Top-10 Finishes for Wilson and Saavedra in Freedom 100
After starting 12th and 13th on the grid for this afternoon's Firestone Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Bryan Herta Autosport drivers Sebastian Saavedra and Stefan Wilson both made solid progress to claim top-10 finishes.
Saavedra produced an impressive opening lap to move from 12th to 8th, while Wilson, making his very first start on an oval track, was content to take a conservative approach and bide his time in the early stages. Even so, by the time the day's first and only caution flag flew for an incident involving Jeff Simmons and Pippa Mann on Lap 3, Saavedra and Wilson were running 7th and 10th, respectively.
Wilson continued to make progress, passing Gustavo Yacaman for ninth place on Lap 22, then displacing his teammate Saavedra from eight on Lap 28, and finally moving around Brandon Wagner on the last but one lap to finish seventh.
Saavedra moved as high as sixth place on Lap 10 but struggled to match the pace of the leaders and fell to ninth by the conclusion of the 40-lap race.
Saavedra and Wilson maintain fifth and sixth place, respectively, in the championship.
Both Saavedra and the Bryan Herta Autosport team will now concentrate on preparations for their IZOD IndyCar Series debut in Sunday's Indianapolis 500. The Firestone Indy Lights Series cars will return to the track on June 20 at Iowa Speedway.
Stefan Wilson, #28 Dallara/Firestone: "It was a lot of fun. My first time on an oval, so quite daunting - I was a bit nervous going into it - but the effort we put in during the week to work on our race car paid off. We didn't have the perfect car but I was working on it in the cockpit, adjusting my bars and the weight-jacker, and just trying to dial in the car. We got to a point in the race where the car was balanced and I could work with it and was able to get the draft and move up some positions. It was a good day; it was good chunk of points for the championship. We never gave up and that's what we have to do for the rest of the season."
Sebastian Saavedra, #29 William Rast Dallara/Firestone: "It was for sure a great start. We were able to show our experience. It's a shame that we didn't have the setup that we required but it only means that we need to keep working as a team. The complete William Rast/Bryan Herta Autosport team is still quite new, it's only the team's second year, and we just need more time, but we know it will pay off because we have good people working very hard and we're ready to improve. We came away with a top-10 finish. That's what we need. At the end it's not about the shiny trophies you have at home, but it's about the big picture, and the big picture is the championship. We took some really good points out from [series leader JK] Vernay, and from now on, hopefully, we can start going to the top." Looking forward to Sunday's Indianapolis 500: "It's going to be very interesting. On our last practice on Carb Day I felt very comfortable with the car and in traffic, and I did my first pass, so I feel great and it gives me a lot of confidence of what the William Rast/Bryan Herta Autosport team can do. I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a lot of fun and I just can't wait until it arrives."