CONQUEST RACING DRIVERS LEARN LESSONS AT THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH ROMANCINI REMAINS ATOP THE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR POINTS Long Beach, CA (April 20, 2010) - Conquest Racing drivers Mario Romancini and Bertrand Baguette both got their...
CONQUEST RACING DRIVERS LEARN LESSONS AT THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH
ROMANCINI REMAINS ATOP THE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR POINTS
Long Beach, CA (April 20, 2010) - Conquest Racing drivers Mario Romancini and Bertrand Baguette both got their initial IZOD IndyCar Series exposure to the historic Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach over the weekend and head back to the shop in Indianapolis to prepare for Kansas Speedway rookie testing.
The Long Beach Grand Prix was Baguette's second race in the IZOD IndyCar Series and he continues to learn the characteristics of the cars and North American road racing. After starting 24th, Baguette was keeping pace with the field and getting a better understanding of what his car needed to help improve it for a charge to the front. The first pit stop included tires and a slight wing adjustment, which proved to be a positive change for the driver. However, Baguette's day ended on lap 45, when sparks began to fly due to a broken front suspension.
"It was a difficult race starting from the back," said Baguette. "I was following Mario (Romancini) closely at the beginning of the race but I struggled a bit on the red tires and we pitted early for the Firestone black tires. The blacks helped me increase the pace but I was blocked behind (Alex) Lloyd which slowed my progress toward the front and that's when we encountered the problem with the front suspension ending our race."
Mario Romancini also had an early end to his day. Romancini, who started the race in 23rd, had moved up to 16th amongst Sunday's competitive field before an incident at the braking of turn one with Graham Rahal brought his race to an end on lap 58.
"Coming into turn one, Rahal steered wide and broke earlier than I had expected" said Mario. "We were running quicker than he was and I was trying to get past him so we could continue moving toward the front and unfortunately we made contact."
Romancini had to make a split-second decision between slamming into the rear of the #67 car or attempting to avoid contact by pulling to the inside of the turn. Choosing the latter of the two, Romancini pulled in and pushed forward as Rahal came down into the turn and eventually the two cars made contact and ended up in the tire barrier, ending the race early for both drivers.
"Of course I am very disappointed," said Romancini of the incident. "Our strategy was working pretty well and we were having a great race. What happened today was a race accident, which sometimes happens. My crew did a great job and I want to thank them for that. Now we go to the ovals where we will hopefully be more lucky."
Both Conquest Racing crews will be preparing the cars for the first race oval race of the season to be help at Kansas Speedway. The team will head to Kansas for the rookie open test scheduled on Friday, April 23, followed by the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 on May 1 at Kansas Speedway.