After near-miss at Mazda Raceway, Chilton looks ahead to 2016 options

Chilton on podium in Monterey. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Photography, LLC
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Not too many drivers do a good job of “owning it” when they make a mistake, but Max Chilton made sure to do so after one in the first race of the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca season finale for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires probably cost him not just Saturday’s, but also Sunday’s race wins.

Chilton had qualified on pole position but a spin at the Corkscrew after clipping the tires on corner entry sent him back in the field.

“Completely my fault yesterday,” Chilton told MotorSportsTalk after the weekend at Monterey. “Now I now what happened today, I’m really annoyed I didn’t get that victory. I had the pace yesterday. I was three or four tenths quicker than anyone. Today I didn’t have that. Pretty sure I could have won if I didn’t have to defend from Jack (Harvey). It’s virtually impossible to overtake. I know we have the pace.”

Chilton also suggested the start for Sunday’s race two shouldn’t have necessarily occurred, given how wide Harvey went on the launch to try to make a run to the outside.

“I don’t know what Tony (Cotman, race director) was looking at,” Chilton said. “I’m not sure why he waved the green flag when someone was clearly that far out of line. I don’t want to go any further than that, but we should have waited.”

On the whole though, Chilton said he enjoyed his time in North America this year, and has to have IndyCar as a viable option for 2016. He was particularly stout in the second half of the season, with a healthy amount of podium finishes for Carlin as well as an emotional first series win at Iowa Speedway less than 24 hours after the loss of Formula 1 teammate Jules Bianchi.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time racing in America. I have some decisions to be made,” he said.

“I have enjoyed it here. It’s very welcoming. Very professional series they’ve got here with the Mazda Road to Indy, Indy Lights and IndyCar.

“I have a few decisions to be made. I think I could do pretty good in IndyCar. It would suit me. I’ve shown this year I’m very quick. Hadn’t got it right in all the races. But had I done the whole year as a main focus, things might have been different.”

Chilton also made the most humorous moment of the night at the Mazda Road to Indy banquet, when he tried to take a selfie in front of the crowd, but needed several attempts to nail the moment.