs from the car without assistance from the Holmatro Safety Team. Leaders under caution are: #4 Hildebrand, #2 Briscoe, #20 Carpenter, #11 Kanaan, #98 Tagliani.
Lap 58: All lead laps cars on pit lane for four tires and fuel. #4 Hildebrand wins the race off pit road followed by #20 Carpenter and #8 Barrichello.
Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, INDYCAR Medical Director: Will Power has been checked and released from the infield care center. He is cleared to drive.
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): "It's depressing to lose the championship again that way. It's the season, you can't make mistakes like that. I had understeer all night, I was having to lift, half a lane lower than I was before and caught a seam, and yeah. Man, I don't know what to say, it's depressing. 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. It's just depressing. My team was pushing me to get around him, and it was just a mistake. Just a mistake. I think now there's a very slim chance (for the championship), kind of don't even watch the rest of the race. But you know, I don't know what to say. I don't know what emotion to feel right now, so disappointed."
Lap 65: GREEN. #4 Hildebrand leads the field into Turn 1.
Lap 66: #20 Carpenter takes the lead in Turn 2.
IZOD IndyCar Series officials have penalized #22 Servia with a drive-through penalty for having too many men over the wall and #5 Viso with a drive-through for jumping the restart on Lap 65.
Lap 70: #20 Carpenter leads #4 Hildebrand by .1660 of a second.
Lap 74: YELLOW. #4 Hildebrand slows dramatically on the backstretch after making light contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2. Leader under caution is #20 Carpenter.
Lap 75: Leaders on pit road for four tires and fuel. #19 Jakes does not stop and assumes the lead of the race. #20 Carpenter wins the race off of pit road followed by #11 Kanaan and #9 Dixon.
Lap 81: Coming to the restart, #18 Wilson spins after contact from #6 Legge in Turn 3. #18 Wilson stops on course. #6 Legge heads to pit lane for repairs.
Lap 85: GREEN. #19 Jakes leads the field into Turn 1. #20 Carpenter takes the lead in Turn 3.
Lap 90: #20 Carpenter leads #9 Dixon by .7428 of a second.
Lap 95: #20 Carpenter leads #9 Dixon by .3395 of a second.
Lap 100: #20 Carpenter leads #9 Dixon by .6519 of a second.
Lap 106: #20 Carpenter leads #9 Dixon by .9864 of a second.
Lap 107: YELLOW. Smoke trailing from #8 Barrichello. Car stops off course and has a small fire on board. Barrichello climbs from his car without assistance. Leader under caution are: #20 Carpenter, #9 Dixon, #15 Sato, #11 Kanaan and #10 Franchitti.
Lap 110: Leaders on pit lane for four tires and fuel. #20 Carpenter wins the race off of pit road followed by #11 Kanaan, #9 Dixon and #15 Sato.
Lap 115: GREEN. #20 Carpenter leads the field into Turn 1.
Lap 120: #20 Carpenter leads #11 Kanaan by .2194 of a second
Lap 123: #9 Dixon takes lead of the race off of Turn 4.
Lap 124: #12 Power has rejoined the race.
Lap 125: #9 Dixon leads #20 Carpenter by .4253 of a second.
Lap 130: #9 Dixon leads #11 Kanaan by .2969 of a second.
Lap 134: #11 Kanaan takes lead from #9 Dixon in Turn 2.
Lap 135: #11 Kanaan leads #9 Dixon by .4589 of a second.
Lap 140: #11 Kanaan leads #3 Castroneves by .5499 of a second.
Lap 146: #11 Kanaan leads #3 Castroneves by 2.1519 seconds.
Lap 148: Leader #11 Kanaan on pit road for four tires and fuel. New leader is #3 Castroneves. #9 Dixon also on pit road for four tires and fuel.
Lap 150: Leader #3 Castroneves on pit road for four tires and fuel. New leader is #15 Sato.
Lap 152: Leader #15 Sato on pit road for four tires and fuel. New leader is #11 Kanaan.
Lap 155: Green flag pit stops compete, #11 Kanaan leads #9 Dixon by .2714 of a second.
Lap 160: #11 Kanaan leads #9 Dixon by .2756 of a second.
Lap 165: #11 Kanaan leads #9 Dixon by .1762 of a second.
