HEARTBREAK DAY FOR MORAES
JOLIET, Ill., (September 7, 2008) - The Dale Coyne Racing team saw a perfect day end in heartbreak as rookie Mario Moraes seemed destined for a top five finish. However, with 19 laps to go the No. 19 Sonny's Bar-B-Q car made contact with the wall coming out of turn three, ending a brilliant run by the talented young Brazilian. The 19-year-old rookie settled for a 21st place finish Sunday afternoon in the Peak Antifreeze & Motor Oil 300 at the Chicagoland Speedway.
Moraes started the race in the 27th position, but moved his way up through the field and was running speeds consistent with the leaders. He ran as high as fourth and was in sixth place when the incident ended his day.
"It was a bit of a frustrating day because the #19 Sonny's Bar-B-Q car was a podium-finishing car today," said Moraes. "It would have been nice to finish the race and end the season with a top five finish."
Mario finished the 2008 season with three top ten finishes in his rookie season, highlighted with an 18th place finish in the Indianapolis 500 which saw him lead three laps during the race.
Teammate Bruno Junqueira, who started 25th, also was moving up through the field until debris damaged his front wing and suspension of the #18 Z-line Designs car. The Z-line Designs crew made the necessary repairs in the pits and promptly got Junqueira back into the race and a 20th place finish.
"There was nothing we could have done to prevent this from happening today," said Junqueira. "The Z-Line Designs car was running great and we were moving up through the field until this happened."
Junqueira finished the 2008 season with two top ten finishes and led two laps during the Indianapolis 500.
After 28 weeks of hard work and lots of learning, Dale Coyne Racing ends its first year in the IndyCar® Series.
"It was a very long and demanding season that saw our team finish strong, which gives us great anticipation for 2009," commented team owner Dale Coyne. "Bruno showed his veteran driving ability skills while Mario impressed many with an outstanding rookie season. They both have been a pleasure to work with this year and it gives us great hope going into next season."
The 2008-point's season has come to end, but there is one non-points race remaining on the streets of Surfers Paradise in Australia on October 26.