Michael Goulian became the first Red Bull Air Race pilot from the United States to win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Goulian’s victory in front of over 40,000 fans over the Oct. 6-7, 2018, weekend was hard fought, especially when he barely made it out of Sunday’s opening round as the fastest loser, according to race officials.
Meanwhile, his two remaining rivals for the World Championship, Czech pilot Martin Sonka and Australia’s Matt Hall, stumbled, as American Kirby Chambliss outflew Sonka in the Round of 14, and Hall hit a pylon in the Round of 8.
In the Final 4, Goulian was rock solid, delivering a time of 1:06.208. Canada’s Pete McLeod took it down to the wire, but lost time in the racetrack to finish over a half-second behind Goulian. France’s Nicolas Ivanoff took third place in the race.
“It’s a big day. Right now, the season doesn’t even mean anything, because to win at Indy is amazing,” said Goulian, his emotion evident as he realized that he would be able to kiss the famous Indy bricks like the Indianapolis 500 heroes of his childhood. “Sometimes the day just works out for you, and today it did. It feels great to win here. The last race in Wiener Neustadt (where he finished 12th) was just an outlier, like this race for Matt and Martin. Everybody wanted a fight to the finish for the World Championship, and that’s what they’re going to get.”
After sliding to third place overall, Goulian’s Indianapolis result propelled him back to the top of the standings at 70 points, while Sonka is now second at 65 and Hall holds 63.
With only seven total points separating the trio, only one thing is sure: The season finale in Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 17-18 will crown a first-time Red Bull Air Race World Champion.
Tickets for the 2018 Red Bull Air Race season finale at Texas Motor Speedway are on sale now.