Victor Garcia took his first ever single seater victory at Barber Motorsports Park earlier this month.
The Spaniard led every lap on his way to the chequered flag, although Garcia could not escape the attentions of Stefan Wilson throughout the 40 lap event.
Indeed Garcia maintained his cool, despite three caution periods in the opening half of the race, including two in the opening five laps.Once the third and final caution had been cleared, Garcia continued to lead, and while Wilson stayed in his mirror’s, the race leader never appeared to be threatened.
Wilson did begin to show some signs of life in the final laps, but without doubt, this race belonged to Garcia. The Spaniard took the chequered flag, albeit only by three-tenths of-a-second ahead of Wilson, but it was enough to claim full points.
Finalising the podium places was Peter Dempsey. The Irishman found himself quite a distance behind the leading pair in the final half of the race, but with no challenge from 4th place man, Jorge Goncalvez, Dempsey had ample space to drive to the flag.
Dempsey arrived on the podiumm with some little luck. Ahead of him for much of the race had been a three-way battle between James Winslow, Anders Krohn and Conor Daly. Indeed Winslow and Daly had been running at the head of the group, until the pair clashed twice in the set of corners on the 22nd lap.
Whereas Daly would damage his front wing, Winslow spun slyly, collecting the innocent Krohn in the process, dropping Krohn to 9th and Winslow 10th. As for Daly, a pitstop for his front wing saw the Irish-American dropped to 11th, one lap down.
For Goncalvez, it had been a solid event – the Venezuelan had been driving with a broken leg and reached his top four placing with some smart driving, having started down on the seventh row. Mikael Grenier assumed 5th spot after a quiet run.
Josef Newgarden could not say the same though. Having had his best qualifying time disallowed, the American started in 7th place; however this went awry on the opening lap, when the Sam Schmidt Motorsport runner caused the opening caution period by pummelling the side of teammate, Estean Guerrieri. It was an accident that also innocently took Victor Carbone out of the race.
Newgarden fell to outside the top ten, but redeemed himself slightly with a great run to 6th, despite having two pitstops.
Bryan Herta Autosport’s Duarte Ferreira took 7th ahead of Juan Pablo Garcia (Jensen Autosport) following relatively anonymous days, with Krohn, Winslow and Daly taking up 9th, 10th and 11th places respectively.
Gustavo Yacaman was the final finisher in 12th. The Colombian came to a halt on the entry to turn 4 on the fourth lap thanks to a fuel pressure problem – the Team Moore Racing pilot would get going again following some pit work, but lost three laps in the process. The stricken Dallara brought out the second caution period.
David Ostella initiated the final safety car stint – the Canadian stopped on circuit 17 laps in, but with his car deemed to be in an unsuitable stop, the race was neutralised temporarily.
Garcia’s win boosted his title hopes, with the Spaniard now 3rd in the title hunt behind Dempsey and championship leader Newgarden. Dempsey’s second podium sees the Irishman a confident 2nd, although ten points behind Newgarden, who will be wishing for better weekend’s than this, should he want to maintain his lead.
Race Rating: 1.5 out of 5
2011 Firestone Indy Lights Race of Alabama (Round 2) Pos Driver Team Time/Gap 1 Victor Garcia Team Moore Racing 1:00:06.5806 2 Stefan Wilson Andretti-Autosport +0.3125 3 Peter Dempsey O2 Racing Technology +16.3249 4 Jorge Goncalvez Belardi Auto Racing +19.4966 5 Mikael Grenier O2 Racing Technology +22.0069 6 Josef Newgarden Sam Schmidt Motorsport +23.4130 7 Duarter Ferreira Bryan Herta Autosport +26.4520 8 Juan Pablo Garcia Jensen Motorsport +28.4079 9 Anders Krohn Belardi Auto Racing +32.9259 10 James Winslow Andretti-Autosport +33.3062 11 Conor Daly Sam Schmidt Motorsport +1 lap 12 Gustavo Yacaman Team Moore Racing +3 laps r David Ostella Jensen Motorsport +24 laps r Victor Carbone Sam Schmidt Motorsport +39 laps r Esteban Guerrieri Sam Schmidt Motorsport +40 laps 2011 Firestone Indy Lights (Round 2) Pos Driver Points 1 Josef Newgarden 80 2 Peter Dempsey 70 3 Victor Garcia 68 4 Conor Daly 59 5 Mikael Grenier 56 6 Stefan Wilson 54 7 Anders Krohn 52 8 Jorge Goncalvez 51 9 Duarte Ferreira 50 10 David Ostella 49