1997 Indy Lights season

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The 1997 PPG/Firestone Indy Lights Championship Powered By Buick consisted of 13 races. Tony Kanaan edged out good friend and teammate Hélio Castro-Neves to the title by only four points.

Calendar[edit]

Race No Track State Date Laps Distance Time Speed Winner Pole Position Led the Most Laps Fastest Race Lap
1 Homestead Florida March 2, 1997 50 2.4413081=122.065405 km 0'45:55.357 159.484 km/h David Empringham Hélio Castro-Neves Mark Hotchkis Mark Hotchkis
2 Long Beach California April 13, 1997 40 2.558787=102.35148 km 0'52:25.497 117.141 km/h Hélio Castro-Neves Hélio Castro-Neves Hélio Castro-Neves Cristiano da Matta
3 Nazareth Pennsylvania April 27, 1997 64 1.5223978=97.4334592 km 0'38:41.989 151.060 km/h Cristiano da Matta Chris Simmons Chris Simmons David DeSilva
4 Savannah Georgia May 18, 1997 50 3.1606652=158.03326 km 1'10:52.676 133,779 km/h Hélio Castro-Neves Hélio Castro-Neves Hélio Castro-Neves ?
5 Madison Illinois May 24, 1997 56 2.011625=112.651 km 0'58:33.865 115.412 km/h Lee Bentham Chris Simmons Lee Bentham Cristiano da Matta
6 Milwaukee Wisconsin June 1, 1997 90 1.6607976=149.471784 km 0'44:05.781 203.380 km/h Clint Mears Clint Mears Clint Mears Clint Mears
7 Detroit Michigan June 8, 1997 36 3.37953=121.66308 km 0'52:59.459 137.755 km/h Tony Kanaan Tony Kanaan Tony Kanaan Hélio Castro-Neves
8 Portland Oregon June 22, 1997 29 3.169=91.901 km 0'40:54.077 134.814 km/h Hideki Noda Hélio Castro-Neves Hélio Castro-Neves Oswaldo Negri, Jr.
9 Toronto  Canada July 20, 1997 44 2.7696053=121.862633 km 0'57:23.659 127.395 km/h Hélio Castro-Neves Tony Kanaan Hélio Castro-Neves Christophe Tinseau
10 Trois-Rivières  Canada August 3, 1997 50 2.4477453=122.387265 km 1'00:33.440 121.261 km/h Tony Kanaan Mark Hotchkis Tony Kanaan Mark Hotchkis
11 Vancouver  Canada August 31, 1997 44 2.7406379=120.588068 km 0'56:39.358 122.957 km/h Cristiano da Matta Cristiano da Matta Cristiano da Matta Hideki Noda
12 Monterey California September 7, 1997 25 3.6016134=90.040335 km 0'43:48.426 123.323 km/h Cristiano da Matta Tony Kanaan Clint Mears Cristiano da Matta
13 Fontana California September 27, 1997 50 3.2186=141.6184 km 0'52:15.813 162.582.130 km/h Clint Mears Clint Mears Hélio Castro-Neves Cristiano da Matta

Race summaries[edit]

Homestead race[edit]

Held March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hélio Castro-Neves won the pole.

Top Five Results

  1. David Empringham
  2. Fredrik Larsson
  3. Chris Simmons
  4. Mark Hotchkis
  5. Lee Bentham

Long Beach race[edit]

Held April 13 at Long Beach, California Street Course. Hélio Castro-Neves won the pole.

Top Five Results

  1. Hélio Castro-Neves
  2. Cristiano da Matta
  3. Mark Hotchkis
  4. Chris Simmons
  5. Tony Kanaan

Nazareth race[edit]

Held April 27 at Nazareth Speedway. Chris Simmons won the pole.

Top Five Results

  1. Cristiano da Matta
  2. Chris Simmons
  3. Fredrik Larsson
  4. Hélio Castro-Neves
  5. Tony Kanaan

Savannah race[edit]

Held May 18 at the Hutchinson Island Road Race Course. Hélio Castro-Neves won the pole.

Top Five Results

  1. Hélio Castro-Neves
  2. Sérgio Paese
  3. Lee Bentham
  4. Luiz Garcia, Jr.
  5. Naoki Hattori

Gateway race[edit]

Held May 24 at Gateway International Raceway. Chris Simmons won the pole.

