Arie: End of the Year Blog What a Race and What a Year! Now that a few weeks have gone by I can reflect on a great Indy Lights season with Andretti-Green Racing. The last race in Chicago was magical and everything went our way! The weekend...
Arie: End of the Year Blog
What a Race and What a Year!
Now that a few weeks have gone by I can reflect on a great Indy Lights season with Andretti-Green Racing. The last race in Chicago was magical and everything went our way! The weekend started off with a great practice where I set the all time fastest lap recorded in an Indy Lights car at 194.332 m.p.h. Qualifying was a bit of a disappointment as I ended up 3rd on the grid behind my teammate Raphael Matos and Ana Beatriz.
The race played out perfectly and on the start I was able to move into second in the first corner. This was exactly what I had hoped for, now my teammate and me were in control of the race. Luck was on my side as championship rivals Dillion Battistini and J.R. Hildebrand crashed in separate incidents. This moved me up to 4th in the championship. Later in the race Richard Antinucci crashed trying to move his way up the field to contend with Matos for the championship. This locked up the championship for my teammate and things were really falling our way. The whole race I stayed under Rafa's wing protecting our 1-2 slot, no one could touch our pace and it was working out beautifully.
With 10 laps to go I got the call, "time to go!" from my engineer Stu Kenworthy, I knew I had to make a move. I tried the outside but aborted it quickly not to let anyone sneak to the inside. Then with 5 to go there was a crash and I almost felt my first win slip away yet again. The field would gather up for a green/white/checker. I knew I had to get a good re-start and I did just that moving to the inside, Rafa didn't expect it and I was able to hold the low line and hold off Ana Beatriz who made a move going into turn three. It felt great crossing the line for my first victory after so many near wins. What a perfect weekend for the team we could not have dreamed of a better end to the season.
This year with Andretti Green Racing has been great experience for me. I finally know how it feels to be with a first class operation and with a little luck we could have been in title contention heading into Chicago. I had a great teammate in Raphael Matos we learned a lot from each other. Battling back from knee surgery was really demanding and I couldn't be more moved by the fact that my team stayed confident in me. Infineon was the most difficult weekend of my career, I felt so helpless because my knee was holding back my pace and it was unbelievably painful. Going in Infineon I sat 3rd in points but after that bad weekend we slipped out of contention. There were many more positives than negatives though and this year I collected 5 podiums finishes, a pole position, led three races and capped off the season with a victory. The year was great for me because I think I proved to a lot of people how hard I was willing to work and how competitive I was week in and week out. For me personally my trophy case is a little fuller and my eyes are a bit wider looking to move forward, I want to make it to the IndyCar Series and I'll be working hard this winter to work towards that goal!
Until next time,