Lap 170: #11 Kanaan leads #9 Dixon by 1.0385 seconds.
Lap 175: #11 Kanaan leads #9 Dixon by 2.3996 seconds.
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus HVM Racing Lotus): "It was a frustrating season, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. We worked really hard to get the car ready and hoped that we would be competitive. I feel bad for the team. They worked crazy hours replacing two engines this weekend and it would have been nice to have been able to finish the season on a high note. We've learned a lot this season and have to take that into what we expect to be a much better year next year."
Lap 180: #11 Kanaan leads #9 Dixon by 2.0351 seconds.
Lap 181: YELLOW. #2 Briscoe makes contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 4. Car continues on to pit lane. Leader under caution are: #11 Kanaan, #9 Dixon, #15 Sato, #20 Carpenter and #10 Franchitti.
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 18 Sonny's BBQ Honda): "It was a disappointing end to the day. The Sonny's Bar-B-Q Honda was pretty good out there. I'm not sure if we'd have been in contention to win it, but we were definitely moving forward every stint and I was really pleased with the progress we were making. It's so frustrating to be taken out of the race like that. There was a big stack-up in front of me and I just got rammed from behind. Unfortunately that damaged the gearbox so that we couldn't get a gear and the clutch wouldn't work either, so that was the end of our race."
Lap 184: Leaders on pit road for four tires and fuel. #9 Dixon wins the race off of pit road and assumes the lead of the race.
Lap 189: GREEN. #9 Dixon leads the field into Turn 1.
Lap 195: #20 Carpenter makes move for the lead on the backstrtech #9 Dixon leads at the line by .0432 of a second.
Lap 200: #20 Carpenter leads #9 Dixon by .2495 of a second.
Lap 204: #98 Tagliani passes #20 Carpenter for the lead in Turn 1.
Lap 205: #98 Tagliani leads #20 Carpenter by .4072 of a second.
Lap 210: #98 Tagliani leads #20 Carpenter by .3444 of a second.
Lap 215: #98 Tagliani leads #20 Carpenter by .3970 of a second.
Lap 218: #20 Carpenter takes lead in Turn 2, then runs high and makes light contact with the wall.
Lap 219: #98 Tagliani takes lead from #20 Carpenter.
Lap 221: #98 Tagliani leads #15 Sato by 1.4803 seconds.
Lap 223: #15 Sato, #20 Carpenter and #38 Rahal on pit lane for four tires and fuel.
Lap 224: #98 Tagliani on pit road for four tires and fuel. New leader is #10 Franchitti. #28 Hunter-Reay on pit lane for four tires and fuel.
Lap 225: Leaders #10 Franchitti and #9 Dixon on pit lane for four tires and fuel. Leader is #98 Tagliani.
Lap 228: #15 Sato makes pass for the lead in Turn 2.
Lap 230: YELLOW. #98 Tagliani slows on course in Turn 4 with a mechanical issue. Car continues onto point lead. Leader is #20 Carpenter, #15 Sato and #10 Franchitti.
Lap 235: GREEN. #20 Carpenter leads the field in Turn 1.
Lap 237: #10 Franchitti takes the lead in Turn 2.
Lap 240: #10 Franchitti leads #20 Carpenter by .5676 of a second.
Lap 241: YELLOW. #11 Kanaan spins and makes contact in Turn 1. Leaders under caution are: #10 Franchitti, #20 Carpenter, #28 Hunter-Reay, #15 Sato and #26 Andretti.
Lap 242: RED FLAG has been displayed.
Engine have been re-fired after a delay of 4 minute, 56 second. Green flag will be displayed second time by the flag stand.
Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, INDYCAR Medical Director, Tony Kanaan has been checked and released from the infield care center. He is cleared to drive.
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 GEICO/Mouser Electronics KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "I was trying to go for it. 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 year."
Lap 244: GREEN. #10 Franchitti leads the field into Turn 1. #20 Carpenter makes bid for the lead in Turn 1, but can't pull off the pass.
Lap 247: #10 Franchitti leads #20 Carpenter by .4967 of a second.
Lap 249: WHITE: #10 Franchitti leads #20 Carpenter. Carpenter makes a bid for the lead in Turn 1. YELLOW. #15 Sato spins and makes contact in Turn 2. Leader under caution is #20 Carpenter, who will win the MAVTV 500.
