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Cinderella Story for Saavedra

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Sebastian Saavedra, Indianapolis 500

Cinderella Story for Saavedra

Andrew Herta
Bryan Herta Autosport
May 23, 2010

Amazing Birthday Present for Team Owner Herta

What looked to be a bitter day for Bryan Herta Autosport turned into one of celebration – and relief – as rookie Sebastian Saavedra made the field for next weekend’s Indianapolis 500. It was a valiant effort which required a little help from Lady Luck for the second-year Firestone Indy Lights squad led by Bryan Herta, who celebrated his 40th birthday today, and team co-owner Steve Newey.

Saavedra, 19, from Colombia, found himself on the bubble with a lap time of 223.634 mph entering the final hours of Bump Day this afternoon. With just over an hour remaining in the session, Saavedra went out for a practice run in preparation for another qualifying effort. Unfortunately, the run ended with heavy contact in Turn 1.

He was transported to Methodist Hospital as a precaution and it was there, while waiting to undergo an MRI (the results were negative), that he learned he made the field when qualifying attempts by Paul Tracy and Jay Howard failed to pay off. Saavedra will start 33rd.

Sebastian Saavedra, #29 William Rast Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I had just turned on the television in my hospital room and I saw an interview with Bryan and my crew jumping up and down. My family starting jumping in celebration. This is wonderful for me and my country (Colombia). I’m still trying to process it. I want to thank Bryan Herta Autosport and William Rast for believing in me and making my dream come true.”

“I had a sharp pain my upper back, but the MRI came back clean. I’ll have a big bruise, but it’s all good.”

Bryan Herta, Team Co-Owner: “It was the most amazing turn of events. I don’t think there’s ever been drama in Bump Day qualifying like this, at least when I’ve been involved. My partner, Steve Newey, and I put so much on the line with this little team to try to come out here and qualify with a rookie driver and a bunch of guys that are just amazing mechanics. You don’t know what it meant to our team because we put everything on the line to make this race.”

94th Indianapolis 500
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Race: May 30 – 200 Laps – 2.5-Mile Oval
Broadcast: ABC 1:00 pm EDT Live
IMS Radio Network and XM 145/Sirius 211

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