English-born Stefan Wilson finished first at the Firestone Indy Lights race in Toronto, Sunday. Stefan is the younger brother of Justin Wilson, who won on the Toronto street circuit in 2005 and continues to drive in the IZOD IndyCar Series. This was Stefan’s 24th race of the Indy Lights circuit, and his first win.
Wilson started in the second position with Andretti Autosport teammate Peter Dempsey starting in third. Dempsey, of Ireland, finished the race second, right behind Wilson in a one-two victory for Team Andretti. Esteban Guerrieri, who was driving a LucasOil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car began the race in first position and kept the lead for the first 20 laps of the 50-lap race. Everything changed when Guerrieri’s car spun out on a turn and stalled, allowing six cars to get by him. Guerrieri got turned around and managed to finish fourth, but his mistake was all Wilson needed to claim the victory. Wilson expressed confidence that he would have passed Guerrieri even without the spin-out.
The drivers were forced to hold positions because of three yellow caution flags, causing the clock to run out on the race when 49 of 50 laps had been completed. The only Canadian contender, David Ostella, had been knocked out of the race earlier when he lost control of his car while trying to pass for eighth place, after starting the race in position 13. Ostella finished only 12 laps, going home disappointed, but looking forward to the next race. Colombian Gustavo Yacaman ended the race in third place, driving for TMR-Tuvacol/Xtreme Coil Drilling.
His second-place finishing position behind Wilson was an Indy Lights career best for Dempsey, who had moved from O2 Racing Technology to drive for Andretti Autosport. Both Dempsey and Wilson began racing Karts when they were young boys, honing their racing skills for the day when each was ready to progress to open wheel cars. Dempsey garnered his fourth top-ten finish of the season at Toronto.
Justin Wilson was present to watch his brother’s performance in Toronto, and to offer pre-race advice and post-race congratulations. Justin Wilson, who is 6 feet, 2 inches tall enjoys the larger size of North American cars, since he is too large to drive in the European circuits. Expectedly, both Wilsons voiced pleasure at the outcome of the race.
Firestone Indy Lights is a new iteration of a previous series that began in 1986 as the American Racing Series. In 1991, the series became Indy Lights. The original series ended in 2001, and the current Indy Lights series began the following year. The series has been known as the Firestone Indy Lights since 2008, and is a developmental league for the Indy Racing League. Indy Lights races are generally held as support races for IndyCar events. Indy Lights cars crank out 420 horsepower from their V8 engines and weigh just 1,520 pounds. Team Andretti’s own Marco Andretti is a former Indy Lights competitor now driving in the IndyCar Series.
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