Junior Open Wheel Talent

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Vernay Wins Fifth Race of 2010 at Infineon

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted August 24, 2010 at 1:14 pm Indy Lights

J.K. Vernay earned his fifth win of 2010 at Infineon Raceway
(Photo: Ryan – Junior Open Wheel Talent)

J.K. Vernay won his fifth Indy Lights race of the season Sunday, extending his points-lead in the drivers’ championship.  Vernay started from pole position and led flag-to-flag despite pressure from American Charlie Kimball.  Vernay is now 3-for-3 when starting from pole position.  Kimball finished second for his fourth runner-up result of the 2010 season.  Canadian James Hinchcliffe finished third.

“I’m really happy,” said Vernay, who now holds a 71-point championship lead. “The car was really good.  I’m still focused on the championship because it’s never finished until the checkered flag of the final race.  Now, I hope to win on an oval.”

Kimball, who led the way in both practice sessions earlier in the weekend, started the race second.  He was passed by Hinchcliffe during the start and the top-three ran nose-to-tail for several laps.  On lap 16, Kimball made an impressive dive into Turn 9 (the chicane) to overtake Hinchcliffe for second place.  From there, Kimball and Vernay would trade fast lap after fast lap, but the closest Kimball would get is 0.6275 seconds on Lap 24.  Ultimately, Vernay ended up with the win and the fastest lap of the race (1:24.9443), beating Kimball to the stripe by 3.425 seconds.

“I just had to settle into a rhythm,” Kimball said. “It’s a great result being home in California. I’ve got a lot of friends and family here.”

Hinchcliffe held on for third with Gustavo Yacaman and Pippa Mann rounding out the top-five, respectively.  It was Mann’s first top-five finish.

The real story of the race was Dan Clarke.  Clarke was running fourth before contact with Sebastian Saavedra relegated him to the rear of the field.  For the time being, he was able to continue.  He proceeded to drive through the field, moving all the way up to fourth place (temporarily) as he and Gustavo Yacaman briefly traded spots.  Ultimately, Clarke lost his alternator while running fifth – which drained the battery – and he failed to finish the race.  At the checkered, he was classified 13th.

The hard charger of the event — other than Clarke — was Juan Pablo Garcia.  Garcia put together an impressive drive himself, moving from 12th on the grid to finish 6th after completing 40-laps.

For a much more detailed race recap, please replay my LiveBlog from Sunday afternoon.

Photographs and full results are posted just after the jump.

Dan Clarke climbs the hill at Infineon Raceway Saturday
(Photo: Ryan – Junior Open Wheel Talent)
Carneros 100 Podium
(Photo: Ryan – Junior Open Wheel Talent)
Charlie Kimball
(Photo: Ryan – Junior Open Wheel Talent)

Indy Lights – Carneros 100
Complete Results
Infineon Raceway 8.22.2010

  1. J.K. Vernay
  2. Charlie Kimball
  3. James Hinchcliffe
  4. Gustavo Yacaman
  5. Pippa Mann
  6. Juan Pablo Garcia
  7. Adrian Campos Jr.
  8. David Martinez
  9. Joel Miller
  10. Giancarlo Vilarinho
  11. Philip Major
  12. Rodrigo Barbosa
  13. Dan Clarke
  14. Alex Ellis
  15. Sebastian Saavedra
  16. Martin Plowman

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