Alan Sciuto Racing: Sunday in Sin City April 8, 2007 (Las Vegas, Nev.) -- Expectations were high within Alan Sciuto Racing as dawn fell on Easter morning in Las Vegas. The first two days of competition for the team on the downtown circuit had...
Alan Sciuto Racing: Sunday in Sin City
April 8, 2007 (Las Vegas, Nev.) -- Expectations were high within Alan Sciuto Racing as dawn fell on Easter morning in Las Vegas. The first two days of competition for the team on the downtown circuit had left the team optimistic, but myriad teething problems as well as unfortunate timing during qualifying had left the team 11th on the starting grid for Sunday's race.
Considering that the Las Vegas Grand Prix was Alan Sciuto Racing's first race, having only been formed in the days prior to the event -- meaning no testing and no shaking down of the team's Swift .016 -- their starting position was a remarkable showing, and Sciuto had shown some serious speed during Saturday. He reinforced that notion with a P5 showing in the Sunday morning warmup.
The frantic start of the race saw Sciuto jump up from his 11th qualifying position to P8. Between all of the yellow flags, Sciuto was alternately battling for position with Giacomo Ricci, Junior Strous, and John Edwards -- in fact, Sciuto and Edwards passed and repassed each other a few times before Edwards made contact with the wall on lap 13. While the leaders battled for position, Sciuto stayed at the end of the train of front runners, unable to make a move on the cars ahead of him due to a bent tie-rod the he received during the first lap madness.
Sciuto narrowly missed being caught up in the turn three crash that eliminated five cars on lap thirteen. On the last restart, following the lengthy yellow for the five-car incident in turn three, Sciuto fell to P9 when he was passed by Ricci. It was later discovered that Sciuto's trap speed was 4mph slower than those around him, and his engine was a bit off song.
On the last lap, however, Sciuto avoided yet another crash when J.R. Hildebrand found the turn 9 wall and was collected by Ricci, as well as others who were trailing Sciuto. Thus, Alan Sciuto's team ended their first weekend as a team in seventh place, ten seconds behind winner Raphael Matos.
"Seventh place wasn't the result that we were looking for, but between having a problem with our engine, and the car having a push after we had contact with Edwards on the first lap, it turned out okay.
"I'm still not sure how I missed Hildebrand. He was in the air and there wasn't much room between him and the wall, and I drove under his wing. Before that, I was the first car through when we had that big crash in turn three. There was a lapped car that crashed everyone and I thought we were going to get caught up in that too, but we made it out alright -- even though I'm not really sure how we did!
"Overall, I'm happy with how the weekend turned out for us. We didn't get the result that I think the team could have, but I think Gerald Tyler and I have worked out a good setup for Long Beach. We'll be looking for a good result there, and hopefully we'll be ahead of all the crazy things that tend to happen mid-pack."