Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

Saavedra Leaves Iowa Victorious

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted June 21, 2010 at 10:26 am Indy Lights

Sebastian Saavedra
(photo: Ryan – Junior Open Wheel Talent)

Sebastian Saavedra earned the first career pole for Bryan Herta’s Indy Lights team Bryan Herta Autosport on Saturday afternoon in Newton, Ia.  Later that evening, in front of a large crowd, Saavedra drove from flag-to-flag to win his first race of the 2010 season. It was his third career Indy Lights win.

“It was a lot of pressure,” said Saavedra. “My car was really good. It was something I will never forget.”

In addition to dealing with lap traffic in Saturday’s race, Saavedra – like other drivers- was forced to deal with the infamous Turn 1-2 bump over the tunnel area.

“The bump is there for everyone, it’s never easy” said Saavedra. “You never feel comfortable going over the bump at these speeds. I tried to take the same line through the turn every lap and hit the bump exactly the same; unfortunately, every lap is different. I worked throughout the weekend to get comfortable with the bump and predict what the car would do.”

Martin Plowman logged a career-best finish of second place, trailing Saavedra by 0.482 when the checkered flag waved on Lap 115. His previous best occurred at Barber Motorsports Park, where he finished fourth.  Saavedra had close to a three second lead in the race but with lap traffic in play, Plowman was able to close the gap in the waning laps.

“I felt like I had the car to match him [Saavedra],” said Plowman. “The car very solid but the handling started to go away as the race wore on. I spent the last 30-40 laps just chasing him down. I was constantly fighting to get the balance right with my in-car controls. The whole race was ebb-and-flow with Saavedra.  I would gain a little and then he would pull away.”

JK Vernay, who leads the Indy Lights championship, finished third, just 1.36 seconds back.  It was the 22-year-old Frenchman’s first time racing on a short oval.  His only previous oval start occurred last month at Indianapolis for the Freedom 100.

“I’m very happy with today’s race,” said Vernay. “The goal is to fight for the title and win the championship. We can’t win every race, we just have to be focused and smart until the end of the year.  After this race, I know I can be quick on an oval. I’m still a novice on this type of track and have a lot to learn.”

Adrian Campos Jr., driving for Team Moore, ran a very impressive race. Campos finished fourth in Saturday race.  His previous best was 10th, which occurred at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Campos’ teammate James Hinchcliffe earned the hard charger award by advancing from ninth to fifth in the 115-lap event.

During the opening lap of the race Charlie Kimball – who was second in the drivers’ championship – spun, impacting the wall in Turn 2. He now trails Vernay by 23 points in the overall championship.  The drivers return to action in two weeks for the Watkins Glen race on the Fourth of July.

Make the jump for photos and complete results.

Indy Lights
Iowa Speedway-2010

JK Vernay at Speed Saturday in Iowa
(photo: Ryan – Junior Open Wheel Talent)

Plowey Getting Set for Indy Lights Qualifying at Iowa
(photo: Ryan – Junior Open Wheel Talent)
Adrian Campos Jr. Finished a Career-Best Fourth at Iowa Speedway
(photo: Ryan – Junior Open Wheel Talent)

Indy Lights: Post Qualifying at Iowa Speedway
(photo: Ryan – Junior Open Wheel Talent)
Sebastian Saavedra Enters Pit Lane During Saturday’s Practice
(photo: Ryan – Junior Open Wheel Talent)

Saavedra stands atop the podium with Plowman left and Vernay right
(photo: Ryan – Junior Open Wheel Talent)

Indy Lights Podium
(photo: Ryan – Junior Open Wheel Talent)

Iowa Speedway-2010
Indy Lights
Complete Results

  1. Sebastian Saavedra
  2. Martin Plowman
  3. J.K. Vernay
  4. Adrian Campos Jr.
  5. James Hinchcliffe
  6. Philip Major
  7. Stefan Wilson
  8. Pippa Mann
  9. Dan Clarke
  10. Rodrigo Barbosa
  11. Gustavo Yacaman
  12. Brandon Wagner
  13. Charlie Kimball

One Comment

  1. Doug on June 21, 2010 2:34 pm

    I really dig the shot of the FIL grid from behind. That’s an excellent shot.

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