Blog: Podium Finish Under the Lights in Kentucky

Kentucky Speedway would be an action filled event. The weekend started out great for the Andretti Green/AFS Racing team and my team-mate and I would end up first and second in both of the practice sessions with me taking the honors of being P1 in the first session and Matos in the second. Qualifying was a disappointment for me, as I would wind up in third as Matos claimed his fourth pole of the year. Championship rival Ana Beatriz would line up second and Dillion Battistini would line up along side of me in fourth.

Our event was held after the IndyCar race at 9pm and the electricity of night racing was a big adrenalin boost, my left knee which I had surgery on two weeks ago didn't hurt a bit.

Leading up to the green flag Matos and I were the only cars on slick tires because we qualified on a used sets and with the cool temperatures we were desperately trying to get heat into them before the green flag dropped.

The initial start was great and I was alongside second place Ana Beatriz and moved up the track to make her turn in later but I left the door open on the bottom and Battistini made a late move that surprised me and three wide we went into the first corner for second place. The sticker tires started sliding and I had to back out. Battistini would get by Matos as well as our tires came up to temperature. The race was filled with so many close moments, getting around front row starter Ana Beatriz would be the most difficult. We touched tires at over 190 m.p.h. going into turn one and I came out ahead but some momentum was lost and her team-mate James Davidson went by, at this point I sat third.

The race progressed another Sam Schmidt car of Richard Antinucci came into the mix in the battle for the lead. The top four us in the closing stages of race were all so close together, I think I may have held my breath for laps at a time! Battistini protected the bottom and was too difficult to past and Davidson was hard to predict but I knew I could get by Antinucci. Then with a few laps to go I had a good run and I was able to get low on him into turn one and he held me close to the line but I was able to secure 3rd place where I would finish.

The championship battle continues and Kentucky was a good points night. I am currently tied for third with Kentucky winner Dillion Battistini 57 points back from Richard Antinucci. Team-mate Rafa Matos sits second after his 6th place finish just 4 points back.

With just three races remaining the next event at Infineon (Sonoma, California) will be crucial as it is a double race weekend.

Wish me luck!
    Arie Jr.

-credit: arieluyendykjr