Antinucci Wins Sunday?s St. Pete 100

St. Petersburg, Fl. ? Richard Antinucci fought his way to victory in the second Firestone Indy Lights race of the weekend through the streets of St. Petersburg. Winning the wreck-strewn St. Pete 100, Antinucci triumphed for the third time in his career and the victory moved him into first place in the point standings.

Driving the Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, Antinucci finished second in Saturday?s race won by Raphael Matos. For the Schmidt team, it won for the 23rd time in series history.

The winner gained the lead on the 33rd lap when he barged past teammate Ana Beatriz, who had led the previous seven laps. The pair collided in turn one with Beatriz spinning around and ramming into another car. Beatriz would end up being scored 16th.

?I feel very bad that we crashed, and I am not going to make a controversy about it,? Antinucci said. ?Teammates crashed and one of us got out with the worst of it. I happy we won but first and second would have been good for our team. I tried several times to pass and unfortunately we came together. I had no where to go. I will apologize to her but I expect something back, too.?

Race official penalized Antinucci 10 points for his passing maneuver.

C. R. Hildebrand scored a career-best second place in only four races. The Californian drove the RLR/Anderson Racing entry. ?We rolled out of the box very well,? Hildebrand stated. ?It was a hectic race and I am really glad to make it through the attrition and come out on the podium. In the closing laps, I was playing defense, but I put my head down and stayed ahead of him (Logan Gomez).

Gomez came from the last starting position to third place, tying the record for greatest advance from start to finish. ?Staying out of trouble was hard to do,? Gomez said. ?We started in the back and I hoped for a top-10 going into the race. I wasn?t expecting to do so well. We got it together in the last race and we are improving.?

Fourth and fifth went to Dillon Battisini and Sean Guthrie.

Gomez and Guthrie both drive for Guthrie Racing.

Al Unser III, Juan Manual Polar, Nathan Freke, Marc Williams and Switzerland?s Cyndie Alleman rounded out the top 10.

Crashes took place from the drop of the green flag and continued throughout the 40-lap contest over the 1.8-mile street course.

Jeff Simmons led the initial 25 laps until coming together with Matos on the 26th lap, putting both front-runners out of the race.

Matos expressed his displeasure with Simmons. ?I was on the inside and he just turned into me. I don?t think he had any business doing that.? Matos drives for Andretti Green Racing.

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