Yacaman earns second Firestone Indy Lights win
DETROIT -- Gustavo Yacaman started from the pole for the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and finished fourth in the No. 2 TMR-Tuvacol-Xtreme Coil Drilling car.
On June 2 at Belle Isle, Yacaman started sixth on the 2.07-mile street course and got the job done.
The 21-year-old Colombian overtook pole sitter Oliver Webb for the lead in Turn 8 (a hard right-hander on the 14-turn circuit) on Lap 26 and went on to record his second Firestone Indy Lights victory.
"I don't think there are any other places to be passed around here," said Yacaman, who has the distinction of winning the first Firestone Indy Lights race at Baltimore last September and the first at Belle Isle. "We crashed in qualifying and didn't get the qualifying position we would have liked. We built this car back together and my guys did an amazing job getting everything just perfect.
"As soon as the fuel load started going down, it was just faster and faster and faster. I just want to thank my team. This one is for them."
The race, scheduled for 45 laps, was switched to a timed event because of extended barrier repair from a Lap 14 incident involving the No. 15 Younessi Racing car driven by Peter Dempsey. Forty laps were completed.
Carlos Munoz, runner-up in the Firestone Freedom 100 in the No. 26 Team Dialy-Ser car for Andretti Autosport, closed on Yacaman in the final lap to finish 0.1638 of a second behind. It was the second-closest road/street course finish in the series.
"I'm happy because the qualifying was not really good (started seventh), and second place is really good for the championship," said Munoz, who has recorded three consecutive top-five finishes in his rookie season.
Webb finished third in the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car to match his best in Firestone Indy Lights, and teammate Victor Carbone was fourth in the No. 3 Mav TV/Nevoni/SSM with Curb-Agajanian car. Tristan Vautier, driving the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/SSM with Curb-Agajanian car, was fifth.
"A little bit disappointed obviously starting from pole, would have been nice to get Sam (Schmidt) his 50th win as well as his 50th pole in one weekend," Webb said. "... but at the end we were consistent, second fastest lap. We'll work up to it."
Sebastian Saavedra, driving the No. 27 Team AFS car, and the No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/SSM with Curb-Agajanian car driven by Esteban Guerrieri made contact on the final lap and Race Control altered the finishing order to place Saavedra in sixth and Guerrieri in seventh.
Guerrieri, the Firestone Freedom 100 winner, retained the top spot in the series championship standings by 15 points over Vautier (188), who was docked five championship points by the Firestone Indy Lights Race Director for failure to follow rules as instructed in the race day drivers meeting at Indianapolis. Saavedra is one point behind in third.
Dempsey was checked and cleared to drive.
"My legs are little bit burnt in some areas from some carbon stuff," said Dempsey, who was running third at the time. "I'm more upset for the team and the guys. Obviously my safety is good; it's the damage to the car and the setback that hurts us."