Top Five Results

  1. Lee Bentham
  2. Cristiano da Matta
  3. Hélio Castro-Neves
  4. David Empringham
  5. Chris Simmons

Milwaukee race[edit]

Held June 1 at The Milwaukee Mile. Clint Mears won the pole.

Top Five Results

  1. Clint Mears
  2. David Empringham
  3. Tony Kanaan
  4. Cristiano da Matta
  5. Fredrik Larsson

Detroit race[edit]

Held June 8 at Belle Isle Raceway. Tony Kanaan won the pole.

Top Five Results

  1. Tony Kanaan
  2. Hélio Castro-Neves
  3. Geoff Boss
  4. David Empringham
  5. Sérgio Paese

Portland race[edit]

Held June 22 at Portland International Raceway. Hélio Castro-Neves won the pole.

Top Five Results

  1. Hideki Noda
  2. Hélio Castro-Neves
  3. Tony Kanaan
  4. Cristophe Tinseau
  5. Cristiano da Matta

Toronto race[edit]

Held July 20 at Exhibition Place. Tony Kanaan won the pole.

Top Five Results

  1. Hélio Castro-Neves
  2. Tony Kanaan
  3. David Empringham
  4. Didier André
  5. Cristophe Tinseau

Trois-Rivières race[edit]

Held August 3 at the Trois-Rivières, Quebec Street Circuit. Mark Hotchkis won the pole.

Top Five Results

  1. Tony Kanaan
  2. Mark Hotchkis
  3. Cristophe Tinseau
  4. Cristiano da Matta
  5. David Empringham

Vancouver race[edit]

Held August 31 at Pacific Place. Cristiano da Matta won the pole.

Top Five Results

  1. Cristiano da Matta
  2. Tony Kanaan
  3. Hideki Noda
  4. Chris Simmons
  5. David Empringham

Laguna Seca race[edit]

Held September 7 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Tony Kanaan won the pole.

Top Five Results

  1. Cristiano da Matta
  2. Tony Kanaan
  3. Hélio Castro-Neves
  4. Mark Hotchkis
  5. Lee Bentham

Fontana race[edit]

Held September 27 at The California Speedway. Clint Mears won the pole.

Top Five Results

  1. Clint Mears
  2. Chris Simmons
  3. Lee Bentham
  4. Cristiano da Matta
  5. Hélio Castro-Neves

Final points standings[edit]

Driver[edit]

For every race the points were awarded: 20 points to the winner, 16 for runner-up, 14 for third place, 12 for fourth place, 10 for fifth place, 8 for sixth place, 6 seventh place, winding down to 1 points for 12th place. Additional points were awarded to the pole winner (1 point) and to the driver leading the most laps (1 point).

