WEST ALLIS, Friday, June 15, 2012 – Frenchman Tristan Vautier made history for Sam Schmidt Motorsports Friday as he won the team’s 50th Firestone Indy Lights Race during the Milwaukee IndyFest at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis.
It was a dominating day for Vautier in his No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/SSM with Curb-Agajanian car. Earlier in the day, he had won SSM’s 51st Indy Lights Pole with a lap of 49.7536 seconds at 146.884 mph. From pole position, he went on to lead all 100 laps and claim his second Firestone Indy Lights win in this, his rookie year.
Vautier’s performance mirrored that of his teammate Esteban Guerrieri, who dominated the 2011 Milwaukee race in the same fashion. Guerrieiri could not repeat this year. He started sixth but charged his way to the final podium spot over the last 20 laps in his No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/SSM with Curb-Agajanian car.
Guerrieri’s third-place finish was his fourth podium in six races in 2012.
Brazil’s Victor Carbone finished sixth in his No. 3 Mav TV/Nevoni/SSM with Curb-Agajanian car. It is Carbone’s sixth-straight top-six finish this season.
Oliver Webb, who finished on the podium in the last race in Detroit, struggled today in his No. 77 Lucas Oil/SSM car. He started eighth but finished 12th and one-lap down.
Andretti Autosport’s Sebastian Saavedra finished second to again share the podium with Vautier and Guerrieri.
Team Moore’s David Ostella and Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz rounded out the top five.
With the win, Vautier (241) moved back into the championship points lead over Guerrieri (238) and Saavedra (227). Carbone (182) is fourth, while Webb (148) is seventh.
The next Firestone Indy Lights event is the Sukup 100 on Friday, June 22 at Iowa (Newton) Speedway.
Tristan Vautier (Finished 1st), Driver of the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/SSM with Curb-Agajanian Dallara:
“We put the car on the ground this morning, and it felt amazing. After two runs we got it tuned, and we were great all day. It was a great race. We were in control. The end was a little harder with the lapped traffic, the lapped traffic to manage, but it was an awesome day and awesome job from the team. I see my teammate Esteban made it back to the podium, so great job from him from sixth and a tough day. So we have two cars on the podium. I think it’s the 50th win for Schmidt. I didn’t get the 50th pole, I was kind of pissed that my pole this morning was the 51st, but I’m real happy to get the 50th win. What an awesome team. Really thankful to Mazda for putting me in the car this year and the Mazda Road to Indy, Sparco, PitFit, all my sponsors who follow me in France and here who help me out. It was just really a great day.”
Esteban Guerrieri (Finished 3rd), Driver of the No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/SSM with Curb-Agajanian Dallara:
“It was a tough one today. We were struggling in the beginning to find the rear grip. Then we just worked to find our pace. We had a bit of understeer, but it wasn’t quite working. We never found the balance. We came into the race with a setup that we knew and tried to make it so I wouldn’t push so much in the beginning and save the tires a little bit. To come in third makes a bad day not so bad. We have to keep fighting for the championship. I’m pleased, not completely happy, but pleased.”
Victor Carbone (Finished 6th), Driver of the No. 3 Mav TV/Nevoni/SSM with Curb -Agajanian Dallara:
“I didn’t get a good start. I dropped to third and then fourth. From mid-race onwards I was battling with the car. I couldn’t keep up with the pace of the other cars because I was battling with my own car. I couldn’t maintain the consistency that we were looking for. You have to adapt to the life of your tires here so it’s a really hard place to race. I’m looking forward to going to Iowa and turning things around next week.”
Oliver Webb (Finished 12th), Driver of the No. 7 Lucas Oil/SSM Dallara:
“The race was disappointing. When I was running by myself, we were fine. I had okay times compared to the rest of the field then, but I couldn’t really follow anyone. I was struggling when I was behind people, and my restarts were pretty poor. I think the restarts really hurt me, and I just couldn’t catch back up.”
DATE: June 15, 2012
EVENT: Milwaukee IndyFest
SERIES: Firestone Indy Lights Series
LOCATION: The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis.
WINNER: Tristan Vautier of Sam Schmidt Motorsports
SSM DRIVERS: Tristan Vautier (Started 1st, Finished 1st/Running, completed 100 of 100 laps)
Esteban Guerrieri (Started 6th, Finished 3rd/Running, completed 100 of 100 laps)
Victor Carbone (Started 2nd, Finished 6th/ Running, completed 100 of 100 laps)
Oliver Webb (Started 8th, Finished 12th/Running, completed 99 of 100 laps)