Matos to Start from Pole in Winner-Take-All Race at Chicagoland Speedway

Firestone Indy Lights title contenders Raphael Matos and Richard Antinucci enter the 100 at Chicagoland Speedway separated by four points.

They'll be separated by eight positions (four rows) in the winner-take-all 67-lap race Sept. 7.

Matos, driving the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Inc. car, earned his third SWE Pole Award on an oval this season with a two-lap average of 190.250 mph (57.5243 seconds) on the 1.5-mile oval. Antinucci, the penultimate of 24 qualifiers, posted an average of 188.242 mph (58.1378 seconds) for ninth on the grid in the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car. Matos picked up a point for the pole run.

"It's another point that we definitely needed," said Matos, who finished sixth and eighth in his previous oval races from the pole. "We have a four-point lead now, and we'll see what happens tomorrow. We're 67 laps away from the title. There's a lot of work and hard racing tomorrow.

"I feel great about my car. I feel great about the opportunity. We've been good all year long. We've had some ups and down this season, but we've found good momentum. Hopefully, we can carry this momentum into tomorrow."

Ana Beatriz posted her third front-row starting spot of the season with an average of 189.316 mph (57.8081 seconds) in the No. 20 Healthy Choice/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car. Beatriz, who won at Nashville Superspeedway from the front row in mid-July, also has third in the standings and the rookie of the year award in her sights.

It's my first time here at Chicagoland and we were really focused this morning on race setup," said Beatriz, who has an eight-point lead over fourth-place J.R. Hildebrand in the standings after 15 events. "After second practice, we focused on qualifying. I think my Healthy Choice Sam Schmidt crew did a really good job. I was really wishing I could stay in the top three, so the second position is pretty good.

"Matos went really, really fast. I don't know what he did but I'm very confident for the race."

Hildebrand will start 19th in the No. 25 Allied Building Products car (186.528; 58.6723).

Arie Luyendyk Jr., driving the No. 26 Targus/Automatic Fire Sprinklers Inc. car (189.195; 57.8451 seconds), will join Mike Potekhen (189.143; 57.8611) in the No. 43 SWE Lucas Oil XFR car on Row 2.

Antinucci, who started from the pole but finished 13th at Kansas in April, will share Row 5 with Logan Gomez (188.087; 58.1858) in the No. 23 Menards Guthrie Racing car.

"I thought we had a little more (in the car)," Antinucci said. "In testing the morning we ended up pretty well in qualifying trim, but the race is what counts and that's what we spent most of our time doing. Tomorrow is when it's all decided. Rafa got an extra point today, we just need to go out tomorrow and win the damned thing.

"It's attack. I need to move as far ahead as I can. There's not much to lose. We have to go for the win."

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