de Ferran vows to return stronger in 2011 Raphael Matos and the de Ferran Dragon Racing Team was looking for a little luck to finish the season on a high note, but it never came in the IZOD IndyCar season finale at Homestead Miami Speedway.
After starting 23rd, Matos and the team were relying on strong pit stops and fuel strategy to climb into contention. Three fast pit stops plus the planned fuel strategy appeared to put Matos in a position to complete the race in three stops, while almost all of the leaders would need a fourth stop.
“It was a tough run, but our strategy was playing well,” Matos confirmed. “We were going to try to make it in three stops and were set up well, but we needed it to go green until the end. Unfortunately that didn't happen. We were fighting really hard all night long and it was tough to see the strategy just go away like that, but that's racing.”
The strategy started to take shape on lap 39 when the de Ferran Dragon crew produced a flawless stop that allowed Matos to improve four spots to 14th. When he came for his final stop on lap 146, he improved another position coming out of the pits and was looking for green flag racing the rest of the way. Three yellows in the next 29 laps erased the plan and Matos finished 17th.
“It was a difficult race that ended a tough season for us,” managing partner and team president Gil de Ferran said. “Our team is still very young and unfortunately, the results tonight and several occasions this season don’t reflect the quality of our personnel, the effort, and the motivation that goes behind creating a competitive IndyCar operation.”
Matos collected 13 points to finish 14th in the final series standings with 290 points. Dario Franchitti claimed his second consecutive IZOD IndyCar title and the third in a row for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
“I want to thank all of our personnel, including Rafa, for giving 100 per cent effort through the year, our sponsors, including HP and McAfee for supporting us through thick and thin,” de Ferran said. “Congratulations to Dario and Target Chip Ganassi for their historic achievement. Next year, we’ll be back stronger.”
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