Dempsey fast but unlucky in Fontana’s season finale

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Fontana, Calif. (September 17, 2012) – Peter Dempsey, driver of the No. 9 TruFuel / Belardi Auto Racing / Motorsport Ireland car, faced yet another weekend of highs and lows at the Firestone Indy Lights season finale at California’s Auto Club Speedway. Dempsey started the weekend with an engine change following the first practice session which presented a calculated risk for him and the Belardi Auto Racing team; he missed Friday’s noon qualifying which by default placed him last on the starting grid, but he then topped the final practice session later that afternoon. The exciting twist of events introduced a great shot for Dempsey to achieve a high finish in the race the next day.

Peter Dempsey, Belardi Auto Racing
Peter Dempsey, Belardi Auto Racing

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

The new boost of confidence (pun intended) sent the Irishman from 14th to fifth position by lap 15 of Saturday’s 100-mile race on the two-mile oval. Following the event’s second caution, Dempsey was issued a penalty for crossing the white line and jumping the restart. That same lap, Dempsey unluckily found himself caught in the middle of a three-way battle going into turn one, and unfortunately, he was involved in contact that left him with a burst oil cooler, flat tire and another early retirement in a race he was a contender for.

“Unfortunately, the race weekend didn’t turn out as we had hoped,” stated Dempsey. “We had some issues in the first practice session, but the TruFuel/Belardi Auto Racing guys were able to change the engine and get the car back on pace in time for the second practice. Being fastest in the final practice session gave us a great bit of confidence heading into the race. I knew it was going to be a tough task to make my way from the back to the front, but I was certainly up for the challenge.

“The race started off well, and I had a couple of great restarts, but then I got involved in contact in turn one after about fifteen laps. It was a racing incident, but unfortunately, it put us out of race.

“Overall, it was a solid weekend, and we were very competitive. The Belardi Auto Racing team did a great job. I want to thank them for giving me the chance to drive the No. 9 TruFuel/Belardi Auto Racing car this season. It’s been a great opportunity for me, and they really have a great group of people on their team. I’d also like to thank my personal sponsors, Motorsport Ireland for their continued support and HMS Motorsport for their support this season. Now, we are heading into the off-season, so I’m going to be training hard and working hard on getting 2013 sorted out. Hopefully I can make a return to the No. 9 Belardi Auto Racing car sooner rather than later!”

Dempsey has already turned his focus to the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights Championship where he hopes to run a full season and be a fierce competitor for both the championship title and the Mazda Road to scholarship to advance to the Indy IZOD IndyCar Series in 2014.

Source: Peter Dempsey Racing

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About this article
Series INDYLIGHTS
Article type Race reports
Tags belardi, dempsey, fontana, indylights