Guerrieri defeats Saavedra in Long Beach
Picking up two bonus points for leading the most laps, Guerrieri heads to the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway three points behind Saavedra (130) in the championship standings. Tristan Vautier, the points leader entering the race, was credited with third place and has 128 points.
Vautier joined the duo in Victory Circle because of a 30-second penalty assessed the No. 2 TMR-Tuvacol-Xtreme Coil Drilling car driven by Gustavo Yacaman for ignoring the instructions of Race Control. The car lost one of its mirrors with about 15 laps left in the 45-lap race, and the driver was called to pit lane to replace it (a rule). However, the team didn't have a replacement mirror and he continued.
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI (No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, winner, Grand Prix of Long Beach): "Yeah, it definitely feels very good. After I think last year I started on pole and then couldn't manage a very good pace in the race. But we got experience from last year. We understood well probably how the tires would work, and we just went for low downforce setup to try to gain the position in the start from Sebastian, to be under pressure to race with those guys like him and like Tristan, because there is respect there. So it's good. That's what you mostly need, and more not on the ovals when you learn so quick. So respect is the first thing, and I'm really happy for that. Then when I go to first position, just try to keep a good pace, like try to make a gap. I just managed to do that, and then just stay about 2.5 to 3 seconds I was pretty sure it was going to be a yellow flag, which came eventually, then after the restart I got a while for my tires to come in again, so I just tried to be cautious, not create any mistakes. I knew Sebastian was pushing me, so I was putting times consistent, and I predicted that the tires would go away a bit in the end, which they did, they were a little bit fighting. But it was good. It's good for the Firestone Indy Lights series that the tires go off in the end so you have to manage them, you have to think in the car. It's not always 100 percent, and you have to drive it, which is the most difficult part. I'm very happy to be able to win. I'm thankful to my sponsors from Argentina which only a month ago I wasn't here. I wasn't going to do Indy Lights and then we put everything together. So really thanks to my sponsor, to my country, of course, Latin America. We've been here with Sebastian on the podium, so it's a surprise for Latin America, as well. Thanks to all the people that came here, and let's keep pushing for the next races."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 27 Team AFS, finished second): "I didn't have anything to make the pass. I was just pushing to the limits to induce a mistake. Congrats to my good friend Esteban. He drove a marvelous race. One mistake. He really deserves it. Right now we are tight for the lead in points. It's a great situation for us. We drove a very smart race. Very good weekend. We didn't get first place, but we keep it where we are right now. We are looking very good for the start of the ovals. (About the start): "I thought I had him. I waited for a couple of lines to get behind me. I went for it. When I saw on my side, he wasn't there anymore. He just drove by me. I had nothing to do there. He had a better straight line and we've known this since St. Pete. So we need to continue working on the AFS Andretti Autosport car and hopefully we'll get something."
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished third): Been a tough weekend. A lot of work for me today because I made a mistake yesterday, I crashed in qualifying, so my bad, and just got my fastest lap got canceled and put me seventh on the grid. So from that I am pretty happy to be on the podium. I think it's a very good recovery. We had a good run at the start of the race. We were down low and tried to pass, so of course I hurt my tires more than anyone else, so I was hanging on a bit. But very happy to be on the podium. A big thanks to the Schmidt guys. It's very good to have an 11 car with Esteban winning and Sebastian with us on the podium again, so déjà vu as we were saying. Big thanks to the guys for fixing my car yesterday, both during qualifying and pit lane in 15 minutes and yesterday night. So I owe them a drink, and yeah, I will remember my mistake from yesterday, try and not do that again, and move on from there. It's interesting that we're all tied up in points. I think Sebastian is one or two points ahead of me, and I'm very close with Esteban. So very good. I know we have to focus on the ovals. A lot to learn.
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 Team Dialy-Ser, finished fifth): "I was really quick in the infield, but I had to push a lot in the last turn to make up ground and catch the guys on the straight. I risked a lot and touched the wall on the exit and bent the suspension. I had to finish the race because I haven't finished the last two races. So I tried to be conservative because I knew that with a bent suspension I can't be fast. So I preserved my position and I'm happy to finish the race with a top five. I think it's quite a good result."
||Juan Pablo Garcia
Winners average speed: 89.212
Time of Race: 00:59:33.6778
Margin of victory: 1.5989 seconds
Cautions: 1 for 3 laps
Lead changes: 0
Guerrieri 1 - 45
Point Standings: Saavedra 129, Vautier 128, Guerrieri 127, Carbone 92, Yacaman 80, Webb 77, Day 65, Munoz 62, Ostella 61.