INDIANAPOLIS – Dale Coyne Racing returned to its driver lineup from the first two rounds of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Season this weekend for the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Francesco Dracone remained in the No. 19 LaPasta Honda and Carlos Huertas returned to the No. 18 Spring Step/Buffalo Wings car.
Francesco Dracone’s lap times during practice sessions saw him move closer and closer to the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series regulars as he continued to hone his racing skills in the top American open wheel series. His qualifying efforts were not quite enough and he started the race 25th.
As the green flag flew, Dracone took a cautious approach going into turn 1 and was able to make up four position in the opening lap after several other cars ran wide. He would use this momentum to run as high as 11th position as the team looked to put him on an alternate strategy.
Towards the conclusion of the race, a bit more running under caution could have meant one less pit stop and possibly a higher finishing position for the Italian, but it never came. He brought the car home in 22nd position with three cars finishing behind him.
While the result was similar to the first four rounds of the season, Dracone impressed Team Owner Dale Coyne with his judgement and racing skill around faster cars, especially in the closing stages of the race.
“Francesco has shown improvement in speed and improvement in race craft with each additional race he has done this year,” commented seasoned Team Owner Dale Coyne. “When he started, none of us were sure how far he would go over here in IndyCar, but he should be proud of the progress he has made in this very tough field of winning and championship drivers with experience at all of these tracks.”
While Dracone showed stronger pace in the middle part of the race, he noted it was difficult to maintain. “The end was a bit slower because I drove into the marbles a few times letting the leaders by and then it was really hard to clean off the tires.” Dracone continued, “Overall, it was a small improvement on previous races.”
Huertas struggled a bit finding pace this weekend but he was at the same disadvantage of all of the other Honda powered cars. Unfortunately for him, his engine let go at the end of his qualifying effort and forced him to start 23rd.
The Coyne team had Huertas on a similar strategy as Dracone but the lack of caution foiled what could have been a top 10 finish. He fought hard to finish in 19th position.
The Verizon IndyCar Series will stay in Indianapolis for the next two weeks as they prepare for the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend. The speedway is open for IndyCar action nearly every day until the race where teams will practice and fine tune the car setups. Qualifying will take place on May 16th and 17th and the race will follow on May 24th. Fans can find television coverage of all three days of action on their local ABC station with the race being aired live at 12:00 PM ET on May 24th. Detailed information about the month’s activity can be found at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or www.indycar.com.