SPARTA, KY Sep 4--Hope was dashed against the walls of Kentucky Speedway Saturday night. Vitor Meira's run for another strong finish in the ABC Supply car ended when he tangled with Simona DeSilvestro while lapping her in the Kentucky Indy ...
SPARTA, KY Sep 4--Hope was dashed against the walls of Kentucky Speedway Saturday night.
Vitor Meira's run for another strong finish in the ABC Supply car ended when he tangled with Simona DeSilvestro while lapping her in the Kentucky Indy 300.
Meira, who had started 12th, was running in the top 12 in the early stages of the race, saying the car was running a little free or loose. Around lap 35, he began moving forward, saying the car's balance was good and his lap speeds increased from 215mph to consistent 217s and 218s. By the end of the stint, he had advanced to eighth and as the green flag pit stop cycles began he was sixth.
Pitting a lap or two earlier than the leaders, Meira's crew serviced the No. 14 car in 7.7 seconds. When the pit stops had cycled out, he was ninth and edged past Ryan Briscoe for eighth. They came upon DeSilvestro on lap 80 and split around her going down the backstretch with Meira taking the inside groove. As they approached turn three, DeSilvestro moved to the inside hitting Meira and both cars spun and hit the wall, collecting Briscoe in the accident. No one was injured but all three cars sustained heavy damage.
"First of all I want to point out the good things," said Meira afterwards. "The car was good, we were running strong and moving to the front and we were trying to take our time. But unfortunately that is oval racing. When I had to choose a side, I chose the inside hoping that the car in front of me that I was passing -- Simona--knew I was there. The last third of the straightaway I was on the inside and was hoping that Simona would get the message [from her spotter]. The first thing I asked her got into the car to head to the care center was if she heard from her spotter that I was there on the inside. It seems really strange that I was there completely and wheel to wheel with her car and she kept coming and coming to the inside. I don't know if it was communicated to her or not.
"It was an unfortunate day for AJ Foyt and ABC Racing because they gave me a good car. It drafted real good and it handled real good. By the end of 20 laps of each stint I think we had to be one of the fastest cars. It's unfortunate we got taken out at that stage of the race by a lapped car. I would have understood if it was for position but it was a lapped car. And I think she was more than one lap behind so it was a misfortunate. But I choose to look at the good things. The car was very good and we're going to have two good races ahead of us so it's my job to make the best of it."
Helio Castroneves, who was running 10th with seven laps to go, won the milestone 200th IndyCar race through fuel strategy as the leaders had to pit for a splash of fuel at the end. Second through fifth were: Carpenter, Dan Wheldon, Tony Kanaan and Dario Franchitti.
The team will head to Indy to pack up the cars and equipment to be shipped to Twin Ring Motegi in Japan.