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Wilson, Saavedra Prepare for Return to Oval Competition

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Sebastian Saavedra, Stefan Wilson, Chicagoland 100

Wilson, Saavedra Prepare for Return to Oval Competition

Andrew Herta
Bryan Herta Autosport
August 26, 2010

Bryan Herta Autosport heads to Chicagoland Speedway this weekend as the Firestone Indy Lights Series returns to oval competition after five consecutive road/street circuit events. The 67-lap Chicagoland 100 marks the first of three oval events that will finish out the 2010 season.

The 1.5-mile, D-shaped, tri-oval holds special memories for team owners Bryan Herta and Steve Newey. BHA claimed its first win in Indy Lights competition at Chicagoland with Daniel Herrington’s maiden victory last year. It was a strong showing all around for the team with technical partner Vision Racing’s James Davison finishing second.

Stefan Wilson will return to the cockpit of the #28 machine after missing last weekend’s event at Infineon Raceway. This will be the third-ever career start on an oval for Wilson, who impressed in his oval debuts to date with a fourth-place qualifying effort at Iowa and a pair of seventh-place finishes at Iowa and Indianapolis.

Teammate Sebastian Saavedra, rebounding from a disappointing weekend in Sonoma after retiring due to contact in the #28 William Rast entry, qualified on the front row at Chicagoland last year and finished sixth. He has high hopes for the weekend after winning the last oval race at Iowa in June with a dominant flag-to-flag victory.

Of Note:

Wilson will be making his 16th Indy Lights start
Wilson claimed his Indy Lights career-best finish of third at St. Petersburg and his career-best starting position of second at Watkins Glen
Wilson is currently seventh in the point standings, seven points outside the top six
Saavedra will be making his 25th Indy Lights start
Saavedra has three wins to his credit [St. Petersburg ’09, Toronto ’09, Iowa ‘10]
Saavedra is currently fifth in the point standings, 43 points outside the top three

Stefan Wilson, #28 Dallara/Firestone: “I am really excited to be back this weekend. It was a shame that we had to miss Sonoma but it was what we had to do to make sure we finished off the rest of the season successfully. This year was my first time on the ovals and it has been a steep learning curve, but Indy and Iowa have gone reasonably well and I have been pretty pleased with the progression. I am looking forward to getting this weekend underway. This will be my first one-and-a-half mile oval race and I’m sure it is going to be a little bit different to all of the other ovals I have done so far. Indy and Iowa are not so much side-by-side racing. Chicago produces three wide, side-by-side running for the majority of the race so it is going to be very mentally demanding. We need to try to bring the car home in one piece and get some good points. Missing Sonoma has put me back to seventh in the championship. Our performance all year has really proven that we deserve to be in the top six and it would be nice to work our way back up there. ”

Sebastian Saavedra, #29 William Rast Dallara/Firestone: “I think Chicago is one of the most exciting oval races, if not the most exciting, of the season. I am looking forward just to being there. Last year, Chicago was my worst finish on an oval [with no problems*] and it was because of how tough of a race it is. You have to be ready in every way for this type of a race. It is very close racing and that is what makes it so exciting. I am also looking forward to this race because of how well my team did here last year with Daniel Herrington and James Davison. Both did an incredible job during the race. It makes me feel very positive and excited about how well we can do. We are still fighting for the top three in the championship. Winning the championship right now is out of our control because we know that J.K. [Vernay] is pretty much gone but we are still 40 some points behind third and I think this we can do. If we can finish with three good races, we can get back up in the championship standings.”

*Finished 15th at Iowa last year with a mechanical issue

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