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Firestone Indy Lights: AvoidTheStork.com 100

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  AvoidTheStork.com 100

Firestone Indy Lights: AvoidTheStork.com 100

Sebastian Saavedra
June 19, 2010


THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much and congratulations on tonight's finish. Now we have Sebastian Saavedra here with us. He won the Firestone Indy Lights "AvoidTheStork.com 100" race here tonight. Sebastian, it's your first win in 2010 here and it's your third career start. Take me through your race tonight. You started on the pole and ran strong all night.
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA: It was beautiful. I couldn't have asked for anything better because our car was great all week long. I think the crew for Bryan Herta Autosport, they were incredible and as we expected the car was going to be there, and halfway through the race on the second restart I was -- we knew exactly what was going to happen, and we just pull the speed, our pace was consistent, and that's what we were looking for.
We made some adjustments inside the cockpit as the temperature was getting down here in Iowa, and I'm glad. Last year we had some bad luck here in Iowa, and this year everything came true and I'm happy about it.
THE MODERATOR: You mentioned the temperature. You guys had practice and qualifying today. How does that play into tonight's race with basically finishing under the stars?
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA: It's true, and more than anything our session yesterday being cancelled changed our ideas of what was going to happen. Because this afternoon, or this morning, the temperature was quite high, so we knew we were not expecting that for the race. So it was pretty much going blindfolded, but it was not only me; it was the complete field of the Indy Lights Series, but I got to say the Firestones held completely during the complete race, and I'm glad everything came down the way it did.

Q. Sebastian, can you walk us through the last few laps as you were catching traffic there?
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA: Crazy! Those last 10, 15 laps when my guy was telling me we had 15 laps to go and we had 20 car lengths to Martin Plowman, and suddenly I saw the back cars in front of me, I was just trying to be smart, trying to do the right choice, and I thought the right choice was to slow it down, the pace, and just keep it easy during the last 10 laps, actually. But Martin and J.K. Vernay were fast, and they caught me quite easily, so I needed to take the position to pass the guy in front of me, and it was something that really put us into a lot of pressure. My car was really good by its own, but in traffic we were having a bit of trouble, but that's what we were expecting, and we pulled it through and we were able to get the three to four car lengths ahead of Martin at the end, and it was for sure something that we'll never forget.

Q. You seem to handle the track rather easily, but the bumps in one and two have caused everybody problems. What was your attack when you came into one and two knowing that -- because when you get the camera shot you can see the cars jump.
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA: It's true, the bump is there, and it's not only for you but for everyone. From the field if you are able to take advantage of that bump you're going to have an advantage from them. That's what we did. I worked throughout that bump to feel as comfortable as possible. You never feel comfortable on a bump at this speed, but as you try to predict what the car is going to do, and I have great guys behind me, Bryan and Roberto, who have been around this place, and they have taught me what is the feeling that I must feel, and the car was fading away quite fast in the first I would say 50 laps, which we tried to work inside the cockpit, and that was great, but that bump never gets easy. Each lap you try to take it the same way, but it's never going to be the same way, and you're just open to expecting whatever happens.

Q. Can you compare -- you said this is beautiful. Last year you started third and ended up 15th. Was it a mechanical issue? What caused the problems last year that made this a night and day feeling at the end?
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA: It was, it was quite unlucky, I was second, if I'm not wrong, last year, yeah, I was second and Andretti had the front row, but we had a mechanical failure where my suspension broke on the initial lap, so I lost 20 laps to fix everything, and I had this really sour taste in my mouth coming to here because I knew we had a great car and we had the chance to pretty much do the same as we did today.
So I came here to say I was not going to sleep on my hands, and we did an incredible job and very happy for the Bryan Herta team. We pulled this off and we'll try to keep this momentum going into the next races.

Q. This is your second year of Firestone Indy Lights. This year with Bryan you've got to run the Indianapolis Motor Speedway twice, in both cars. Do you feel this series prepared you for the Indycar? Did you take anything from that? Because you've run the Speedway; was there anything with you when you got in the big car?
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA: Everything. I came from Europe not knowing anything about ovals, and coming into this series has taught me everything I need to know, and doing the big jump, because it is a big jump from the Indy Lights to the Indycar, and it is the way you should do it. But everything is happening at the same pace, so it's the perfect school to go up into the Indycar Series, and I'm thankful for all the teachings he has given me, and it has helped me not only as a driver but as a person.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Sebastian.

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