Arie's blog - Indy Lights: Miami 100 Homestead/Miami Speedway was the scene of the first event for the Indy Lights Series in 2008. With no time to test before the season I was admittedly a bit nervous of how things would go this weekend.
Arie's blog - Indy Lights: Miami 100
Homestead/Miami Speedway was the scene of the first event for the Indy Lights Series in 2008. With no time to test before the season I was admittedly a bit nervous of how things would go this weekend. Everyone AFS/Andretti Green Racing made the weekend very easy for me to climb back into the Dallara/Infiniti I am so used to, the team was very motivated to get both cars to the front.
The practice sessions went pretty well right off the bat and I was able to run 5th in the first session just a bit slower than team-mate Raphael Matos who came in 4th. The car was understeering so badly that I was really surprised we were that high up, but it seemed everyone was struggling. The next session we started working on our qualifying set-up and this is where I felt we may not be as strong as some of the other cars. The stage was set and now we went on to qualifying.
Qualifying was at night and I was sixth out in the ever changing conditions. I put together a good first lap but the speed slowed down by a few tenths on the second lap (qualifying based on the average of the two laps) and in the end we qualified 11th, I was definitely disappointed and felt we should of been closer to my team-mate who clinched pole. Never the less I was determined we could move up in the race.
Race day was warm and the conditions were going to effect grip level so we went with a little more downforce than we normally would have. The start spread out the field a bit but I was able to move up from 11th to 3rd in just 13 laps on the fast 1.5 mile oval. As everyone settled in I started to suffer from a large understeer and I ran out of adjustment very quickly. I dropped from the lead group and was doing everything to hold on! I've never experienced an understeer that bad on a 1.5 mile oval. I eventually faded to 9th and was praying for a caution to get me back to the lead group and cool my tires.
Finally came the caution I was hoping for on lap 50 of 67. I didn't even try to keep my tires warm behind the pace car and on the restart I moved up to 7th. Shortly after another incident happened and we were under caution again with just 8 laps to go. This time I was ready because I knew the cars understeer was under control for at least a few laps until the tires warmed up and it would come back, so I was determined to get a good restart. The green flagged waved and I pushed my way through to go from 7th to 3rd driving on the outside. Coming to the white flag I was 3rd but 4th was closing fast and unfortunately coming off the last corner the understeer go the best of me and I couldn't hold off Panther Racing's Brent Sherman as I lost 3rd by .05 of a second.
My team-mate and I struggled all day with understeer but in the end I was pleased with the top-5 result. It's a log 16 race season and ever point will count in the run for the Championship. Now we are off to test at Sebring before AGR's home race of St. Petersburg, Florida next weekend. This weekend will be very important because it is a two race event and has a big impact on the Championship, so wish me luck! the Indy Lights Series
-credit: Arie Luyendyk Jr.