USA: Matt Lee Indianapolis race one notes

Lee Finishes a Solid Fourth In First Half of Formula BMW Doubleheader Saturday at IMS INDIANAPOLIS, July 1 - Although his car developed an oversteering condition, Matt Lee of Syosset, N.Y. finished a solid fourth in Saturday's Formula BMW USA...

Lee Finishes a Solid Fourth In First Half of Formula BMW Doubleheader Saturday at IMS

INDIANAPOLIS, July 1 - Although his car developed an oversteering condition, Matt Lee of Syosset, N.Y. finished a solid fourth in Saturday's Formula BMW USA race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The support race for the United States Grand Prix was held in 90-degree temperatures.

Lee's Team Autotecnica/Twin tooth Racing teammate, Robert Thorne of Sherman, Conn., was 19th in the 29-car field.

Lee started on the pole for this event, as he will in the second half of the doubleheader here Sunday morning. Thorne started 22nd Saturday.

Robert Wickens, who started second, led every lap of the race, which was slowed by one yellow on lap two. The green waved again on lap three and it stayed out the rest of the way.

Lee remained in second place until the halfway point. He was about 2.022 seconds behind Wickens when Stefano Coletti passed him for that spot with seven laps down.

Simona de Silvestro pushed him to fourth on the tenth circuit around the 2.605-mile road course. Then Tobias Hegewald wiggled by on the next-to-last lap, but Lee got back around him on the last lap to regain fourth before the checkered.

Thorne got off to a great start, moving up two positions by lap two and two more by lap three. He slipped to 21st on lap five but by lap eight he was back up to 18th. He got as high as 17th, but he ended up 19th at the line.

Tomorrow morning's race is slated to start at 9:30 a.m. before the United States Grand Prix begins at 1 p.m.

Both Lee and Thorne's Autotecnica cars are sponsored in part by Bumper to Bumper, Autoparts Warehouse, the Francis A. Lee Company, Matt-Con Services Corp. and Integrated Structures. Both drivers are also looking for additional marketing partners to join their program.

On Thursday Lee and Thorne visited the pediatric ward of Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis in an appearance organized by Nena Ray of the Think First Foundation. They visited about 15 young patients and stressed the importance of wearing seat belts and helmets. FOX 59 Television and 1070 WIBC Radio covered t he appearance.

Thorne was chosen to meet some Boy Scouts at the track Saturday night in another promotion. The scouts are camping in the infield of the racetrack tonight. "We're going to talk to them about our sport and sign some autographs," Thorne explained. "I was picked to go because I used to be a Boy Scout. I was a member of Troop 48 in Sherman, Conn. for awhile."

More information is available on the Internet at twintooth.com, autotecnicagroup.com and formulabmwusa.com.

Driver post-race quotes follow:

Matt Lee: "My car developed a lot of oversteer. My start was OK, but Wickens got a better start than I did. After the restart the car started to act up, so it was more of a defensive race than an offensive race for me this time. The engine was overheating the whole time too.

"At the end I passed Hegewald in the banking coming onto the straightaway; I got under him.

"I had one close call when Simona [de Silvestro] pushed me into the grass under braking once, late in the race.

"I have to thank Team Autotecnica. They worked hard and we collected some points. Although I wish we could have been on the podium, I'm satisfied with my performance because I drove the car 100 percent. We'll just try again tomorrow. I'm starting from the pole tomorrow too, so that's good."

Robert Thorne: "My car was OK, but with the heat the tires seemed to go away a little.

"My start was fine. I gained two or more positions on the first lap.

"There was a lot of action for the whole race, especially in Turn Eight. Everything was really close; too close sometimes.

"I'm happy I finished. I'd like to be up a lot further, but we'll try again in the morning."

-lm-

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Robert Thorne , Robert Wickens , Stefano Coletti , Tobias Hegewald , Simona de Silvestro , Matt Lee