19TH PLACE -- AND SOME SHINING MOMENTS -- SEAL RICHARD ANTINUCCI'S DEBUT RACE AT WATKINS GLEN The Novicomm LED Lighting Technology/CURB/Agajanian/Team 3G Italian-American driver sets fastest lap among rookies at road course, and is confirmed for...
19TH PLACE -- AND SOME SHINING MOMENTS -- SEAL RICHARD ANTINUCCI'S DEBUT RACE AT WATKINS GLEN
The Novicomm LED Lighting Technology/CURB/Agajanian/Team 3G Italian-American driver sets fastest lap among rookies at road course, and is confirmed for upcoming IndyCar rounds at Toronto and Edmonton
Richard Antinucci started today's IndyCar round at the historic upstate New York venue from the outside of Row 10, and was immediately able to move up a couple of spots to take 18th at the end of the opening lap. The 28-year old behind the wheel of his #98 Novicomm LED Lighting Technology/CURB/Agajanian/Team 3G car quickly adjusted to the pace of fellow rookie Rapahel Matos, who was sitting on the spot ahead of him. The San Diego resident was able to match the effort of the Brazilian lap after lap in the spell which led to the first round of pit stop. Fully absorbed in this duel --they both clocked laps in the range of lower 1m32s-- the former Firestone Indy Lights arch-rivals pair steadily made up ground, and when Antinucci pitted for the first time on Lap 17, the Rome, Italy-born driver he had climbed to an unexpected 13th place. After the pit stop Antinucci was trailing Canadian Paul Tracy, but on Lap 18 at Turn 1 his Dallara-Honda went into a spin. When the car made it back into the pits the Team 3G crew was able to fix the front upright that had triggered the problem and Antinucci resumed the race pushing hard until the chequered flag, that he took in 19th position.
"Although we don't have been able to claim a stunning Top 3 or a glittering Top 5 to reward our effort I feel happy about myself and the way the team has worked this July 4 weekend. I had a good start and didn't have to take excessive risks to keep Rafa Matos' pace. On the contrary, I could push hard and didn't give him any breathing room when I was trailing him, perhaps that's why he roughed me a tad on Lap 7 pushing me off a kerb. But before the first pit stop I was again stuck on his rear wing. Sadly on Lap 18 a front upright had a failure and I deem myself lucky that this happened at Turn 1, where you have some real room to minimize the outcome of these bad breaks. The guys put me back on track but 13 laps down, and I could only focus on pushing as hard as I could. The car felt fine, therefore I steadily improved until the end and actually I posted a couple of laps under the 1m32s in my last and next-to-last lap. On alternate tyres we were fast and the #98 was also handling well the wear of the red tyres, something that not all the cars managed to do. This confirmed what I had felt after final practice, that our work on the front end of the car was in the right direction. 19th is not the place I was shooting for on Saturday, but my fastest lap was way better than that, rather in the range of a Top 8, and on a clear lap we could possibly post a Top 6 lap, both in practice and in the race. I have to add that Team 3G must share my opinion, since Greg and Steve will offer me a chance to prove just that in the upcoming IndyCar Canadian rounds, and I cannot find enough words to say them: 'thank for that'."