DETROIT (October 26) - Second generation PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship driver Rolando Quintanilla, of Nuevo Laredo Tamps, Mexico, will make his debut in CART's "Official Development Series" with Conquest Racing in this weekend's season-ending race at California Speedway.
Quintanilla, the 19-year-old son of former Indy Lights driver Roberto Quintanilla, completed a successful test with Conquest Monday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and will drive a third entry for the team in the 100-mile/50 lap race on the 2-mile superspeedway this weekend. Conquest finished second in the 1998 race at California with veteran Felipe Giaffone who is among the favorites for the win this year.
"Rolando did a great job at Las Vegas and should be right at home in California," said Conquest team owner Eric Bachelart, the 1991 Indy Lights champion, who was on hand to approve his new driver. "This will be his first race on a superspeedway but his experience on high-speed ovals is evident. He is smooth and takes one step at a time."
Quintanilla is a veteran of the U.S. Formula Ford 2000 series that frequently runs on oval tracks. He placed eighth in the championship this season with a pair of third-place finishes and seven top-10 showings. In addition to Ford 2000 competition in 1998, Quintanilla finished second in a field of 32 competitors in a Formula Mazda race at Las Vegas, his first big oval track event. He also has a variety of Formula Ford and Formula Continental regional and national club racing experience despite his young years.
"I am looking forward to racing in Indy Lights and picking up where my father left off in the early 1990s," said the younger Quintanilla. "I feel I am ready for this step in my career and knowing that I have a team as experienced as Conquest and Eric Bachelart to help will be a big plus."
Roberto Quintanilla, now retired, raced in Indy Lights from 1989 through 1991 and later returned for a final season in 1994. His best finish was third at Denver in 1991 where he shared the podium with Bachelart and race winner PJ Jones.
"I enjoyed racing against Roberto and he was one of the guys that made me feel welcome in the series when I first arrived here in 1990," Bachelart said. "It makes me feel a little old to now be running his son, but it is nice to have the Quintanillas back in the series."
Sponsorship for the Quintanilla effort comes from Telmex, Tecate and Quaker State and the car will resemble and carry the same number as the No. 40 Tecate/Quaker State Ford Cosworth Reynard Adrian Fernandez drives in the FedEx Championship Series. Additional sponsorship comes from Transportes Quintanilla and Roquin which the elder Quintanilla displayed on his race cars during his years in the series.
The California finale is the first time the three-year old Conquest team will field a trio of divers in a single Indy Lights race. Veteran mechanic Rob Stark will serve as the chief mechanic of Quintanilla's race car. Giaffone, who is fifth in the championship with 78 points, drives the Hollywood/Comet Lola. The team's second driver is American rookie Chris Menninga who runs the Cambridge Health/Mi-Jack Lola. Menninga is 13th in the championship with 41 points.
The California Speedway PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship race, which is presented by The Los Angeles Times, can be seen in same day coverage in a one-hour show on ESPN2 at 6:30 p.m. ET (3:30 p.m. PT) on Sunday, October 31.