Place Name Country Team Total Points United States United States United States United States United States United States United States United States Canada Canada Canada United States United States
1 Tony Kanaan  Brazil Tasman Motorsports 156 8 10 10 - 3 14 22 14 17 21 16 17 4
2 Hélio Castro-Neves  Brazil Tasman Motorsports 152 1 22 12 22 14 1 16 18 21 - - 14 11
3 Cristiano da Matta  Brazil Brian Stewart Racing 141 - 16 20 - 16 12 - 10 - 12 22 21 12
4 David Empringham  Canada Forsythe Racing 107 20 3 4 - 12 16 12 6 14 10 10 - -
5 Chris Simmons  United States Team Green 88 14 12 18 - 11 - 5 - - - 12 - 16
Lee Bentham  Canada Forsythe Racing 88 10 - - 14 21 4 - 5 - 5 5 10 14
7 Mark Hotchkis  United States Team Green 74 13 14 - - - 6 8 - - 17 2 12 2
8 Clint Mears  United States Team Mears 53 1 - 6 - 2 22 - - - 1 - - 21
9 Hideki Noda  Japan Indy Regency Racing 51 - - - 8 - - - 20 - 8 14 1 -
Airton Daré  Brazil Brian Stewart Racing 51 2 8 5 5 8 2 - - 4 4 6 2 5
11 Christophe Tinseau  France Conquest Racing 49 - - - 1 1 - 2 12 10 14 - 8 1
12 Fredrik Larsson  Sweden Johansson Motorsports 43 16 - 14 3 - 10 - - - - - - -
13 Luiz Garcia, Jr.  Brazil Dorricott Racing 38 - - - 12 - - 4 8 - - 8 3 3
14 Robby Unser  United States PacWest Lights 35 5 6 3 - 6 8 1 - 6 - - - -
Didier André  France Autosport Racing 35 - 5 - 4 - - - - 12 6 3 5 -
16 Naoki Hattori  Japan Team Green 32 - - - 10 - - 6 - 8 - - - 8
17 Geoff Boss  United States Team Medlin 30 3 - - - - - 14 3 - 2 4 4 -
18 Sérgio Paese  Brazil FRE Racing 27 - - - 16 - - 10 1 - - - - -
19 David DeSilva  United States Lucas Place Motorsports 17 - 1 8 - 5 - 3 - - - - - -
20 Oswaldo Negri, Jr.  Brazil Genoa Racing 15 - - - 6 - - - 4 5 - - - -
21 Jaques Lazier  United States Brian Stewart Racing 12 - 2 1 - 4 5 - - - - - - -
Brian Cunningham  United States Brian Stewart Racing 12 6 - - - - - - - - - -
Lucas Place Motorsports 6 -
23 Casey Mears  United States Team Mears 9 4 - - - - 3 - 2 - - - - -
24 Jeff Ward  United States Johansson Motorsports 6 - - - - - - - - - - - - 6
25 Shigeaki Hattori  Japan Lucas Place Motorsports 5 - 4 - - - - - - - - 1 - -
26 Bob Dorrichott, Jr.  United States Dorricott Racing 4 - - - 2 - - - - 2 - - - -
Frédéric Gosparini  France Brian Stewart Racing 4 - - - - - - - - 1 3 - - -
28 Andrew Bordin  Canada Bordin Racing 3 - - - - - - - - 3 - - - -
29 Chris Bingham  United States Leading Edge Motorsports 2 - - 2 - - - - - - - - - -

Complete Overview[edit]

first column of every race 10 = grid position
second column of every race 10 = race result

