Mario Romancini won at The Milwaukee Mile in May by 1.0907 seconds. That's a long yawn compared to his victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Romancini, driving the No. 5 Revita/Win Brazil/Allied/RLR Andersen Racing car, overtook J.R. Hildebrand a few yards from the finish line and won by 0.0057 of a second – the second-closet margin of victory in Firestone Indy Lights history.
Romancini attempted to pass Hildebrand a half-dozen times, but the new Firestone Indy Lights champion shut the door each time. Getting a run off Turn 4, Romancini moved to the middle of the racetrack and nosed ahead of Hildebrand's No. 26 ARPRO car at the line.
"It was an amazing race for us," Romancini said. Again, we qualified at the back; we had a problem in qualifying. This just shows it doesn't really matter where you qualify."
Hildebrand said he saw it coming.
"I think Mario was sort of biding his time back there," Hildebrand said. "I could tell that he was looking pretty good through the race. I was sort of waiting for the pass, and he tried a couple of times and almost made it happen, but I was trying to hold him off."
Sebastian Saavedra finished third in the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Inc. entry for AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing to wrap up the Firestone Indy Lights Rookie of the Year award. Mike Potekhen finished a season-high fourth in the No. 24 Efusjon Energy Club/Alliance Motorsports car.
Polesitter James Davison finished fifth in the No. 21 People*s Liberation/Vision Racing entry to edge Saavedra for second in the season standings. Hildebrand, who recorded his 11th top five in 15 races, finished with 543 points. Davison checked in with 448 points and Saavedra had 446.
"What a fantastic race," said Davison, who posted his eighth top-five finish. "We qualified the People*s Liberation car on pole, led a ton of laps and overcame a huge amount of pressure to get a good result. Ultimately, the main priority was to maintain second place in the points in our first season back to Indy Lights competition since 2005, and we did that. Really, it's been a fantastic season, and I've just got to thank the entire team for their efforts."
Saavedra, who was quickest in both practice sessions, recorded no time in qualifications because of a fuel pressure issue on his warm-up lap. He started 16th.
"We're happy. I think we were a bit unfortunate in the qualifying; it wasn't quite what we were expecting," he said. "Starting from last, you change up your mentality. I was very calm, very mature in which way I was going to approach a difficult race. I took care of my tires for a long while. I knew that those last three laps were going to be key for success and, well, it happened.
"I'm very happy for the third place championship. I was battling very hard to get that second, and it was just late. That happens, but I'm still very happy for the team. They did an incredible job."
Wade Cunningham, the 2005 series champion who started on the front row in the No. 11 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, finished sixth in the 67-lap race on the 1.5-mile oval and fourth in the standings (416 points).