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Bryan Herta Autosport Drivers Confident of Success at Kentucky

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Sebastian Saavedra, Stefan Wilson, Drive Smart Buckle-Up Kentucky 100

Bryan Herta Autosport Drivers Confident of Success at Kentucky

Andrew Herta
Bryan Herta Autosport
September 2, 2010


Stefan Wilson and Sebastian Saavedra will travel to Kentucky Speedway this weekend with high expectations for the penultimate round of the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights Series. The Drive Smart. Buckle-Up Kentucky 100 will take place on the 1.5-mile tri-oval, a circuit familiar to Wilson and Saavedra.

Both young drivers have shown solid form on the ovals, with Colombian Saavedra claiming victory at Iowa Speedway in June and Englishman Wilson securing top-seven finishes in each of his previous three career starts on ovals this year.

Last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, Saavedra qualified a strong third and was running among the lead pack until experiencing a mechanical failure which cost him three laps and restricted him to an 11th-place finish. Wilson started 10th in his first-ever outing on a 1.5-mile superspeedway before fighting his way through the field to finish sixth.

Saavedra, who brought home a second-place finish at Kentucky Speedway last year driving for the AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing team, currently lies fifth in the championship standings, while Wilson is in seventh – just nine points away from sixth place – despite missing one of the 11 races held thus far.

Of Note:

• Wilson will be making his 17th Indy Lights start

• Wilson claimed his career-best Indy Lights finish of third at St. Petersburg and his career-best starting position of second at Watkins Glen

• Wilson has finished in the top seven in each of his three oval starts

• Saavedra will be making his 26th Indy Lights start

• Saavedra has three wins to his credit [St. Petersburg ‘09, Toronto ‘09, Iowa ‘10]

• Saavedra finished second at Kentucky last year after starting second with the grid determined by championship points due to inclement weather

Stefan Wilson, #28 Dallara/Firestone: “It was great to run every lap of the Chicago race last weekend. It was totally new to me being my first race on a one-and-a-half-mile oval and quite different to [previous oval events at] Indy and Iowa, so I think that will be a big boost going into Kentucky. I tested at Kentucky last year with Sam Schmidt – that was actually my first oval experience – and we had the rookie test there this year. Every lap on the ovals I learn more, so I’m looking forward to applying that knowledge. Chicago is definitely one of the smoothest one-and-a-half-mile ovals, whereas Kentucky is a bit bumpy so it makes it a little bit more interesting and I’m hopeful that we will be able to develop our car to handle those bumps better than everyone else.”

Sebastian Saavedra, #29 William Rast Dallara/Firestone: “I’m a bit frustrated after last weekend [at Chicagoland] when we had a mechanical problem but we have to keep going and I’m looking forward to Kentucky. It’s quite similar to Chicago but a lot more bumpier so it makes for really good racing. I think if we can do a good job again, like we did in Chicago in the qualifying session [third], try to optimize the car a little more, we’re going to do well. We need to finish races. We’re still after the top three in the championship and we’re going to fight for it.

“I really had a good race last year in Kentucky. We had an unfortunate situation with a yellow flag with just a few laps to go. I wanted to do my move at the last lap at the last corner but I was very happy with that second place. I really hope we can try to do the same this year but bring another win.”

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