R23=retired, but classified NS=did not start NQ=did not qualify

Place Name Country Team United States United States United States United States United States United States United States United States Canada Canada Canada United States United States
1 Tony Kanaan  Brazil Tasman Motorsports 10 6 8 5 10 5 2 R23 5 10 5 3 1 1 4 3 1 2 3 1 6 2 1 2 3 9
2 Hélio Castro-Neves  Brazil Tasman Motorsports 1 14 1 1 8 4 1 1 6 3 6 12 2 2 1 2 2 1 7 R20 3 R19 3 3 4 5
3 Cristiano da Matta  Brazil Brian Stewart Racing 9 21 3 2 3 1 19 R21 7 2 8 4 10 R26 8 5 3 R18 8 4 1 1 2 1 10 4
4 David Empringham  Canada Forsythe Racing 5 1 2 10 25 9 6 R14 10 4 14 2 5 4 11 7 6 3 4 5 8 5 4 R26 2 R13
5 Chris Simmons  United States Team Green 3 3 4 4 1 2 14 16 1 5 19 17 6 8 19 13 5 R21 2 15 4 4 8 R28 6 2
Lee Bentham  Canada Forsythe Racing 6 5 7 14 9 R22 10 3 4 1 17 9 16 22 9 8 13 R27 17 8 14 8 7 5 5 3
7 Mark Hotchkis  United States Team Green 2 4 5 3 12 R23 11 17 2 R22 25 7 9 6 12 16 4 R17 1 2 5 11 5 4 11 11
8 Clint Mears  United States Team Mears 18 12 27 18 5 7 25 R18 13 11 1 1 23 18 - NS 26 13 22 12 28 14 26 NS 1 1
9 Hideki Noda  Japan Indy Regency Racing 21 18 11 R19 22 16 7 6 19 16 12 14 22 14 2 1 8 R15 5 6 2 3 20 12 - -
Airton Daré  Brazil Brian Stewart Racing 13 11 18 6 11 8 12 8 8 6 2 11 15 13 15 20 19 9 14 9 17 7 24 11 12 8
11 Christophe Tinseau  France Conquest Racing 15 R25 17 R26 15 14 9 12 11 12 20 21 12 11 5 4 12 5 6 3 7 R18 6 6 13 12
12 Fredrik Larsson  Sweden Johansson Motorsports 8 2 16 R22 4 3 13 10 14 R24 16 5 4 R25 22 22 22 R28 - - - - - - - -
13 Luiz Garcia, Jr.  Brazil Dorricott Racing 23 16 6 15 13 R24 3 4 18 17 21 19 11 9 3 6 17 R25 15 R23 9 6 12 10 16 10
14 Robby Unser  United States PacWest Lights 14 8 15 7 21 10 18 R22 9 7 4 6 17 12 20 14 14 7 16 R19 18 R21 19 R22 19 R16
Didier André  France Autosport Racing 19 22 13 8 17 R25 5 9 16 20 24 18 19 21 6 R25 7 4 11 7 15 10 11 8 - -
16 Naoki Hattori  Japan Team Green 7 13 - NS 18 15 15 5 17 14 18 13 7 7 13 R24 15 6 13 R24 10 R15 13 R20 9 6
17 Geoff Boss  United States Team Medlin 17 10 9 R24 20 17 20 R20 22 21 13 20 3 3 21 10 27 14 21 11 21 9 22 9 - -
18 Sérgio Paese  Brazil FRE Racing - NS 22 R20 - - 4 2 15 18 23 R24 8 5 7 12 9 R23 10 R25 20 R27 9 13 - -
19 David DeSilva  United States Lucas Place Motorsports 4 17 20 12 2 6 26 NQ 3 8 2 R25 13 10 14 R26 16 R24 9 R26 11 R17 23 17 - -
20 Oswaldo Negri, Jr.  Brazil Genoa Racing - - 12 R27 - - 17 7 - - - - - - 10 9 20 8 25 R21 19 R20 17 R27 - -
21 Jaques Lazier  United States Brian Stewart Racing - - 19 11 19 12 21 R24 23 9 7 8 20 23 - - - - - - - - - - - -
Brian Cunningham  United States Brian Stewart Racing 11 7 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Lucas Place Motorsports 23 R25 10 7 8 R14
23 Casey Mears  United States Team Mears 12 9 23 17 24 13 24 13 24 13 10 10 21 25 23 11 21 R20 26 17 27 R16 29 19 15 R15
24 Jeff Ward  United States Johansson Motorsports - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 22 R22 27 15 17 7
25 Shigeaki Hattori  Japan Lucas Place Motorsports - - 10 9 6 20 8 R15 12 R23 9 16 14 24 16 23 11 R26 12 14 12 12 18 14 18 R18
26 Bob Dorrichott, Jr.  United States Dorricott Racing 25 R24 14 R21 - - 16 11 20 19 3 R23 18 16 17 15 25 11 18 16 13 13 14 R21 7 R20
Frédéric Gosparini  France Project Indy - - - NS - - - - - - - - - - - -
Brian Stewart Racing 23 12 19 10 16 R24 15 R23 14 R19
28 Andrew Bordin  Canada Bordin Racing 22 R23 26 R23 - - - - - - 11 15 24 17 18 17 10 10 24 13 26 R23 21 16 - -
29 Chris Bingham  United States Leading Edge Motorsports 20 15 25 13 14 11 - - - - - - - - 26 21 - - - - - - - - - -
- Rodolfo Lavín, Jr.  Mexico Indy Regency Racing 16 20 21 16 16 R21 22 R25 21 15 15 22 25 19 24 19 24 R22 23 R22 24 R26 25 R25 20 R17
- Eric Jensen  Canada Auto Sport Racing - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 28 R16 - - - - - - - -
- Claude Bourbonnais  Canada Eclipse Racing - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 18 R19 20 18 25 R28 28 18 - -
- John Jones  Canada Eclipse Racing 24 19 24 R25 23 19 23 19 - - - - 26 20 25 18 - - - - - - - - - -
- Jean-Philippe Belloc  France Auto Sport Racing - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 16 R24 - -
- Philipp Sager  Austria Project Indy - NS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -