Vautier immediately jumped into the lead from the start, while teammate Victor Carbone, who started second, slipped back somewhat to fourth and would fall further back still, finishing sixth. Up front, Vautier began pulling away. However, his lead would diminish twice when Mike Larrison brought out a pair of cautions, the first on lap 30 for a small spin off turn four, from which he was able to continue, while the second was a spin and wall contact at the same spot on lap 41. He was unable to finish afterward and is credited with 13th.
However, Vautier was always able to hold his lead from Saavedra on subsequent restarts, the only challenge as they both worked their way through traffic. Saavedra tried to get a run on him several laps, once actually making contact with the right-rear of Vautier's car as they entered turn one with six laps to go. But, he could never get the momentum to make the pass. "To be honest, it was very close," Saavedra said of their battle. For those last 10 laps I was pushing, giving it everything I got. The 27 car handled amazing with the Firestone Firehawk tires. I guess I'm pleased. I'm not happy because I wanted that first place but it's very important points for the championship."
Vautier, though, was very pleased, especially with how well the team performed. "The end was a little harder with the lapped traffic, the lapped traffic to manage, but awesome day, awesome job from the team. I see my teammate Esteban made it back to the podium so great job from him from sixth and a tough day, so we have two cars on the podium. I think it's the 50th with for Schmidt. I didn't get the 50th pole, I was kind of pissed that my pole this morning was the 51st, but real happy to get the 50th win. What an awesome team."
Behind them, Esteban Guerrieri and David Ostella were able to charge through the field in the dying laps, finishing third and fourth respectively after spending much of the race outside the top five. Though Guerrieri would have liked a better finish, he admitted that the day was positive on the whole. "It was a tough one today. We were struggling in the beginning to find the rear grip," he explained. "Then we just worked to find our pace. We had a bit of understeer but it wasn't quite working. We never found the balance. We came into the race with a setup that we knew and tried to make it so I wouldn't push so much in the beginning and save the tires a little bit. To come in third makes a bad day not so bad. We have to keep fighting for the championship. I'm pleased, not completely happy, but pleased."
On the contrary, Ostella was very happy with his charge to end the day fourth, just shy of a podium. "The last 20 laps I was flying out there," he said. "It is so good to finish a race after coming off of two races where I didn't finish. Being in the top five is amazing and I can't take the team enough. They did a wicked job. I've been sick all day and fallen asleep between every session. The team worked so hard today though to give me a good car. It was an amazing race."
With his victory, Vautier now leads the championship by three points over Guerrieri, with Saavedra 14 points out of the lead. as the series heads to Iowa Speedway next week for the Sukup 100.
Full results of the race on Milwaukee Mile
Written 06-15-2012, 07:34 pm
Updated 06-16-2012, 06:28 pm
Photography Andrew Bussa / OpenWheelWorld.net
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