Monday, July 7, 2008

Former ChampCar Driver Wins First IRL Race At Watkins Glen


Former ChampCar Driver Wins First IRL Race At Watkins Glen

No, it is not what one would think given a headline posted here at The EDJE. We have had a focus in our posts on the teams and drivers that have merged and transitioned into the Indy Racing League and the IndyCar Series from the ChampCar World Series season for 2008.

What with Justin Wilson of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing qualifying so high on the grid at position #2 (just being bumped from the pole in the last minute by Penske’s Ryan Briscoe) for the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen, and good a showing from KV Racing Technology’s Oriol Servia at position #5, one would think the headline would relate to them but, no … after competing for IRL established team Rahal Letterman Racing for the last part of 2007, and all of 2008, Ryan Hunter-Reay notches his first win.

As for the T-Team Ten (the transition teams and drivers from the CCWS) they managed to capture four of the top ten finishing positions. The big surprise came from teammates for the Dale Coyne Racing organization, with Bruno Junqueira and Mario Moraes notching in at positions #6 and #7 respectively (Graham Rahal of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing #8 and EJ Viso of HVM Racing #10 round out the places).

Bruno Junqueira - Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2008)

This excerpted and edited from –

Newly-minted Coyne

By Dave Lewandowski -

Junqueira, driving the No. 18 Z-Line Designs entry advanced five positions to finish an IndyCar Series career-high sixth in the 60-lap race on the 3.37-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen International circuit.

The veteran open-wheel racing team owner and former driver [Dale Coyne] also put a headlock on series rookie Mario Moraes, who jumped six positions to finish a career-high seventh in the No. 19 Sonny's Bar-B-Q car.

Both cars in the top 10 - two weeks after Junqueira's car couldn't answer the bell to start the race at Iowa Speedway because of a practice crash and eight days after both cars were eliminated from the race at Richmond International Raceway because of contact?

"Being in the top six is better than being in the wall," Coyne laughed. "It's a compliment to all the guys on the team because we had four crashes in six days (at Iowa and Richmond) and to get all the cars ready and be here and be competitive."
Junqueira ran as high as third on Lap 38.
"The No. 18 Z-Line Designs car was great all weekend long. The team did a fantastic job. I love this track as it is a great course to drive on. I can't wait to go to Mid-Ohio in two weeks."
[said Junqueira]

Mario Moraes - Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2008)

Moraes started a season-high 13th and overtook the No. 27 car of Hideki Mutoh on Lap 55 to score the seventh place.

"On the first lap of the race I was able to overtake six cars and jump to seventh," he said. "We ran up in the top five at times, but we lost a couple spots during a pit stop, which I think kept us from a higher finish. The car was fast all weekend and the team deserves credit for that. Hopefully we can get more top-10 finishes."
[said Moraes].
Reference Here>>

Winners Podium: 1-Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2-Darren Manning, 3-Tony Kanaan. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2008)

This excerpted and edited from Speed Channel -

Hunter-Reay Triumphs at The Glen

Written by: Jeff Olson - Senior writer, RACER Magazine 07/06/2008 - 06:03 PM

Ryan Hunter-Reay took advantage of a rare mistake by Scott Dixon to score his first IndyCar Series victory.

Dixon was in second place and poised to win at Watkins Glen International for a fourth consecutive time when he spun under caution, collecting third-place Ryan Briscoe and putting Hunter-Reay and the No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Honda/Dallara in position to win.

Hunter-Reay, who narrowly missed the wreckage from Dixon’s spin, passed leader Darren Manning on the restart with nine laps remaining and went on to score Rahal Letterman Racing’s first win since Buddy Rice won at Michigan in 2004.

“For something to finally go our way is great,” Hunter-Reay said. “It didn’t land in our lap; we had to go out there and earn it. Then we just checked out at the end, which was the best. We put an exclamation on the end of that one. It was a beautiful deal.”
Hunter-Reay said he couldn’t see anything, just chose a spot and made it work.

