Rookie Simona De Silvestro Has a Successful Debut at Indianapolis 500
Despite Record High Temperature, She Finishes 14th
SPEEDWAY, IN - (May 31, 2010) With hundreds of thousands seated in the grandstands, Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing rookie driver Simona De Silvestro arrived at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway looking to have a successful debut for the 94th annual running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing". As the cars began arriving on track for pre-race activities, the temperature soared above 90 degrees signifying a long and hot race. However the young rookie, who qualified in the 22nd position, was not about to let the sweltering weather get in the way of her debut.
As the green flag waved, Simona powered her #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy/Entergy car around the track and immediately began picking up spots. Slotting herself in the 20th position, Simona began pacing around the 2.5 mile circuit at competitive speeds. While only her 2nd oval race, her performance did not show her lack of experience on these types of circuits. Throughout the race Simona hovered between the 13th and 22nd spots. She made a total of 5 pit stops on laps 36, 67, 109, 143, and 163. The 3 hour and 5 minute race wasn't without its scary moments. On lap # 150, while attempting to pass Simona on the outside, Brazilian Vitor Meira made contact with the turn #2 wall in front of De Silvestro. Escaping unscathed, Simona put her focus on the last 50 laps of the race. With one lap left to go, Simona battled for position with the car ahead and passed him for the 13th position as he ran out of fuel, but the caution had just come out for Mike Conway's horrific crash and therefore De Silvestro would end up being classified 14th. Simona's respectable finish represents the best finish for a Swiss driver since Clay Regazzoni raced in the Indy 500 in 1977 when he finished 30th.
For Simona, the race, while taking a physical toll on her, provided another opportunity to gain valuable knowledge that will serve her in her future ovals, including next week's Firestone 550k Weekend at the Texas Motorsport Speedway.
Simona De Silvestro, Driver No. 78 - "This was the craziest race I have ever done! I am happy where we ended up and I am honored to have competed in this truly historic race. I am extremely proud and grateful for the Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing crew and personnel. Everyone has worked so hard this month and I am glad we were able to race to a 14th place finish. I'm also glad that we had a great race in front of the Nuclear Clean Air Energy and Entergy guests this weekend as well. My thoughts are now on Texas and I'm looking forward to our night race there!"
Keith Wiggins, HVM Racing Team Principal - "Great result for Simona and the team. We completed all 500 miles and finished on the lead lap. A true testament of Simona's ability and attitude as a rookie in her first Indy 500. A good month of May for the entire team."
Imran Safiulla, Team Stargate Worlds Principal - "This was a truly fantastic result. The team has done a tremendous job all month and Simona has rewarded us all with a very strong performance. She was able to complete all 200 laps and this was a great achievement for our young rookie; she has shown that she belongs in this very competitive field. I would like to thank all our sponsors for their continued support and belief in our program."
-source: tsw/hvm racing