RICHARD ANTINUCCI QUALIFIES IN THE TOP 5 AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI FOR FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS OPENER The Italian-American posts best speed among Sam Schmidt Motorsports drivers at South Florida speedway. Brazilian Raphael Matos grabs first pole. & ...
RICHARD ANTINUCCI QUALIFIES IN THE TOP 5 AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI FOR FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS OPENER
The Italian-American posts best speed among Sam Schmidt Motorsports drivers at South Florida speedway. Brazilian Raphael Matos grabs first pole.
■ HOMESTEAD, FL. -- 23 cars took the track yesterday evening at Homestead-Miami oval for the first Firestone Indy Lights qualifying. Richard Antinucci was the first to make a qualifying run in his group, setting the mark at 185.993 mph (299.326 kph). After all was said and done the effort proved good enough for a Top 5 spot, and today the San Diego-based driver will make his debut on an oval track event starting from the inside of Row 3, next to the second best Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver, Brazilian Ana Beatriz. Another Brazilian, Raphael Matos, who had been very quick in pre-season testing. The Andretti Green/AFS driver basically grabbed the pole position courtesy of an impressive and unsurpassed initial lap which took only 28.4906 to complete.
■ Antinucci substantially raised his game in the evening qualifying compared to his practice effort. His best lap in the warmer morning and afternoon sessions was worth the combined 11th place (28.9874, avereage speed 184.425). In qualifying the #7 red and white Dallara has picked a spot in front of several experienced oval-track racers, therefore the Rome-born driver was feeling confident of a strong points finish in today's race: "To be honest I don't know what to expect really given that it's my first oval race, and furthermore the first race of the championship for everyone. Taking into account that this is the strongest Firestone Indy Lights field ever, starting in the Top 5 is far from bad. Today I will just focus on doing my best, and start off the year with a pretty decent points haul."