The finish of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Freedom 100 race Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was another blink moment. GABBY CHAVES in No.5 Belardi Auto Racing finished 0.0050 seconds ahead of Rookie MATTHEW BRABHAM in No.83 Andretti Autosport, pulling ahead at the very last moment. It was the second edge-of-your-seat finish for the Series at The Brickyard. For his efforts, Chaves earned the RePlay XD Move of the Race Award.
Chaves, with three victories, now leads the standings, by one points.
Last year Chaves was the runner up, by 0.0026 seconds in a four-wide finish – the closest finish in Speedway history-six inches. The other drivers in that four-way were winner PETER DEMPSEY, as well as 2014 IndyCar Series Rookie CARLOS MUNOZ and 2014 Indy 500 Rookie, SAGE KARAM – who was the 2013 Indy Lights Champion. It was breath-taking.
Young Brabham, grandson of the late SIR JACK BRABHAM, led four times for 28 laps in the 40-lap race. He swapped the lead with the polesitter, Rookie LUIS RAZIA, Chaves, and his Andretti teammate, ZACH VEACH. Eight lead changes among the four young drivers.
Brabham said “I’m happy for (Gabby) Chaves, but it’s disappointing to lose the race by that much (0.005 seconds). I thought I had it coming around the last lap when the two behind (Zach Veach, Gabby Chaves) were battling with each other and with me… I thought I just had it. I saw this white and red flash come around me on the outside, and he just beat me; I’m happy to get second.”
Brabham turned the fastest lap of 189.214 mph on Lap Four. Razia turned the fastest lead lap of 187.525 mph on Lap Three.
Razia said “Today was my first chance to learn how and when to make a pass on an oval. I was even learning how to lift and how to go back to power. It was challenging, so I’m glad I finished fourth.”
CHASE AUSTIN/No.0 Belardi Auto Racing brought out the only caution-for eight laps, on Lap 15 when he crashed hard in Turn One. He suffered a fractured left wrist and was taken to Methodist Hospital for further evaluation.
Friday the new Indy Lights Dallara IL-15 chassis was unveiled and introduced at the Speedway, with its new state-of-the-cart carbon composite chassis, which was described as “sexy” by DAN ANDERSEN, Series Administrator – President/CEO of Andersen Promotions. The car is a collaboration between Dallara of Italy and Dallara LLC located steps from the Speedway – which is where the cars will be built.
On hand for the unveiling was a host of dignitaries, including Dan Andersen; Hulman & Company CEO, Mark Miles; Dallara Automobili President, NZR Consulting President/Founder, Tony Cotman; and Dallara CEO/General Manager, Andrea Pontremoli.
The car will be constructed to the latest FIA and IndyCar safety standards. It will feature a 2-0 liter turbocharged AER Engine, 450 hp able to reach 200 mph.
The car will be ready for a vigorous US testing program in August 2014, after the initial shakedown at the Italian factory. The first test will be at Mid-Ohio on 5 August 2014 immediately after the Indy Lights race. The driver will be CONOR DALY, former Indy Lights race winner and current GP driver. Later, 2012 Indy Lights Champion, TRISTAN VAUTIER, will
test, as well as a couple of current IndyCar drivers.