The finish of the California 100 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series race, October 2nd at the California Speedway in Fontana, offered a lot for the fans who spent a Saturday afternoon in the California sunshine enjoying what turned out to be a very exciting race.
Two racing brothers finished one-two in the final rundown, the younger brother got his first ever series win in only his second start, a series champion was crowned and the race ended with a spectacular crash on the final lap that had everyone up on their feet with concerned expressions on their faces.
When it was all over James Chesson stood in the California Speedway's Gatorade victory lane with a smile on his face brighter than the weather forecast. "This is unbelievable," Chesson yelled adding"I'm just so very happy to be here. I need to thank my brother and my dad who has been very insturmental in my racing career."
Chesson, and his Dallara-Infiniti, only led two laps of the race but one of them was the lap that mattered the most."It was a very intense race, I was just trying to keep the nose of the car down and stay in front of them and it worked out well. I love being here, (at the California Speedway), this place is awesome."
Brazil's Thiago Mederios was in the proverbial cat bird seat for the California 100. He scorched the California Speedway's two mile oval at 189.831 MPH to claim the pole position and set his eyes on two other objectives: winning the race and the the series championship ahead of schedule.
The championship was already a done deal. With five wins in 2004 Mederios had a large lead in the standings and only had to take the green flag to claim the points title. Winning the race also seemed to be in the bag also until the final lap. Mederios, who took command of the race on lap 28, was racing with Jeff Simmons on the backstretch, on lap 49, when the two drivers made contact. The Mederios car went airborne, flipped over backwards against the retaining wall and then barrel rolled across the track finally coming to rest in the infield grass. No one was injured despite the severity of the accident. Mederios was credited with a ninth place finish.
Chesson inherited the lead at the restart and made quick work of running out the final laps with his brother, P J Chesson, right behind him cheering him on. Phil Giebler, Leonardo Maia and Rolando Quintanilla completed the top five.
After the race P J Chesson stopped his car on pit road and quickly unbuckled his safety gear. He was in a big hurry and recevied permission to by pass the normal post race television and radio interviews normally afforded to a second place finish. Chesson wanted to get to victory lane to witness his younger brother climb out of his car to begin celebrating his first series win. It was a lengthy sprint down a very long pit road but older brother got there on time.