MAVTV 500 POST-RACE NOTES:
• This is Ed Carpenter's first win in 2012 and his second career Indy car win. He won at Kentucky in 2012.
• This is Ed Carpenter Racing's first win in the IZOD IndyCar Series team. Its previous best finish was 8th at Milwaukee and Iowa.
• Dario Franchitti finished second, his fifth top-five finish of the season. It is his 29th second-place finish in Indy car racing, which ties him for eighth with Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon.for It is the 88th podium finish in Indy car racing, tying him for fifth all-time with Al Unser Jr. and Bobby Rahal.
• Scott Dixon finished third, his eighth top-five finish of the season.
• Ryan Hunter-Reay finished fourth to clinch his first IZOD IndyCar Series title by three points over Will Power.
• Helio Castroneves finished fifth, his fifth top-five in 2012.
MAVTV 500 POST RACE QUOTES:
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet, 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series Champion): "I have no idea (how I got won this championship). It was team effort right there. We were struggling all weekend. I didn't want to let anyone really know about it. We were really in the woods. This hasn't sunk in yet. I just drove 500 miles for my life. I can't believe we're INDYCAR champions. I can't even believe this. DHL, Sun Drop, Circle K, Chevrolet, the fans, INDYCAR. My dream has come true. This is unbelievable." (About the late race red flag): "I just wanted to get set in a rhythm because I knew when we got in a rhythm it was a little bit better. With the red flag, that really got the nerves going. Sitting in pit lane, I knew the tires would take in a heat cycle and that it would slide around a lot. Everybody raced tough, but they raced clean. My god. I didn't think we had it for the first half of the race and we kept getting it better and better and better. Michael (Andretti) did a great job on the radio and the guys did a great job in the pits. This hasn't sunk in yet." (About the Power incident): "I don't know how close it was. He was right next to me and I saw him lose it, so I bet it was pretty close. He was joking around that he would take me out if I was next to him and he almost did."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, winner MAV TV 500): "This feels great for a brand new team that just started in November. I probably should have won Indy but I kind of messed up a little bit. We have been trying to win ovals all year and finally got it done tonight. A good way to end the year." (Passing Dario) "I got a good start, I thought that maybe that was going to be my last chance to get by him and then he just kept protecting the bottom and I started working the top where I would run all night through one and two and kept building momentum, and building momentum and finally got close enough to get a draft and get a run around him on the front stretch."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "(On last lap) "Almost isn't quite good enough. Ed just got a big run, I don't know if he turned to wake up or what there but he got a big run around the outside and down there had been working for me all night and the middle of the corner started to push up and it was either take us both out or and wreck us both or take left and I took left and he got passed and out came the yellow. So that happenes. He drove a great race though I can't take anything away from him. Want to thank the Target boys, think we did a good job getting up there. Ultimately the smallest amounts, but you win by those and you lose by those." (On RHR) "That was a surprise. Congratulations to the Andretti guys. Good friends of mine. I'm happy to see them do that. Well done to Ryan, he drove a great race. I just wish I could have hung on there for a couple of seconds and won this race."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central Honda): "Overall, it was a really good day for the team and I'm really pleased. The Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing team did a superb job. We stuck with it. There were times where we were good and there were times where we were bad. At the end of the day we stuck with the fight and we worked hard. We had a really good effort tonight."
RUBENS BARRICHELLO (No. 8 BMC | Embrase - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "I enjoyed myself a lot out there. I had a good car at the beginning and it was all going really well, but unfortunately it ended literally in fumes. I enjoyed being back on ovals and at Fontana. I need to thank my crew for their hard work this year a look forward to next year."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): "It's nice to finish out 2012 with a top-10 for the whole Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew. They deserved better than that tonight. We had a much better car but I made a mistake in the pits and it took me too long to figure it out early in the race but I know that the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car is going to come back stronger next year. We got this figured out. We're ready to go figure out the rest of our short-comings. We'll be stronger next year, and more importantly, faster."
