Indy Lights: Intense battle for win occurs at Iowa

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires raced Sunday at Iowa Speedway. The race is set to air on Tuesday, at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT) on NBCSN after NASCAR AMERICA.

Here’s the series recap from Sunday in case you already watched the race coverage online or via social media:

Iowa Speedway, billed as the fastest short track on the planet, provided an exciting stage for the final oval race of the calendar for Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires this afternoon. The 100-lap all-green Indy Lights Iowa Challenge Presented by Cooper Tires came down to a battle at the end with Felix Serralles of Carlin scoring the win in the closing minute on the .686-mile oval.

This is the second win and fourth podium of the season for Serralles, 24, of Ponce, Puerto Rico, who won the season-opener on the streets of St. Petersburg. Serralles also claimed victory at The Milwaukee Mile oval last year.

Rain forced the cancellation of qualifying with the grid set on championship points, giving Carlin’s Ed Jones his seventh pole in the last eight races. Championship rivals Dean Stoneman, Santi Urrutia and Kyle Kaiser lined up second, third and fourth respectively with Serralles in fifth.

Jones held the lead until Lap 57 when Serralles, who had charged into third on the opening lap and maneuvered past Andretti Autosport’s Stoneman on Lap 26, made his move. He appeared poised to take the checkered flag with only 20 laps remaining until a hard-charging Zach Veach of Belardi Auto Racing took the point.

Veach had started sixth and clearly had a car that was capable of winning, proven by setting the fastest lap of the race. The 21-year-old from Stockdale, Ohio, appeared to have his second win of the season in hand until the closing moments as he and Serralles fought their way through lapped traffic (Serralles’ teammate Neil Alberico and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Heamin Choi). Serralles emerged the victor by 0.6681 seconds with Jones, Stoneman and Urrutia rounding out the top five.

Jones slightly extended his lead in the point standings over Stoneman, 236-213, with Urrutia holding third at 206 points. Serralles’ win has vaulted him to fourth in the standings at 199 with Veach in fifth at 194.

QUOTES

Felix Serralles, #4 SS Tire – Carlin: “It feels great to finally be on the podium again and to win a race! I was really confident today – I had the memory of how confident I was when I won at Milwaukee last year and I felt that way again today. I knew we could get to the front but the Carlin team gave me a car that could help me pull away. You just really can’t give up. One of the biggest parts of ovals is dealing with the lapped traffic and today, that was really difficult. Once I was able to catch Zach, he caught traffic. Some of the drivers were kind enough to let us by but a few others didn’t. But I really have to say the Cooper Tires lasted really well, I pushed all the way through the race and the tires did a great job.”

Zach Veach, #5 – Belardi Auto Racing: “I always like to say that I do better on ovals but what I’ve had this year, I left ‘backing out of it’ off the list of things to do because we had to get to the front. The battle with Dean was one of the most intense battles I’ve ever had on a short oval and I learned a lot. He worked hard to keep me behind him and in trying to get around him, I discovered that my car really liked the high line. That’s what gave me the exit speed and helped me save my Cooper Tires. The tires were amazing; I was worried about how hard I had pushed but the harder I pushed, the more they stayed with me.

“My day changed completely when I came up on lapped traffic. In my view, if you’re a lap down and it’s coming down to the end of the race, you need to make way for the leaders coming through. But I have to be happy with a podium. Things changed for us at Road America, with a win and a third. We could have had a win here, but I’m happy to get the points.”

Ed Jones, #11 Jebel Ali Resorts and Hotels – Carlin: “The turning point of the race for me was getting stuck behind another car. I struggled to get past him and that let Felix by me. That was the momentum changer. From then on, we struggled in traffic. But it was a good result and I’ve extended my lead in the championship and if I keep doing that, it’s all good. The balance changed with the different conditions through the race; I had a lot of understeer. I maxed out my bias early in the race. You want the car to be slightly pointy, with more front end so the car can work in traffic. So every time I got behind someone, that exaggerated the problem and I would lose the exit. It was difficult to get a good run and keep it and that was the difference in the race for me.”

Neil Alberico, #22 Rising Star Racing – Carlin: “I wish we would have had the opportunity to qualify this morning as I believe we had a good shot at starting up front. We did the best we could today in the race after we had to start in the back based off of championship points. Congrats to my teammates on their runs to the podium. I’m looking forward to Toronto.”

(Re: the final laps) “There was no incident. I lifted early and left plenty of room for the leaders to go down the inside in Turn 1.”

Vicki Golden and 805 Beer tell a unique story from an Inverted Perspective

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Vicki Golden has earned a career worthy of a thousand stories and 805 Beer tells at least one of them, as “Inverted Perspective” premiered March 30 on the company’s website and YouTube channel.

Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”. 

At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.

Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California. 

Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.

“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”

805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”

Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life. 

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The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general. 

“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said.  “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”

Vicki Golden is not “fast for a girl”; she’s just fast. – 805 Beer

While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself. 

“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”

Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.

Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg. 

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Golden 805 Beer
Vicki Golden has ridden a variety of disciplines in SuperMotocross, which gives her a unique perspective. – 805 Beer

“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle. 

“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”

The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective. 

“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.

“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”