Long Beach: de Ferran Luczo Dragon Racing race report

WITH ONLY ONE CAUTION RAPHAEL MATOS UNABLE TO MAKE UP GROUND AND FINISHES 20TH IN 36TH ANNUAL TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH LONG BEACH (April 18, 2010) - For the first time during the 2010 IZOD IndyCar season, Raphael Matos was unable to make...

WITH ONLY ONE CAUTION RAPHAEL MATOS UNABLE TO MAKE UP GROUND AND FINISHES 20TH IN 36TH ANNUAL TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH

LONG BEACH (April 18, 2010) - For the first time during the 2010 IZOD IndyCar season, Raphael Matos was unable to make up any track positions during a race and finished 20th in the 36th running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Ryan Hunter-Reay posted his first win of the season, topping Justin Wilson and Will Power.

Starting 18th for the second consecutive race, the Luczo Dragon/de Ferran Motorsports team tried to shake things up by coming in early during the first pit window, but with only one caution flag the entire 85 laps the strategy was unsuccessful in moving Matos up.

"It was a disappointing day for the #2 HP Luczo Dragon car," co-owner and race strategist Jay Penske said. "Rafa ran a smart race and we were pleased to see him run some of the fastest laps in the race. There just weren't enough passing opportunities or yellows for us to take advantage."

During the last 20 laps of the race, Matos kept pace with the leaders, turning in the fourth fastest lap of the day at 1:11.0052 on lap 79. Only the top three finishers had better lap times throughout.

"It's really a shame that we struggled in qualifying because we had a very competitive car, especially in the end," Matos said. "The track really came to us and we were running with the leaders. When you start in the back here you have to take strategic risks because it's just so difficult to pass. Unfortunately our strategy didn't work, but that's how it goes."

Despite qualifying a career-best third in Long Beach last year, the LDR/DFM team struggled to land the proper balance Saturday for the qualifying session and started 18th. In an attempt to make up some ground, Matos made his first pit stop on lap 22, seven laps before leader Will Power came in, then hoped for an early yellow. It didn't come. Only one yellow flag waved all day and that came on lap 60 with the field already settled.

"We were definitely expecting something to happen," Matos said. "We figured there would be at least one more yellow, but today was a little unusual."

Despite the low finish, Matos lost only one position in the championship standings and now ranks ninth with 84 points.

-source: de ferren motorsports

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Will Power
Teams Dragon Racing