E .J. VISO (No. 5 CITGO | PDVSA - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "This was one of the most frustrating weekends of my career. Starting with testing on Wednesday I had a car that was extremely difficult to drive because it lacked grip. I believed at the time it was because the track was very slick especially with the downforce levels we were running. Today I had the same feeling in the car, but I was really looking forward to the last race of the season. I was focused and I thought we had a chance to make it into the top-six. However, in the race I had to stop because I was lacking both front and rear grip. We aren't sure what caused it, but we definitely need to investigate that."
WADE CUNNINGHAM: (No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "I knew we were facing an uphill battle coming in. If anyone told us we'd have to battle through a crunched car, four laps down and come back to finish 14th, well I think everyone on the ABC Supply team can hold their heads high. We had good pit stops- never lost positions relatively, everyone hit their marks and the ABC car rolls back into the trailer after 500 long miles, so there's a lot of satisfaction for me."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports): "It was a long race, for sure. At some point, I asked where we were in the lap count and Rob (Edwards, SSM team manager) told me not even half-way, and I thought 'ooh, that's a long race, longer than a stint in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.' It was a good race for us though. As soon as the sun went down, the car was really dialed in. It was super fast with a really good set-up. I never had any surprises. We definitely had a shot at a top-five position. We were that strong, but unfortunately we had some heat issues. The car was close to overheating because we collected some debris in the radiator, and it cost us a lot of laps in the pits."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): "I think this race pretty much sums up our season. It's been a tough year. Tonight we really couldn't find the consistency or the brakes. I think for the off season we'll look to apply everything we learned here and come out swinging in 2013. It was good that we ran the whole race after the problem we had. It's better than not running it and it's great experience. I thought the race was great. I really enjoyed it. The low downforce was very tricky. I would have liked to have been a part of the front group. It was a shame that we had a problem and were out of the mix early on."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Auto Club Team Penske Chevrolet): "We had a good start. Certainly conservative. Car was good enough to keep going, unfortunately we kept having some vibration and thats what keeps stopping us moving forward. At the end of the day it was a hell of a restart. New tires, trying to pass everybody. But unfortunately we needed one more lap or actually that yellow did not need to happen. But I thought it was a great race. I though the crowd had a good race. I am upset about the championship for Team Penske and well focus on dancing now."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "There were definitely times there where it was looking hopeful. All credit to my guys, getting the car out and doing those 12 laps to get a couple of points. At the end of the day, Hunter-Reay is definitely a deserving champion. A real fighter. Probably as far as all around drivers go, he's probably the best in the series because he wins in each discipline. If I look back on the season, once again the ovals - three crashes on three of the ovals this year, that's a massive hit in the points. Three years winning the road course championship, quite convincingly, so it's very obvious where I lack."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 98 Barracuda Racing Honda): "I think we were the car to beat at the end," he said. "I won't lie, it's disappointing, but I would race with Honda any given day. I'm very thankful that they allowed us back into their group. I'm a Honda driver and I want to race with them for a long time. These are things that happen. It's racing, it's mechanical and it's out of our control. Overall, I'm very pleased with the team and the way that everybody performed during the season. It's a hell of a job that the Barracuda Racing crew did. It's a shame because where we were heading at the finish would've probably put us in the top 10 in championship points, but it was an amazing comeback. I'm proud of the way that we finished the season, showing how strong we are. We had our share of bad luck and this was another one. But next year is going to be a totally different situation. Next year is going to be our year."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team RC Cola Chevrolet): "It's a good thing we were prepared for war tonight. That's what we had. It was just fight, fight, fight. We were fast, but we had some clutch issues that caused us to stall a couple of times in the pits, so we would drop back and then have to claw our way back up there. I wish we could have had a better result after starting on the pole, but we tried our hardest. Congratulations to Ryan (Hunter-Reay) on the championship, they deserve it, and the whole Andretti Autosport team worked really well together this year, and winning the championship is a great reward for everyone in the company."