Chilton dedicates first Indy Lights pole, victory to Bianchi
NEWTON, Iowa — England’s Max Chilton won the Indy Lights race Saturday in Iowa after dedicating the race to former teammate Jules Bianchi, the French Formula One driver who died early Saturday from injuries sustained in October in the Japanese Grand Prix.
Bianchi and Chilton were teammates for Marussia in 2013 and 2014. Chilton said he found out Friday night about his friend’s death and dedicated the race to Bianchi after winning the pole.
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— M A X Chilton (@maxchilton) July 18, 2015
"It’s been a difficult nine months, to be brutally honest with you," Chilton said. "I’ve learned a lot from him, and he was part of that win."
Chilton then dominated the 100-lap race on Iowa Speedway’s 0.894-mile oval, leading 87 laps for his first win in any series since 2012.
The pole and subsequent win was a bit of surprise considering that Chilton sat just 10th out of 15 drivers in Indy Lights, a feeder program for the IndyCar series, entering the weekend.
"I probably thought of him every five or 10 laps, because he was a driver destined to probably be a world champion," Chilton said.
Ed Jones was second, followed by RC Enerson.
Prior to the IndyCar Series race Saturday night, Chilton led drivers and fans in a moment of silence to further honor Bianchi.