After a solid weekend at the Glen, I was looking forward to getting back on the oval at Nashville Superspeedway. After my heartbreak race in Iowa I was definitely looking for some redemption and felt like we could be the car to beat going into the...
After a solid weekend at the Glen, I was looking forward to getting back on the oval at Nashville Superspeedway. After my heartbreak race in Iowa I was definitely looking for some redemption and felt like we could be the car to beat going into the event. This years race may be the last time Nashville hosts an IndyCar Series event as the series moves to more road/street courses in 2009.
In an Indy Lights car Nashville is one of our toughest oval tracks because we run low downforce and the concrete surfaces mixed with the hot humid weather makes for a slippery track. Even though the track is just over 1.2 long, it is difficult to run flat out for more than a few laps and in the race its nearly impossible.
Practice 1 went well and I started off the weekend in P2, Jeff Simmons topped the charts but I was confident we would shine in qualifying. In the second practice I fell to 6th but was less than a tenth off of first place, after this I knew we would have to be spot on for qualifying!
We made some small changes and pulled into line and in the end I posted an average speed just below 180 m.p.h. on the concrete oval, just one tenth a lap off of pole. I was a bit disappointed because I knew it would be hard to pass.
The race was delayed on Saturday because of rain but before I knew it we had to jump in our suits and race to the grid. The temperature was so hot and the humidity was typical Nashville, I knew it would be a battle. The start was crazy everyone in front of me was sideways coming to the green, Matos my team-mate started 4th and spun just in front of me. This slowed me a bit and Simmons made a pass on me into turn one. The race wore on and the gamble my team made of running max downforce paid off and I started climbing back, making a pass on the outside going into turn one. Simmons and Battistini touched and I narrowly missed Battisitni. Simmons was black flagged and I moved up to third. The race went green for a long period of time and I set fast lap after fast lap catching the top two. Once I got to second place Bobby Wilson, the "aero push" was too much and it was too hard to make a move and I ended the 77 lap race in third.
Another podium and a good race for the points chase. I currently sit 5th, just 52 points out of first. I was happy with the finish and I think if I could have started on the front row then I may have walked away with a victory but this just tells me we as a team need to get every hundredth we can in qualifying. When the top 5 are separated by a tenth it really shapes the outcome of the race. Now I switch back to a road course event at Mid-Ohio where I tested very well, so I am looking forward to this weekend!
Until next time,
-credit: arie luyendyk jr