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet): "This is one of those times when we're all hoping that we get back to the shop and find that something was broken on the car. We had such a strong first stint, we moved up to seventh, and the guys were great in the pits and then it just fell off the wagon. As soon as the sun went down, I'm not sure if it was just the set-up or a problem, but either way a very tough day for the Go Daddy guys. They deserve better than that. I really wanted the season to end on a high note, so for us it's a bittersweet day. With Ryan taking the championship, it's huge for the team, and big congrats to him and everybody on the team for working so hard all year. We're thrilled for him."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Owner, Andretti Autosport): "This is an incredible day. It wasn't going so good right at the start there - we were struggling a little bit - and then we saw Will (Power) have his unfortunate accident and we knew it was open from there. We needed to get the job done and it was a lot of hard work. Ryan did a helluva job, and the whole team did - getting the car better and better throughout the race. We had enough there at the end to get it done. I'm just so proud of everybody here with the DHL/Sun Drop team…. There's a lot more to come. This team is still getting better and better and I think we're going to be even stronger next year."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet): "It was a disappointing result, the No.2 IZOD car was running really well at the start of the race. But at the end of the second stint there with Will's crash in turn two we ran over his wing and I think it might have damaged our diffuser and we just struggled from then on throughout the night. I'm just proud of the guys, they did what they needed to do and it just didn't go our way tonight."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): "It was a good night. Our car was good, especially that start in the middle was fairly strong, but we faded a little bit towards the end there and once we hit traffic it wasn't as good as what I had been. We worked hard at it, I got a little loose towards the end there. Congrats to Ed, he had a hell of a race the whole night, and Hunter-Reay keeping his head screwed on and taking the championship. It was getting pretty close on points there towards the end, but he did it. I feel for Will, he definitely dominated the season, but that's really tough to take. We're excited for next year, the Target cars will be back strong. Hopefully we can win a championship."
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): "Obviously we got off to a killer start and the National Guard Chevy was really good those first couple stints. On the restart I was running high and had to pedal it while Ed (Carpenter) stayed flat and drove straight through. I felt like I had the pace to get back by him, but just by the nature of the two lines we were running I was getting a lot of dirty air on the exit of the corners. I knew that if I could keep the pressure on him I could get back by, I could see that he was struggling a little bit, but I was the one that ended up getting caught out. Massively frustrating deal. I felt we had a car that was going to finish in the Top Five and I felt like we had a shot at winning this deal. I'm super frustrated for the team, cause we definitely rolled the dice with a couple things for this race and we had a chance to run up front all day. Once I got stuck a little further back, the car was still good in traffic, but then everybody else moved up on that top line. We got a couple of our laps back, but obviously not enough to get back on the lead lap there by the end."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 Team AFS Chevrolet): "I had a blast, to be honest, and I think we need to focus on the positive side of this race. It was an unfortunate situation where the tire temperatures just took us out. We were doing an amazing race. We had a top-five car, but you know at the end I'm very happy to race with my teammates up-front there. And for (Ryan) Hunter-Reay, to be a part of team that wins the championship, to be a part of that process, and just so proud of them and big congrats to Hunter-Reay. This is the beginning of something big. We'll keep focused for next year and bring that No. 17 car back."
KATHERINE LEGGE (No. 6 TrueCar Dragon Racing Chevrolet): "The team did an awesome job, I had one of the fastest cars out there. It was my lack of experience, and my mistakes in the pits that cost us a top-six, top-eight. It really could have been very good, but I made three big mistakes. But to get ninth, we'll take that to move on to next year. 500 miles doesn't seem that much longer. You get in the zone, and get focused. When the red flag and you come in and start to heat up, that is when it is like 'oh, I still have eight laps to go'. It kind of sinks in. It was fun."
ORIOL SERVIA (NO. 22 Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet): "At the end…we struggled a little bit with the car at the beginning of the weekend. But in the race, I really liked my car. But we had something strange happen, we were having all this debris getting the radiator. We didn't want to blow our beautiful engine, so we had to keep stopping because it was getting over heated. Our race was over then. We had to stop every 10-15 laps to clean the radiator. Strange. We had a couple of strange things this year. Filter, fuel and things that usually don't happen. A few more DNFs than we want. We had a great season, especially since we got the Chevy power behind us, definitely. Good season. We want much more, but we had some strong runs. Hopefully we can come back next year stronger."
Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, INDYCAR Medical Director: Takuma Sato was checked and released from the infield care center. He is cleared to drive.
