Unlucky End for Saavedra in Race One

Submitted by on Monday, 30 June 2014 13:11


By Kevin Diamond

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 28, 2014 - KV AFS Racing's Sebastian Saavedra had an unlucky ending to what should have been his first top-five IndyCar finish today in Race 1 of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers.

Qualifying for what was scheduled to be a 90-lap race was this morning and Saavedra went out in the second group. The No. 17 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc. - KV AFS Racing Chevrolet/Dallara/Firestone turned a best lap of 60.4724 seconds on the 1.634-mile, 10-turn temporary street circuit, which put him 20th on the grid for Race 1. 

Shortly before the start of the race the heavens opened and the race was declared a wet start and went from being a 90-lap race to a timed 1 hour 50 minute race. Despite being extremely wet the third standing start of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season went off without a hitch. Saavedra initially lost a few positions, but quickly fought back and pitted while in 13th place just as the first yellow came out on lap 29. The track by now was drying rapidly and now equipped with used red tires he rejoined the field. Unfortunately, it didn't quite go as planned and soon after he was back in the pits for a front nose change coming back out now in 19th place. Over the course of the next 25 laps, there were three more yellows and each time Saavedra would stop for a splash of fuel and rejoin the race. By being able to run further than other drivers, he was able to stay out when the majority of the field pitted under caution, and on the fourth restart was fifth with 19 laps to go. Saavedra began to challenge Tony Kanaan, who was in fourth, and six laps later had passed him. Saavedra was staring at his IndyCar career first top-five finish, however shortly thereafter Ryan Briscoe punted his left rear, causing Saavedra to spin and stall with five laps to go. The yellow was brought out again and once Saavedra had been restarted he was back down to 15th where he remained until the checkered flag.


"It was a crazy race. I am very sad because the result does not show what an amazing car we had. We were very strong in the wet, making a lot of passes when the conditions were at there worst. With a great strategy and fantastic pit stops by the Automatic Fire Sprinklers - KV AFS Racing crew we were able to get up front. Unfortunately at the end, I got taken out by Ryan Briscoe while looking to have a top-five or better finish. I'm disappointed, we came from so far back in the field and worked so hard that we deserve a lot better. We have a good car and just need to re-group for tomorrow. Big congratulations on the Colombian 1, 2, 3 finish today and of course in the World Cup with Colombia winning their game, which is huge for my country...I wish I could be there!" 


This was Saavedra's third start at NRG Park. Last year, he had a best finish of 12th in Race 2 and a best start of 19th in Race 1. He picked up 15 points today and sits 21st in the championship standings with 153 points. Qualifications for Race 2 will take place tomorrow at 10 a.m. CT and Saavedra will be in group one. Each group will get 12 minutes of track time to set the starting lineup.


The 24-year-old from Bogotá, Colombia, has been among the youngest drivers in nearly every series he has competed in. He joined the Firestone Indy Lights just before his 19th birthday and that year was awarded Rookie of the Year Honors with AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport. He moved to Bryan Herta Autosport for 2010 where he made his Indianapolis 500 debut becoming the third Colombian driver to do so. Saavedra then stepped up to the IndyCar Series in 2011 with Conquest Racing before returning to Indy Lights in 2012. Last year he spent the entire season back in IndyCar with Dragon Racing.


Race 2 of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston will be broadcast live on NBCSports at 2:00 p.m. (CT) June 29th. IMS IndyCar Radio can be heard on Sirius 213 and XM 209, check local listings for your local station, or listen at or on the Verizon Indy2014 app.




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