Wade Cunningham claimed a flag-to-flag victory in today's Corning 100 at Watkins Glen International. Finishing a very close second was Hideki Mutoh, 0.0758 seconds behind. Rounding out the top 5 were Alex Lloyd, Phil Giebler and Bobby Wilson.
Cunningham remarked how important the start was today, "It was important to stay in the lead into turn one and get the preferred line into the Bus Stop. I saw (Lloyd) didn't get a good run out of turn one. I pushed pretty hard on cold tires on those first few laps. It was a pretty easy race, really. I just had to make sure I did the fundamentals right and didn't make any mistakes."
After the race, Mutoh commented, "On the last lap I got in close to (Cunningham), and I tried to pass him again, but it didn't happen. I still have tomorrow though."
Wade Cunningham led the field to the green flag and maintained the lead through the opening laps. Second row starter Hideki Mutoh made a bold move on the first lap to snatch second place from Series point leader Alex Lloyd. Toward the back, #38 Ryan Justice lost control of his machine in the Inner Loop and contacted the tire barrier. He was unable to continue.
On lap 7, #13 Robbie Pecorari locked up the front wheels entering turn 9. He was able to park his machine out of harm's way and no caution resulted. Moments later, the second full-course caution flew when #9 Chris Festa hooked the curbing coming out of turn one and slid to the inside wall, making contact with the tire barrier and sustaining damage to the front and rear left-side suspensions.
With one-third of the race completed, the running order was #27 Cunningham, #55 Mutoh, #7 Lloyd, #12 Giebler, and #44 Herrington.
The green flag flew again on lap 12 and #12 Phil Giebler grabbed third place from Alex Lloyd going into turn one. Lloyd then came under immediate attack from #44 Daniel Herrington going into the Inner Loop. Lloyd would be able to maintain his position with some nimble driving.
Lloyd wrestled third place back from Giebler in turn 8 on lap 14 with a bold inside move that was set up by a small bobble from Giebler in turn 7. Both drivers did a fabulous job, driving wheel to wheel through most of the corner, not making any contact.
With 10 laps to go in the contest, the man on the move was #1 Bobby Wilson. He had moved up to fifth position and was hounding Giebler for his position. At the same time, Alex Lloyd began making up ground on #55 Hideki Mutoh.
As the official at the finish line was preparing to wave the checkered flag for the leader, Cunningham eased up just a little too much going through turn 11. Mutoh charged full bore though the same turn and was able to pull alongside Cunningham on the run to the flag. Cunningham was just able to hold on for the win.
After the winners circle celebrations, Cunningham pulled the number 6 chip from the bag, indicating that the top 6 positions from today's race will be inverted for the start of tomorrow's second Corning 100.