TAKUMA SATO (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): "It was an exciting race really; a long one. We were working on the car during the race and it was getting better most of the time but after the sun set the track speed increased and I was struggling a little bit on the top speed and the balance. We were close to leading the race at one stage but we had an over-boost on a late restart and the engine started coughing and there was no acceleration at that time which was a real shame; I lost some positions. The end of the race was a real shame. I was side-by-side with Ryan through Turns 1 and 2 and I suddenly lost the back end on the final lap. I feel sorry for the guys who have done a great job over the course of the weekend and also the whole year really. It was a fantastic season so it is a real shame to finish this way. It was an exciting race."
AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY FOUNDATION 100 RACE RUNNING:
At 2:45 p.m., the ambient temperature was 102 degrees, with a relative humidity of 8 percent. Skies were sunny. The track temperature was 137 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.
2:55 p.m. - Olympic gold medalist Tyler Clary gave the command, "Drivers, start your engines." All cars are running and rolling on the grid.
On the first pace lap, #27 Saavedra slows in Turn 4 and stops on course with a mechanical issue in the gearbox. #26 Munoz now occupies the pole. All cars will move up to fill the spots.
Lap 1: Initial start is waved off. The lap count has begun.
Lap 2: Start is waved off.
Lap 3: GREEN. #26 Munoz leads the field into Turn 1.
Lap 5: #26 Munoz leads #77 Vautier by 1.0632 seconds. #77 Vautier and #11 Guerrieri running side-by-side for second place.
Lap 7: YELLOW. #4 Goncalvez makes light contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 4 with the rear of the car. Driver climbs from the car without assistance from the Holmatro Safety Team. Leaders under caution are: #26 Munoz, #77 Vautier, #11 Guerrieri, #2 Yacaman and #7 Webb.
Lap 11: GREEN. #26 Munoz leads the field into Turn 1.
Firestone Indy Lights officials have penalized #9 Dempsey with a drivethrough penalty for driving below the white line on the Lap 11 restart.
Lap 15: #26 Munoz leads #77 Vautier by .7190 of a second.
Lap 20: #26 Munoz leads #77 Vautier by .9767 of a second.
Firestone Indy Lights officials have penalized #9 Dempsey with a drivethrough penalty for driving below the white line on backstretch on Lap 21.
Lap 25: #26 Munoz leads #77 Vautier by 1.5481 seconds.
#26 Munoz has clinched the two bonus points for leading the most laps in today's race.
#9 Dempsey has retired from the event due to damage sustained in contact on course.
Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, INDYCAR Medical Director: Jorge Goncalvez has been checked and released from the infield care center. He is cleared to drive.
JORGE GONCALVEZ (No. 4 Belardi Auto Racing): "I don't know, I think it's a punctured tire or the pressure wasn't good because on the first lap the car didn't feel good on the start. There was so much understeer that the car felt pretty strange. It kept getting worse with each lap. Then going into Turn 3, I lost the car. I think I had trouble with the right, rear tire."
Lap 28: #22 Ostella passes #77 Vautier for second place.
Lap 30: #26 Munoz leads #22 Ostella by 1.4729 seconds.
Lap 35: #26 Munoz leads #22 Ostella by 1.4280 seconds.
Lap 39: #11 Guerrieri passes #77 Vautier for third place in Turn 1.
Lap 40: #26 Munoz leads #22 Ostella by 1.2976 seconds.
Lap 45: #26 Munoz leads #22 Ostella by 1.0409 seconds.
Lap 49: WHITE: #26 Munoz leads #22 Ostella by .8398 of second.
Lap 50: CHECKERED. #26 Munoz wins the Auto Club Speedway Foundation 100 by .6334 of a second. #77 Vautier wins the Firestone Indy Lights championship.
AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY FOUNDATION 100 POST-RACE NOTES
• This is Carlos Munoz' second win in Firestone Indy Lights and his second win in 2012. He won earlier this year in Edmonton.
• David Ostella finished second, his best finish in Firestone Indy Lights.
• Esteban Guerrieri finished third, his ninth podium finish of the season.
• Tristan Vautier finished fourth to claim the Firestone Indy Lights championship by eight points over Esteban Guerrieri.
• Vautier is the third straight driver from Sam Schmidt Motorsports to win the Firestone Indy Lights championship and the sixth driver to win the title since 2004.
• Drivers that have won the title for Sam include: Josef Newgarden (2011), J.K. Vernay (2010), Alex Lloyd (2007), Jay Howard (2006), and Thiago Medeiros (2004).
