Lee Finishes Fourth Again on Sunday In Formula BMW USA Action At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway INDIANAPOLIS, July 2 - Matt Lee led Sunday morning's Formula BMW USA race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at one point and he made a gutsy move...
Lee Finishes Fourth Again on Sunday In Formula BMW USA Action At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
INDIANAPOLIS, July 2 - Matt Lee led Sunday morning's Formula BMW USA race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at one point and he made a gutsy move to regain the lead at another point. Although no one can dispute that he tried his best, in the end the 16-year-old star went home with fourth-place points for the second time in less than 24 hours.
Lee, of Syosset, N.Y., is one of the main contenders for the championship, and collecting as many points as possible is crucial. He is now third in the series point standings with six races remaining, but the driver who is second will now concentrate on a European series and doesn't plan on competing in any more Formula BMW USA events this year.
Lee started on the pole. Robert Wickens out-dragged him into Turn One on the first lap but Lee was able to stay close to him. Stefano Coletti got into third place on lap four and the battle headed up even more. On lap five Coletti set the fastest lap of the race while Lee recorded the second-fastest lap of the race, just 0.043 of a second apart.
Despite the pressure from Coletti, Lee passed Wickens for the lead going into Turn One working lap six. He led for almost a lap, but before the lap was over he was pushed to third when both Wickens and Coletti got around him.
Lee was still able to stay close, however, and when he saw a possible opportunity to regain the lead in Turn One on lap 10 he went for it. It almost worked, but unfortunately room ran out and he ran over a curb, which caused his car to go off course. Coletti passed Wickens for the lead in the melee and Simona de Silvestro and Tobias Hegewald both got by Lee while he was in the grass to push him to fifth.
Lee passed Hegewald on lap 12 to regain fourth, and he stayed in that spot until the checkered on lap 15. Coletti, Wickens and de Silvestro took the podium spots in that order, while Hegewald finished behind Lee to round out the top five.
Lee's Team Autotecnica teammate, Robert Thorne of Sherman, Conn., had an action-packed race on Sunday too. Another competitor who was rejoining the field after going off course did so right where Thorne was running in Turn Four on lap five. The pair made contact, and Thorne spun. He regrouped immediately but his car's handling was compromised due to the contact so it was an accomplishment for him to even finish the 15-lap race, but he did so and was scored in 23rd position after starting 19th. After his spin he battled Adrian Herberts, Doug Boyer, Marco Santos and Jule Duc the rest of the way.
Both of the IMS races supported the United States Grand Prix. The next Formula BMW USA doubleheader is July 29-30 in support of Champ Car's San Jose Grand Prix in San Jose, Calif. The last two doubleheaders of the year are slated for Denver Aug. 11-12 and Canada's Mosport International Raceway Sept. 1-3.
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.
More information is available on the Internet at twintooth.com, autotecnicagroup.com and formulabmwusa.com.
Driver post-race quotes follow:
Matt Lee: ""I have to thank Team Autotecnica for all their hard work. My car was better than yesterday, even after I ran over the curb.
"I passed Wickens going into Turn One, but then I went from first to third in one shot.
"Then later I just saw an opening and I went for it, but I caught the curb in Turn One. Luckily the car was still fine though.
"The engine was running a little hot when I was running close to other people, but by myself it was OK.
"The next race will be at San Jose and it will be all new for everybody. I love street courses, so I'm looking forward to it.
"I realize I'm lucky to be able to say that I'm 16 years old and I've already competed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in four races. Many great drivers never get the opportunity to race here, and it's such a historic track. It's always great for us as a series to race in front of the Formula 1 crowds too."
Robert Thorne: "A car went off track and then re-entered the track right where I was. It happened in Turn Four. I tried to get out of his way but he re-entered the track right in the racing line. My front-left corner and his right-rear corner touched and I spun. I'm not sure who it was; I think I know but since I'm not sure I won't say who now.
"My car was extremely toed-in after that. I was just glad that I finished, considering everything.
"Later in the race I had a battle with a car that had no rear wing. That made for an interesting battle, especially on the straightaway."