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Drama-Filled Day for BHA at Infineon Raceway

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Sebastian Saavedra, Joel Miller, Carneros 100

Drama-Filled Day for BHA at Infineon Raceway

Andrew Herta
Bryan Herta Autosport
August 22, 2010

The 40-lap Carneros 100 provided its share of excitement for Bryan Herta Autosport this afternoon at Infineon Raceway. Sebastian Saavedra was credited with a 15th-place result after contact while Joel Miller, in a one-off program with the team, drove a solid race to finish ninth in only his second career Firestone Indy Lights start.

Saavedra lined up sixth on the grid and was battling Dan Clarke for fifth place when the two made contact on a Lap 10 restart at the 2.303-mile permanent road course. Clarke was able to continue but Saavedra retired with a bent toe link on the #29 William Rast entry. It was the third DNF of the season for Saavedra after contact at St. Petersburg and a gearbox issue inToronto.

Miller, who was second-quickest in the morning warm up, qualified 11th but had to start at the back of the grid after an engine change. Making up a few positions in the opening laps and benefiting from a mistake-free drive, he brought home his first top-10 Indy Lights result. Miller made his series debut in Long Beach, finishing 11th with Andersen Racing, and is focusing his efforts on a full season in 2011.

Series points leader J.K. Vernay extended his lead with a flag-to-flag victory today. Sebastian Saavedra remains fifth in the championship standings with team regular Stefan Wilson, working with BHA to secure the funding to complete the season, in seventh place.

Bryan Herta Autosport will travel to Joliet, Ill., later this week for the Chicagoland 100 at Chicagoland Speedway on August 28.

Race Results:
1. J.K. Vernay
2. Charlie Kimball
3. James Hinchcliffe
9. Joel Miller
15. Sebastian Saavedra

Joel Miller, #28 Doug Mockett & Company/Lamborghini Travels/Blanco Basura Clothing/Valli Construction/Paradise Landscape Dallara/Firestone: “With the penalty that put us at the back of the grid, I knew I would have to try to pick off positions one by one. I had a good start and made up a position there and another going into Turn 7. I felt I had a good car in traffic. I started working my way through the field but, unfortunately, we developed a bit of understeer. It was something that I had to deal with the entire race but I just tried to keep plugging away and working with the bar and brake bias. Everyone was pretty happy with the ninth-place finish.

“I would like to thank Bryan, Steve [Newey, team co-owner], my engineer Ian Brown and everyone at BHA for their efforts to get me reacclimated to the car and to learn the boundaries of it. A big thank you to Doug Mockett, Lamborghini Travels, Blanco Basura, Valli Construction and Paradise Landscape for making this weekend possible. I am going to continue to work for next season and may do another event yet this year. I made some good contacts and after being P2 in warm up, just a couple of hundredths off of J.K. [Vernay], Bryan said that showed I am capable of running up there. Hopefully, that is where we will be next year.”

Sebastian Saavedra, #29 William Rast Dallara/Firestone: “We were doing a great job and saving the tires so it was a very disappointing end and the loss of important points for me. I was by his [Dan Clarke’s] side and already turning in and I touched his front wing. It was something we were not hoping for as we were working for the points. But this is motorsports and this can happen and we have to look forward now.”

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