Billy Asaro of Markham, Ontario, finished fourteenth in his Toyota Atlantic debut Saturday at Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca Raceway in California. The nineteen-year-old University of Toronto student drove the number 33 Western Union / ...
Billy Asaro of Markham, Ontario, finished fourteenth in his Toyota Atlantic debut Saturday at Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca Raceway in California. The nineteen-year-old University of Toronto student drove the number 33 Western Union / Bellville Rodair International car fielded by Duesenberg Brothers Racing.
"It was a test session for me, not really a race," said Asaro who had never been in a Toyota Atlantic car, or driven on the Laguna Seca circuit until Friday morning. "Everything was new to me so I didn't push. I kept the car well within its limits and tried to stay out of the way. I just wanted to learn as much as I could and get a feel for racing at this level."
Restraining his competitive nature for the weekend, Asaro approached each session conservatively. Following a practice and two qualifying sessions, Asaro was gridded fourteenth and started the race from the seventh row beside teammate Scott Jenkins in the other Western Union car. In driving to his fourteenth-place finish, Billy completed the full thirty laps of the race which was won by Californian Rocky Moran Jr.
After a successful season of US Formula 2000, in which he drove his Key Motorsports / Bellville Rodair International car to three wins and seven top-three finishes to win the Oval Crown Championship and take second in the National Championship, Asaro is ready to take a step up. The Toyota Atlantic series, a development series in the CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) ladder leading to Champ Cars, is an attractive option for next year.
"I'd be happy to race in this series next year," Asaro said. "There's a good pool of talent and everything looks pretty professional. I think it would a good step for my development.
"I wish I had more laps in the car because, even in the race, I was still working on getting up to speed," he reported. "But I was out there with drivers who have been racing these cars all year, so there's no way I was going to keep up with them. Still, I'm glad I was able to take advantage of this opportunity and I'm very grateful to Duesenberg Brothers Racing. Overall it was great... a real thrill. The only problem is, the season is over and now I'm all fired up again!"