The battle for the 2008 Firestone Indy Lights title took an interesting twist during the first of two Kentucky Speedway practice sessions today when championship leader Richard Antinucci placed 13th on the speed chart with a session-best 190.398-mph (27.9835 seconds) lap.

The nephew of former Indianapolis 500 winner and IndyCar Series team owner Eddie Cheever will start tomorrow night's "Kentucky 100" leading second-place championship driver Raphael Matos by one point and third-place driver Ana Beatriz by 44 points.

Matos placed second on the practice chart after turning his best lap at 192.379-mph (27.6953 seconds) and Beatriz was fourth on the chart with a 191.412-mph (27.8352 seconds) lap.

"We're going to try to trim it out a little bit for qualifying and go out there and kick some butt. There's a very slim margin between all of the top cars. I'm looking forward to a very good second session," Antinucci said.

Fifth-place championship contender Arie Luyendyk, Jr., who owns two top-five and four top-10 series finishes at Kentucky Speedway, led the session with a 192.928-mph (27.6165 seconds) circuit that bettered the standing series qualifying record of 191.598-mph (27.8551 seconds) set by 2007 "Kentucky 100" winner Hideki Mutoh. James Davison, making his Firestone Indy Lights debut in the Commonwealth, was third quickest in the session with a 192.220-mph (27.7183 seconds) lap.

The session opens a full weekend of open-wheel race action. IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights competitors will take to the 1.5-mile tri-oval for practice and qualifying sessions before greeting fans during this evening's Fanfest autograph session.

Gates open at 3:00 p.m., with IndyCar Series practice. Firestone Indy Lights drivers will fight for the "Kentucky 100" pole award at 5:00 p.m., and IndyCar Series "Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Pepsi and Edy's" qualifying follows at 6:15 p.m. Infield Fanfest games and race-related activities begin at 7:30 p.m.

All IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights drivers will close out the evening with a one-hour autograph session that gets under way at 8:00 p.m. Fanfest fun continues until 9:00 p.m.

Story by Mike Schmaltz

~ Kentucky Speedway ~