Sam Schmidt Motorsports’ Josef Newgarden helped his team make a clean sweep of the Edmonton Indy weekend by winning Sunday’s Firestone Indy Lights Edmonton 100 Race 2 at the Edmonton City Centre Airport in Alberta, Canada.
Teammate Esteban Guerrieri, and Newgarden’s closest challenger in the Indy Lights point championship, won Saturday’s Edmonton 100 Race 1to give SSM the sweep.
Sunday’s win was Newgarden’s fourth Firestone Indy Lights victory of the season. It also gave the driver from Nashville, Tenn., a commanding lead in the point championship. He leads Guerreiri by 63 points (361-298).
Newgarden, in the No. 11 Copart/Score Big/Robo-Pong car, started the race from the pole and took the early lead. With Guerrieri following, the pair quickly built a gap over the Andretti Autosports pair of Stefan Wilson and Peter Dempsey in third and fourth. On lap nine, Guerrieri made a passed for the lead in turn five that determined the outcome of the race.
The two SSM drivers made contact that damaged the right front wing of Guerrieri’s No. 7 Lucas Oil car. Though he made the pass, the damage eventually began to rub his left front tire. When he was forced to the pits, it turned the lead and the eventual victory over to Newgarden. Guerrieri finished in 14th.
Victor Carbone, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, recorded his best finish of the season by bringing the Sam Schmidt Motorsports’ No. 3 Nevoni car home in fourth place. The finish also jumped him up into eighth in the Indy Lights championship.
In his last race as a substitute driver in the No. 77 Mazda Road To Indy car for SSM, Daniel Herrington recovered from an early race off-track excursion to finish seventh.
The starting grid for the Edmonton 100 Race 2 was determined by the individual fastest lap times in Saturday’s Indy lights. As a result of their times, Newgarden and Guerrieri started on the front row. Newgarden turned a lap of 1:22.9337 at 96.540 mph in Saturday’s race, while Guerrieri had a lap of 1:22.0158 at 96.444 mph.
Wilson finished second Sunday and closed to within five points (293) of Guerrieri in the championship battle. Wilson’s teammate Dempsey finished third, Carbone was fourth and Jensen Motorsports’ Oliver Web rounded out the top five.
With no caution laps, Newgarden averaged 94.017 mph over the 40-lap race on the 2.256-mile, 13-turn circuit. Guerrieri had the fastest lap of the race with a lap of 1:20.0712 seconds at 96.380 mph on lap 31.
The next Firestone Indy Lights Series race is the Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres on Sunday, August 7 on the Streets of Rivieres circuit .
Josef Newgarden (Finished 1st), Driver of the No. 11 Copart/Score Big/Robo-Pong/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara:
“You can talk about it all day long, what you’re going to do, but you don’t know actually what is going to happen until you get in the race. You’ve got to be heads up at all times. And certainly between Esteban (Guerrieri) and me, everyone has been asking about it, especially this weekend. It seems like everyone is interested in the dynamics between us two. We’re good friends. The reason we’re so quick is that we’re working so hard together. We’re pushing each other, and I think that’s why we’re doing such a good job. The team has given us an incredible amount of good equipment. It’s a tribute to all the guys we have on the staff. Sam has brought in the right people to help us. We have the people around us so we can push each other.”
“It was a good race for me. I had a good, clean start. I took my time, like yesterday, to overtake Anders. From there on, I just focused on not making any mistakes and to open a gap that was comfortable. I’m happy. This is my best weekend so far in the Firestone Indy Lights Series. I want to thank the Sam Schmidt guys for all their hard work. I hope to do the same in the next race.”
Daniel Herrington (Finished 7th), Driver of the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara:
“It wasn’t quite what we wanted. We were hoping to move up front a little bit more. It looked like at the end, we were finally getting the speed to do that. Unfortunately, I made a little bit of a mistake there at the beginning that set us back a number of seconds. I wish this race had been 50 laps instead of 40.”
Esteban Guerrieri (Finished 14th) Driver of the No.7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara:
“It was an aggressive move on Josef. It was the closest I had been to him since the start. I was very good on the breaks. I dived in and didn’t think there would be contact, but I knew it would be difficult for him to open the door. I understand that. It was an aggressive move, as I say, unfortunately the bad luck came my way. I broke the front wing. I knew it was failing. My engineer told me it was damaged, and I could feel no downforce in the front. Eventually, the wing cut my front left tire. It was a bit unlucky, but I don’t regret it. I had to be aggressive and that’s what I did.”
Date: July 24, 2011
Event: Edmonton 100 Race 2
Series: Firestone Indy Lights Series
Location: Edmonton City Centre Airport in Alberta, Canada (2.256-mile street course)
Winner: Josef Newgarden of Sam Schmidt Motorsports
SSM Team: Josef Newgarden (Started 1st, Finished 1st/ Running, completed 40 of 40 laps)
Victor Carbone (Started 8th, Finished 4th / Running, completed 40 of 40 laps)
Daniel Herrington (Started 11th, Finished 7th / Running, completed 40 of 40 laps)
Esteban Guerrieri (Started 2nd, Finished 14th / Not Running, completed 36 of 40 laps)