“It was like a scene out of Days of Thunder,” Hunter-Reay said. “I couldn’t see where they were or where the opening was. I couldn’t see any cars, just a dirt cloud. I picked left, and luckily it was open. I got through there, and then I immediately thought, ‘This is the point where I get paid back for all the bad luck.’”
“This is vindication,” team co-owner Bobby Rahal said. “Some guys who have driven for us in the past said this team doesn’t have the will to win. It’s all about having the right driver.”

Manning held off Tony Kanaan for second place, scoring the best finish since he joined A.J. Foyt’s team two years ago.

“We’re a small team,” Manning said. “My only teammate is A.J., and he’s a tough taskmaster. He sets a high standard. It’s extremely difficult by ourselves, but with the resources we have, we’re doing pretty well. We validated ourselves with this drive.”
The results benefited Kanaan most, moving him to within 66 points of Dixon in the standings after 10 of 17 races. The other two drivers in the championship battle, Helio Castroneves and Dan Wheldon, also encountered trouble, with Castroneves falling behind early because of an electrical problem and finishing 16th, and Wheldon getting clipped by Manning on the first lap and breaking his rear suspension for a 24th-place finish.

The race began cleanly but ended otherwise. Aside from Wheldon’s opening-lap problem and Castroneves’ issues with his paddle shift on the sixth lap, the first 40 laps were uneventful, with Briscoe and Vitor Meira exchanging the lead. On the 40th lap, though, Meira was run off course by E.J. Viso, sending the No. 4 Panther Racing Honda/Dallara into the tires and leaving Meira fuming.

“The IRL should do something about it,” Meira said. “He just took us out. He’s a guy who’s had a problem with every driver out there. It’s a shame.”
[a] round of stops, Manning chose to stay on track and assume the lead, having pitted just four laps before. The decision, coupled with a rash of caution flags over the final 18 laps, proved to be a wise one.

“I was quick enough to hold my own,” Manning said. “It’s just a testament to the team.”
On the next restart on the 51st lap, Hunter-Reay passed Manning heading into Turn 1. Moments later, Jaime Camara crashed, bringing out the sixth caution flag of the race.

On the restart, Hunter-Reay pulled away to a large lead and held it to the checkered flag for his first IndyCar Series and a triumphant reprieve to a promising career that, at this time last year, appeared to have stalled in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Rice also scored a solid finish, bringing the No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Honda/Dallara home fourth for his best finish of the year.

“The last two races we've had stuff falling off the car and I've screwed up,” Rice said. “We‘re just trying to wipe that stuff out, get back in the points and have a solid finish to the season.”

Marco Andretti finished fifth, Bruno Junqueira sixth and Mario Moraes seventh. Graham Rahal, Hideki Mutoh and E.J. Viso rounded out the top 10.

The IndyCar Series season resumes Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway.
Reference Here>>

Mario Dominguez moves from an IRL best ninteenth starting position to finish at an IRL best position #13 in his third IRL start. Image Credit: Andy Sallee (2008)

The final T-Team Ten Tally:


6 Bruno Junqueira 18 5.8084 01:32.1 131.661 60 D/H/F Finished

7 Mario Moraes 19 8.6248 01:32.9 130.586 60 D/H/F Finished

8 Graham Rahal 6 9.4563 01:32.6 130.962 60 D/H/F Finished

10 EJ Viso 33 10.8602 01:32.4 131.235 60 D/H/F Finished

13 Mario Dominguez 96 12.7773 01:33.1 130.258 60 D/H/F Finished

15 Will Power 8 1 lap 01:31.8 132.145 59 D/H/F Finished

18 Jaime Camara 34 9 laps 01:34.7 128.151 51 D/H/F Contact

21 Enrique Bernoldi 36 16 laps 01:34.0 129.044 44 D/H/F Contact

23 Oriol Servia 5 24.7973 01:32.0 131.824 38 D/H/F Mechanical

25 Justin Wilson 2 44 laps 01:32.1 131.758 16 D/H/F Mechanical

... notes from The EDJE

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