Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

Wilson wins, Newgarden notches championship

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted October 4, 2011 at 8:45 pm Indy Lights

DISAPPEARING ACT: Drivers take the green flag Sunday for the Kentucky 100 at Kentucky Speedway. Less than half of the starters finished the race on the 1.5-mile oval.
(Photo: Chris Jones/IndyCar.com)

It’s almost unfortunate that Stefan Wilson and Josef Newgarden were so fast Sunday at Kentucky Speedway.

The two checked out early in the race after 13 starters were dwindled to just eight following a five-car clash on the opening lap; which started following a cold-tire spin by Series’ newcomer Jacob Wilson.

When the track went back to green flag racing, Newgarden and Wilson put on a show up front, racing side-by-side, lap after lap, at speeds of nearly 190 miles per hour. Cleanly, I might add.

The remaining drivers — which was only five by races end — were left to fight for a podium spot.

Wilson, who earned his first career Indy Lights pole position earlier in the weekend, found himself in second place trailing Newgarden following the restart, but continued to pursue the top spot utilizing the high-side of the 1.5-mile oval.

On Lap 36, Wilson made the pass stick and gradually pulled away to a 3.1136 margin of victory — his first on an oval. The win catapulted Wilson into second place in the point standings. His previous victory came on the streets of Toronto.

“[Newgarden and I] fought for quite a few laps,” Wilson said. “I’m quite glad we had that battle because it took up the majority of the race; better than just having a lonely race out front.  It was fun to race side-by-side, not just lead from the front and go out and win, but to drop back into second and get back by him.”

While Newgarden would have enjoyed a race win, he was content with a runner-up finish. The podium finish (his 10th of the year)  clinched the 2011 Indy Lights championship for the Tennessee native. He was so consistent this year that all he needed to do was start the race in order seal the championship.

Jorge Goncalvez was able to pick up the final podium spot, besting Brandon Wagner and Bryan Clauson who finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Just a few laps before the finish, Duarte Ferreira was parked by race control for repeatedly blocking and changing lines on the race track. Prior to the penalty, Ferreira set the fastest lap of the race.

Check out the Indy Lights Kentucky 100 Box Score.

The Firestone Indy Lights championship will return to action on Oct. 16 for the season-finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

For up-to-date news and views on junior formula racing follow @JOWT on Twitter or follow on Facebook.

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