By Patrick Stephan (@TSO_Patrick)
Ok, I still owe everyone some more notes from the Freedom 100 – and here they are. I especially like some of the stuff Trevor Carlin said about wanting to make the move to the Verizon IndyCar Series. He is a team owner that does things “right” and I believe he’d be highly successful in the big cars. With Harding Racing, Juncos, and Michael Shank participating now (at least part time) and Carlin seriously looking at it, this could be the infusion of new owners that the series really needs to take that next step forward.
“Well, I mean that’s obviously our ambition,” said Carlin. “This is a very big moment for us to win the Freedom 100 at Indianapolis. My next target obviously has to be to try to win the main race. I’m constantly working on trying to put the funding together to put a package together, because I believe I’ve got an amazing team, a bunch of guys. I’ve got access to some of the best drivers in the world. So at some stage we want to be here and lift that Borg-Warner trophy if it’s not too heavy, of course.”
Said Carlin of how he first came to know the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, “I can’t remember exactly the year. It was either 1986 or 1987, I was actually living in California and I watched the Indy 500. I think it was the year maybe Danny Sullivan spun — ’85, OK. Danny spun and won the race. I thought, oh, my God, how can that happen? It’s incredible. So since then I followed the race, I watch it every year on TV. Now, you know, I thought I would love to enter a team here at Indianapolis. And this is the first step on that journey. I’m very proud of Matheus and the team that we’ve now won here. But you know, the job isn’t finished, it’s just one step on the way to hopefully winning the great prize. We know it’s impossibly difficult to do, but realistic. And if you don’t try, you have no chance. We will try and the luck might go our way.”
Looking back on the Freedom 100, one of the more interesting aspects was the high line, and passes attempted there. Aaron Telitz said of the high side pass, “I like it. I think when you’re entering from the high side, you feel more confident to turn in, flat out, if you’re on the light side. The Lights cars don’t obviously have as much speed entering the corners as the Indy cars do, so we can run that groove high. The high side is the best way to pass. You use less wheel to turn the car, hopefully not have to slow it down as much.
Kellett of course had that contact with Herta – who was on the high side – at the start of the race. He reported that the car wasn’t damaged and the crew did check it out, “After the contact, I was on the radio going down the back straight, kind of giving them the rundown of what happened. Just had a light contact, I was in front. When we came by on the front straight, the mechanics were there on the pit wall to have a look at the front wing, and they deemed everything looked fine so we kept going.”
Kellett also noted later that when passing on the outside, “…when you’re on the outside, you have control of the corner. So you know, there’s a car inside and you can dictate how tight or how wide you want to go through there.”
That’s kind of interesting in that many times the car on the inside has “control of the corner” but it does make sense for here that the car to the outside is really the one dictating the line.
Race winner Matheus Leist clearly had a fast car. Telitz provided a few thoughts on that, “I’m pretty sure Matheus had less wing in his car, so they were more trimmed out. They started at the front, so they weren’t too worried having to pass a lot of cars, so they can do that. Where we started in sixth, we knew we were going to have to pass cars and have a little extra downforce. But when I would pull out of the draft to get past Matheus, my car would stall out as I pull up to go around him. He had more speed in a straight line, and that’s how he could hold me off.”
Kellett also noted, “I think to shed some light on what you were seeing, what we find here is, and with any car really, is when you’re in a draft you can definitely suck up to guys. You always feel like you’re quicker than the car ahead of you. For the guy out front, he has clean air on his wings, so of course he’s easy to go flat out around and around the whole track, whereas we’re going to get a monster run, be 10 miles an hour up going into the corner and have to lift, and then pick up some understeer, get some clean air in those and get some more rotation. So that might have been a little bit of what was going on there.”
So, what did Leist think of his first experience at Indy?
“I think we had just a perfect car today,” said the 18 year old Brazilian. “And I thought that I would have hardest race definitely. But anyway, we managed to drive the whole race and I’m very happy. The car was just perfect, you know, throughout the whole race, so we managed to keep in front.”
He noted that at one time, he wasn’t sure would wind up in Victory Lane as he battled with Telitz. “Yeah, it was a tough battle. I thought he would overtake me actually and he didn’t manage to do it. But anyway, I was just trying to kept relax you know and do my job. So I just managed to keep in front of him and he didn’t manage to overtake me, and I led the whole race. That was it.”
Leist only ever oval experience was testing in Homestead, and then the testing on Monday here at IMS. His thoughts on the 2.5 oval and his race today, “It was just amazing. This was actually my first time here as well. So, yeah, it was everything new for me. Track is amazing and just so fast. I’ve never been so fast as I have been here, so it was amazing. And to win here in this track is just, it’s unbelievable, you know. So I’m looking forward and hope one day winning the Indy 500 here.”
Oh, so what was the plan for celebrating last night?
Trevor Carlin’s afternoon didn’t sound that exciting, though the evening would be fun, “I’m going to help the guys load the truck, which isn’t very glamorous. After that I’m sure we’ll have a few beers, go out into town tonight and have a good dinner and celebrate. The atmosphere here is just incredible. There’s nothing like it in motor racing in the world, and I’ve been to pretty much every motor race in the world and this is number one by far.”
Leist said, “Yeah, I think we’re going to have beers, so looking forward to it. I would like to have some dinner with my team as well and celebrate with them.” (perhaps someone needs to inform Matheus of the drinking age around here 🙂 ).
Aaron Telitz is actually 25, but he had a similar plan, “I’m going to go have good time with my friends and family from here. I’m from Wisconsin, so probably a few beers later.”
Kellett got in a bit of a dig, quipping, “and some cheese!” Notably, Telitz did not deny that and Kellett continued, “My family is here, my cousins and everyone, my girlfriend, so probably hanging out at the trailer and watching action and getting ready for Sunday.”
Following the Freedom 100, here are the Indy Lights points standings:
Pos. Driver Points
1 Kyle Kaiser 151
2 Nico Jamin – R 137
3 Colton Herta – R 129
4 Aaron Telitz – R 122
5 Neil Alberico 122
6 Matheus Leist – R 121
7 Santiago Urrutia 105
8 Zachary Claman DeMelo 102
9 Shelby Blackstock 90
10 Dalton Kellett 86
11 Nicolas Dapero – R 84
12 Ryan Norman – R 78
13 Juan Piedrahita 68
14 Garth Rickards – R 68
15 Pato O’Ward – R 58