Stefan Wilson Wheels to First FIL Kentucky Speedway Victory
Andretti Autosport driver Stefan Wilson wheeled to his first Firestone Indy Lights (FIL) Kentucky Speedway victory and second of this season by 3.116 seconds over Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver Josef Newgarden in today's "Kentucky 100."
Wilson set a new series track qualifying record yesterday with a 191.659 mph (55.5988 seconds) two-lap average in his No. 5 Andretti Autosport Dallara/Firestone and backed the pole winning effort up by leading 47 of 67 race laps today.
He led the first 15 circuits before Newgarden took over the point in his No. 11 Copart Dallara/Firestone on Lap 16 with a high-line pass in Turn 1. Wilson regained the race lead on Lap 36 by completing a four-lap side-by-side battle with Newgarden with a Turn 3 pass and held point through the final 31 laps to secure the win.
"That was just so amazing. The team really did a really good job this weekend and gave me a fantastic car. It was an awesome weekend. We got pole yesterday, the first pole of my Firestone Indy Lights career, along with the outright lap record along with the two-lap series record around Kentucky Speedway.
"It's been an absolute dream. It was just so fun racing with Josef; we're very respectful of each other and gave each other enough room. It was just a fantastic race," Wilson said after taking his ninth top-five and 11th top-10 finish of the season.
Jorge Goncalvez, Brandon Wagner and Bryan Clauson rounded out the top five. Newgarden clinches the 2011 FIL championship, Wilson moves to second in points and sits 103 points back heading to Las Vegas.
Newgarden clinched this season's FiL title by taking today's green flag and delivered Sam Schmidt Motorsports' fifth FIL championship time since 2004.
"It's been a big day for the Sam Schmidt Motorsports team. I'm elated for all the guys. The entire team worked so hard and they really put a lot into this year," Newgarden said.
He will advance to the series' Oct. 16 season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway owning five victories and a total of 10 top-five and 12 top-10 finishes this season.
Story by Mike Schmaltz