Conquest Racing enters 15th season of competition at St. Petersburg
INDIANAPOLIS (March 24, 2011) – Conquest Racing is entering its 15th season of professional racing this year, kicking off its season with this weekend’s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Driving for the team in what will be its 10th year in a major open-wheel racing series – Conquest’s first five years were spent in the Indy Lights series - will be rookie driver Sebastian Saavedra.
Throughout its history, the team has been known to give young up and coming drivers a chance to make it to the big leagues and Conquest is keeping up that tradition once again this year.
Saavedra, will be making his third start in the IZOD IndyCar Series this weekend, but his first on a street course.
Although it will mark the first time the Colombian drives an Indy car at St. Petersburg, he is no stranger to the track, having participated in three races on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary street course in Firestone Indy Lights. Saavedra registered a best finish of second in 2009 after starting from pole position.
“I can’t wait to get in the car on Friday for the first practice session. I’m really looking forward to my first race on a street course in the IZOD IndyCar Series,” shared Saavedra, who will be driving the #34 Dallara/Honda/Firestone Conquest Racing machine.
“We had a good test a few weeks ago at Sebring and again at Barber so I’m confident going into the first race of the season. I don’t want to create expectations for myself because the level of competition in the series is very high and I know it won’t be easy. I just have to focus on myself and soak up as much experience as possible, all while doing the best I can.”
Conquest Racing has also offered some strong performances on the streets of St. Petersburg. The first came in 2003 in the Champ Car World Series. That season the team qualified sixth and finished fourth with driver Mario Haberfeld.
When making its return to the IndyCar Series, and St. Petersburg, in 2008, Conquest finished an impressive fifth with Enrique Bernoldi before suffering bad luck in 2009 with Alex Tagliani, where they did however manage to score the second fastest race lap on their way to a 10th place result.
A new charitable partner Great Explorations Children’s Museum of St. Petersburg has been designated as the beneficiary of Conquest’s charitable recognition program, allowing a non-profit organization to be highlighted during the kick-off race for the IZOD IndyCar Series. The Museum’s logo will be visible on the #34 car of Saavedra.
“We are thrilled to be chosen for Conquest Racing’s charitable designation program and to be taking part in this exciting race in downtown St. Petersburg. Families enjoy this annual event just as they enjoy coming to Great Explorations, and we are deeply appreciative of the recognition of the Museum by Conquest Racing. The Great Explorations logo will be prominently displayed on the car, and the Museum will be cheering him on,” says Alan Kahle, Executive Director.
After the race, Great Explorations plans to exhibit pictures of the Conquest Racing’s team, car, and driver in the Museum, located at 1925 4th Street N in St. Petersburg.