• Guerrieri finished second in the championship for the second straight season. He was second to Josef Newgarden last year.
AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY FOUNDATION 100 POST-RACE QUOTES
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 Team Dialy-Ser, winner Auto Club Speedway Foundation 100): "No words to say, my last race of the season win so I'm really happy with the Andretti team giving me a great car. For being my rookie year, finally I have my second win, and an oval win. So another thing I am prepared for next season to fight for the championship. I have to congratulate Tristan Vautier on winning the championship."
DAVID OSTELLA (No. 22 TMR-Global Precast-Xtreme Coil Drilling, finished second): "That was amazing. The track definitely gripped up a lot. I expected the tires to be a big issue but our setup was just amazing. The guys did an amazing job. The car was great the whole time. I had no issues with setup at all and either with tire wear. Phenomenal (race). I'm so happy for the team, we definitely deserved this. To have this happen on the last race is just amazing."
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI (No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/SSM with Curb-Agajanian, finished third): "The race was quite the same from halfway race onwards. It didn't have much we could do from mid-race on. From the beginning we tried to place ourselves but they had more than us. There was nothing we could do there. I tried to save my tires, I thought the vibration was going to be more but in the end I tried to go flat out and that's all I could do."
STEFAN WILSON (No. 24 Fan Force United): "It was a good race. I'm very pleased to bring the car home safely, and roll it back on to the trailer tonight. To have no issues all weekend was great, and finishing P6, moving up from 11th, we probably got the hard charger award. I haven't been in a car in over a year, so to jump back in it and get on this 2 mile oval was a bit of a baptism by fire, but we took some really logical steps making the car better. We chipped away at it, kept improving it slightly bit by bit, and eventually we got a good racecar for the race today. We just needed a little bit more speed and a little bit more time to work on the car. We didn't have the test day here together like everybody else here did, so we were a day behind. I just can't thank the team and Jacked Up Energy enough for giving me the opportunity, and for all the hard work that went in to making this possible. We're thrilled to be able to give them a good result, and are really thankful for their support. Hopefully my run today will have more people liking the team and getting on board with Team Jeremiah."
JUAN PABLO GARCIA (No. 76 Freightliner Jeffrey Mark Motorsports): " "It wasn't the result I was expecting after having such a good day yesterday. We made some changes last night to the rear of the car, but it gave me a lot of push on the exit of Turns 2 and 4. I was not able to keep pace with the leaders with the push. I'm happy that I finished the fourth oval of my career though. I gained a lot of valuable oval racing experience in this race but I'm still not happy with the result, especially since it's the last race of the season. Everything that I learned this year I was able to use to help me in today's race, but it's clear that I'm still learning about ovals."
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/SSM with Curb-Agajanian, finished fourth; 2012 Firestone Indy Lights champion): "I came over to the USA because of the Mazda Road to Indy. I was struggling getting up the ladder in Europe, and I knew that if I was coming over here and was able to win the Star Mazda Championships I would be able to get into the bigger cars. That was the goal. I won the championship last year. I cannot be thankful enough to Mazda for what they do for young drivers. Obviously, you have to earn it. You have to win championships. But it really rewards the winners, and you know, they don't pick you up because they like you the pick you up because you earned it. You have to win to get into this scholarship system so I'm really thankful to that, I wouldn't be here without them."
VICTOR CARBONE (No. 3 Mav TV/Nevoni/SSM with Curb-Agajanian finished fifth): "I had a clean start. Managed to get out of trouble from then on. I just tried to save my tires. Just to be conservative for them. And I started to pick one by one. Once I got to fifth, everyone was spread out. There was not much action in the last 1/3 of the race. Managed to take home another top five. It's a good result. My teammates finished third and fourth. The team was lacking a bit of speed this weekend. They'll look at the data and work and see what we're missing.
OLIVER WEBB (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports finished fifth): "Beginning of the race was really good. I had a good start. I had a good position. I was battling with Gustavo (Yacaman) in the beginning. That was really good. I think maybe I just pushed too aggressively at the beginning. (David) Ostella was in my mirror. He was just taking the high line buying his time. When he got past me he managed to pull away and then I was just lifting and struggling to have some grip on the exit at two and four. I think I just pushed too hard at the beginning."