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Firestone Indy Lights: Kentucky 100

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Kentucky 100

Firestone Indy Lights: Kentucky 100

Ana Beatriz
Sebastian Saavedra
August 1, 2009


THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with our second- and third-place finishers today's Firestone Indy Lights race. The 100th race for the Indy Lights under the Indy Racing League sanction. Second place, Sebastian Saavedra. He has two wins this year. This is his third straight top-three finish. He has seven top-five finishes in 2009.
Sebastian, tell us about your run out there today.
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA: It was a very hard race. I would say quite long from my point of view. You know, I think it's a shame what happened to J.R. We had a great strategy to help each other and try to have a run to the Lucas Oil guys. It didn't work.
I was in the middle of complete Sam Schmidt Racing. They were helping each other and that's what made it a very hard race for me. I was trying to defend, but at the same time trying to stay in course, but having some tow. It was just unbelievably hard thing.
The Firestone Firehawks maintained themselves through the race. It was a complete war for me, a lot of touching. Hinchcliffe, we had some wiggles.
But I'm very happy. Good points for the championship. That's what matters.
THE MODERATOR: Also joining us, our third-place finisher, Ana Beatriz. Her fifth top-five finish of the year. Anna, how about your run?
ANA BEATRIZ: Pretty good. We didn't have qualifying, so I had to start 10th position. I was just getting myself up to position, passing people. It was great. Move up, start to fight with Saavedra and Hinch. Couldn't help Hinch enough. I just got a great (indiscernible) to both of them, put it inside and got the lead.
I don't know, I don't think my car was good enough to stay up front. The guys were just getting so much better exiting than me.
At the end it was just like four cars running, fighting really hard. At the end hopefully I could go to the podium. That's very important for me, and for the position, the standings. I think it was a great race. I'm very thankful for my team today.
THE MODERATOR: Any comments about getting out there late to practice and then somewhat rushing into the race?
ANA BEATRIZ: Well, I know Kentucky. Of course, they change a little bit with the pavement. It's better this year. But it's hard, you know. We had such a boring day yesterday spending all the day doing nothing. This afternoon, hopefully we could run a little bit. The track didn't have any water, so we could do our job. The league did a good job to put the race in, and it was a good race.
THE MODERATOR: Sebastian, any thoughts on that?
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA: I think for sure it was a challenge to put everything together so fast and being able to set up the car for race mode in such a short time.
We almost couldn't test many things. We came almost blind to the race. But always having some help from the big guys, we already know more or less how is it going to turn out to be the racetrack.
It was very interesting, but at the same time, as Bea said, it was quite boring. A shame we couldn't have the complete schedule as we were expecting. Yesterday was such an amazing day.
I'm very happy. It was a great battle. Hopefully we'll keep the same for Mid-Ohio. That's the most important thing.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.

Q. Sebastian, were you waiting to make your move on Wade, any more laps?
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA: You know, since the beginning, I was saving tires, my priority. I didn't have JR to be able to work together. Saving the tires was gonna be the most important thing for the end of the race. I was not expecting any yellows. I was just keeping and trying to push Wade so we could battle alongside, just us two.
When I heard 'five laps to go,' I was getting ready, just getting the measurements right. When I was going for my move, I knew I was not going to pass him, but I knew I had the car to be able to go maybe a little bit more in front. At start/finish, I was making my move at that moment when I heard 'yellow flag.' I was really disappointed because I knew I had the car, I knew I had the tires saved.
But, you know, this is racing, things happen. I'm still very happy for those good points. Now, again, the battle for the championship, it's back. Three races to go. Anything can happen.

Q. Ana, you said you ran here before. How much has the track changed this year from last year? Did it affect the cars that much, that you're aware of?
ANA BEATRIZ: Well, I think just the bottoming in turn one and two, is better. You don't have that much bumps. A little bit better when you go a little bit higher. Turn two, you can get a lot of bumps. But on the inside, that was the biggest problem last year. They fixed it. I think that was it really.

Q. Ana, you had some challenges this year. You missed the Milwaukee race after your crash at Indianapolis. Battling this close with other drivers wheel-to-wheel, does that at all factor into your thinking? The challenges you had after your accident, does that factor into your driving, taking care more of the car than you normally would?
ANA BEATRIZ: Not really. Usually I always try to take care. Of course, today was really tight. Some things you can't control. But the most important thing is, like, my thinking about winning races, not think about crashing at all.
Of course, was really bad for us losing Milwaukee, losing a day of testing at road courses. But it's good to fight for winning again and be at the podium today.

Q. Do you feel, Sebastian, had the race gone completely to the end you would have had a shot, that you could have got enough to get your nose in front of him at the start/finish?
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA: As I said, I had the car, I had the tires. I think I had the strategy. 50 laps to go I had it planned. But if it had happened, I don't know. You know, I think I made a couple of moves to Hinchcliffe that did not work as I was expecting. But other two, three moves worked when I was side-by-side with Wade. I could only know if I had happened. It was a shame. But very happy how it turned out to be.
THE MODERATOR: We'll let our second- and third-place drivers head out of here. We'll get started with Wade Cunningham.
ANA BEATRIZ: Thank you.

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