POSTSEASON DRIVER PROFILE: SAAVEDRA MARKS PROGRESS

By Dave Lewandowski
Published: Oct 22, 2014
Sebastian Saavedra, KV AFS Racing

The cast: Race engineer – Matt Curry
Race strategist – Gary Peterson
Chief mechanic – Ernie Barrameda

Twitter: @sebsaavedra, @kvracing

The car: No. 17 Chevrolet, Automatic Fire Sprinklers primary sponsor

The driver: Turned 24 on June 2. … Native of Colombia has made 56 Verizon IndyCar Series starts over five seasons. ... This was his first season with the team led by venture capitalist Kevin Kalkhoven, 1996 CART champion Jimmy Vasser and AFS Racing owner Gary Peterson.

 

Peterson, the founder of Automatic Fire Sprinklers, formed the team in 2002 and was its original driver in Indy Lights.

Season finish: Placed 21st in Verizon IndyCar Series standings – the same as 2013, which was his first full season in the series.

The gist: Saavedra was a few days shy of his 20th birthday when he made his first Verizon IndyCar Series in the Indianapolis 500 in 2010. He also was competing in Indy Lights that season. … He competed in 14 Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2011 with Conquest Racing and made three starts in 2012 with AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport while also competing in Indy Lights (fourth in the championship). ... Second-year teammate to four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais (at Dragon Racing in 2013).

Season stats: Saavedra earned his first career Verizon P1 Award for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and followed by advancing 17 positions relative to his qualifying spot to finish personal best 15th in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. … He kicked off the season with 11th place start/finish at St. Petersburg and followed with a season-best finish of ninth at Long Beach, advancing 13 positions. … Led two races for total of 14 laps – his first races led in the series – and was running at the finish in 13 of the 18 races.... Overall, he was in positive territory of finishing position relative to qualifying (chart below).

Year over year: 2013 best qualifying sixth (17.7 average), best finish eighth (18.3 average) in 19 races. 2014 best start first (17.2 average), best finish ninth (16.9 average) in 18 races.

Video: Sebastian Saavedra reviews his season

He said it: “It was a great experience (to work with Jimmy Vasser and Sebastien Bourdais). (The lack) of yellow flags just shows the great quality of drivers that the IndyCar Series has and the great effort that we're all doing to help keep it up. So it's going to be interesting with what's going to come with the series in the next years."

The chart (below): Looking at how Saavedra finished relative to his qualifying position:

Click image to download the hi-res infographic

10202014 Tag Heuer Award Sebastian Saavedra

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