Esteban Guerrieri wins rain soaked Indy Lights race
Pole sitter Esteban Guerrieri lead the Firestone Indy Lights Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres flag to flag, clinching his third victory of the season after holding off a series of late challenges.
Guerrieri's win capped off an impressive weekend for the Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver in which his fastest race lap of 58.5076 seconds was an open-wheel track record.
Team Moore Racing's Gustavo Yacaman finished second, matching a career best, while Firestone Indy Lights championship points leader Josef Newgarden of Sam Schmidt Motorsports finished third.
The race was red-flagged on Lap 44 because of a downpour. The drivers were allowed a six-minute pit to switch to rain tires.
"It was a very tough race," Guerrieri said. "When it started to rain, it got a bit crazy, then the red flag came out and it was a whole new race."
The green flag came back out after three laps under yellow with Guerrieri in the lead, followed by Conor Daly and Peter Dempsey. On the restart, Daly made a move to the inside to pass his Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammate but spun and backed into the retaining wall, ending his day.
DAY 3 NOTEBOOK:
Before Sunday's race, Ontario native David Ostella hosted a meet and greet with up-and-coming go-karters in an effort to encourage the young racers in their sport. Signing autographs, taking pictures and talking with the karters was in the agenda for the session.
Ostella is no stranger to the karting world. He has had success as a racer in series such as the World Karting Association, Stars of Karting and Sunoco Ron Fellows Karting championships.
"I've been go-karting for seven years and it's huge with getting momentum through the corners and being able to get momentum getting out of them. It really helps with everything though; being in karting you get more experience as a driver and driving the cars. I know quite a few drivers who could do some much better if they just would have had the experience earlier on with go-karting. I think it just helps with everything in general."
Former CART and Formula One driver Derek Daly is watching over his son, Firestone Indy Lights driver Conor Daly, with the eye of someone who's been there before. He raced in all Indianapolis 500s from 1983-1989, and won the 1977 British Formula Three Championship.
Though he never pressured his son into becoming a driver, his philosophy has been to be as supportive as his son's career as possible. Despite being full of advice, he believes Conor has developed beyond anything he can teach him.
"I've made it a point to take a step back," Derek Daly said. "Instead of teaching him, I make sure I surround him with the right teachers."
1. Esteban Guerrieri
2. Gustavo Yacaman
3. Josef Newgarden
4. Stefan Wilson
5. Peter Dempsey
POST RACE QUOTES:
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI (No. 7 Lucas Oil/ Sam Schmidt Motorsports, winner Grand Prix Trois-Rivieres): "The end was obviously pretty slippery out there and we were still sorting out the lines, trying to figure out where the grid was. I guess Peter pushed pretty hard in the last lap. I tried to hold it back a little bit. In turn nine, I was going a little bit wide and Dempsey wanted to get the run in the last corner and we ran out of track and touched each other. It was a great finish, shame for him that he spun but it was a great result and I'm very happy."
"It was hard being the first one out. There is an advantage about being in front. I felt sorry for the guys in the back. Like they said I'm sure they couldn't see anything, but again being first you're the first one on the track leading the way and with it being so slippery it was pretty hard. I was just trying to keep distance and trying not to have any mistakes. My car felt good and I tried not to touch any yellow lines because the yellow lines were very slippery. I just tried to get the exit right out of the turns. Overall I thought it was a very good race. We didn't start the weekend out very well and I wasn't very happy with the car. I think it was a very good team effort this weekend with my engineer and my teammates as well, we discussed the different set ups and strategies. But in the race I had a good car and things played out very well for us. It's a shame for Connor. He was really good in the race. He pushed me a lot. I had a good car and I could tell he was really on it, so it's a shame he spun out after the restart."
GUSTAVO YACAMAN (No. 2 Team Moore Racing, finished second): "First of all I want to thank the series for bringing us here. It's been a great weekend. I really don't miss being at Mid-Ohio at all; I think this was one of the best weekends we've ever had. The race was a little boring at the beginning when it was dry; I was really looking forward to the big dark cloud just letting loose over us. Once it started raining I could not see anything. I don't know how the other guys did it, but I couldn't even see to the front wing of my car. I just think it was a great race, exciting at the end and I'm glad to have finished on the podium."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 11 Copart/Score Big/ Robo-Pong/SSM, finished third): "It wasn't our day today, but Esteban did a great job for the team. We picked up another win, another one of us on the podium. I felt sorry for Connor when he spun. He was looking for a better result obviously after having come back after a little while, but it's great that we got to finish on the podium. I think we achieved our objective somewhat this weekend and now we've got to move on to the next weekend. Scoring points is very important for the team at this point in the season as we look toward the Firestone Indy Lights Championship. I need to move forward and stay focused on the remainder of the season."
CONOR DALY (No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/SSM): "I felt like there was grip there on the warm-up laps. When we went green, I just couldn't throttle and the rear came around. It was a big mistake. I had a good race up until that point. I think the car was fast enough to pass Esteban, so it's unfortunate that it rained."