DETROIT, Saturday, June 2, 2012 – Oliver Webb led the four-car Sam Schmidt Motorsports (SSM) team in Saturday’s Firestone Indy Lights race, part of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix weekend, on a historic day for the series’ most successful team.
Driving his No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, Webb finished third behind Team Moore Racing’s Gustavo Yacaman and Andretti Autosport’s Carlos Munoz. It was Webb’s best finish of the year and matches his third-place podium finish in his Indy Lights’ debut at Edmonton in 2011.
Webb made history in qualifying for the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix when he captured his first Sunoco Pole award. Though it was his first pole, it was SSM’s 50th Firestone Indy Lights pole.
The team also has five Indy Lights championships and 49 race wins.
The 2012 line-up of SSM Indy Lights drivers of Victor Carbone, Esteban Guerrieri, Tristan Vautier and Webb are among the 18 drivers who have won Indy Lights poles for SSM. Here is a list of drivers who have won Indy Lights poles with SSM: Thiago Medeiros (8), Travis Gregg (7), Esteban Guerrieri (6), Alex Lloyd (5), Jaime Camara (3), J.K. Vernay (3), Pippa Mann (3), Josef Newgarden (3), Wade Cunningham (2), Jay Howard (2), Brand Erwin (1), Sarah McCune (1), Richard Antinucci (1), James Davison (1), Conor Daly (1), Victor Carbone (1), Tristan Vautier (1) and Oliver Webb (1).
Brazil’s Victor Carbone finished fourth in his No. 3 Mav TV/Nevoni/SSM with Curb-Agajanian car. It is Carbone’s fifth-straight top-six finish this season.
Closely following Carbone in fifth place was SSM’s Tristan Vautier. The Frenchman has not finished outside of the top five in the first five races of 2012 in his No. 77 Mazda Road To Indy/SSM with Curb-Agajanian car.
Andretti Autosport’s Sebastian Saavedra rounded out the top five by clipping SSM’s Esteban Guerrieri at the finish. The No. 11 Pistas Argentinas car of Guerrieri had to pit twice during a caution period took fix handling issues.
Yacaman took control of the race from Webb on Lap 26 and led the rest of the race. He was followed closely by Munoz at the finish. The margin of victory was .1638 seconds.
Despite finishing sixth, Guerrieri maintains his lead in the Firestone Indy Lights championship with 203 points. Vautier and Saavedra are second and third with 188 and 187, respectively. Carbone is fourth with 154, one point ahead of Yacaman. Webb is seventh with 130.
The next Firestone Indy Lights race is a 100-mile race Friday, July 15, on the famed Milwaukee Mile, part of the Milwaukee IndyFest weekend.
Oliver Webb (Finished 3rd), Driver of the No. 7 Lucas Oil/SSM Dallara:
ON WINNING 50th SSM Pole: “It’s my first pole of the year, and it’s Sam’s 50th pole. We were speaking about that yesterday. It means a lot to me and hopefully it will mean a lot to Sam as well after what happened in the Freedom 100. Hopefully this pole will translate in a short time (afternoon) to a win.”
ON THE RACE: “I’m a little bit disappointed, obviously, after starting from pole. It would have been nice to get Sam his 50th win as well as his 50th pole in one weekend. I got a good start and good restart, which is everything that we wanted to work on with the restarts and starts and managed to do really well. Unfortunately, the corners were just slow going around the back straight which were the only real passing opportunities, so I’m a little bit disappointed. But at the end, we were consistent and produced the second fastest lap. We’ll work up to it.”
Victor Carbone (Finished 4th), Driver of the No. 3 Mav TV/Nevoni/SSM with Curb -Agajanian Dallara:
“I got a good start and moved into second. Then, I got stuck behind Ollie. I couldn’t pass him. I tried three times to overtake him, but he was just defending his line real well. That allowed the Yacaman and Munoz to close in on me. When Yacaman made the pass, Munoz came with him. They were able to make the pass where I tried to pass Oliver. From there, I just tried to stay in fourth. I couldn’t keep up with those guys, so I just tried to run a good race and conserve the car. It was a really physical race. I want to thank the guys for doing a good job. It’s another top-five for me. I’m just missing the podium. I have to remain patience, and I think the results will start to come.”
Tristan Vautier (Finished 5th), Driver of the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/SSM with Curb-Agajanian Dallara:
“We cannot say it was a great race. We just struggled with the pace to be honest. I was very slow on cold tires and wasn’t much faster on warm tires. We just moved backwards at the start. I tried to defend at some point you get to defensive, so I had to give up the spot. If not, you can end up in the wall with a few other people. We will have to work hard if we come back here next year. After a great qualifying round, we were all hoping one of us would get the 50th win for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, but it didn’t happen”
Esteban Guerrieri (Finished 6th), Driver of the No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/SSM with Curb-Agajanian Dallara:
“We don’t really know what was wrong with the car at the start. Thankfully, the safety came out and we were able to make some changes. We changed something in the front and we changed the tires because the car was really un-drivable. I was like two seconds of the pace. After the pit stop, the car was a bit better but we were still struggling. It seemed all four of us (SSM cars) struggled today.”
DATE: June 2, 2012
EVENT: Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix
SERIES: Firestone Indy Lights Series
LOCATION: Raceway of Belle Isle (Detroit)
WINNER: Gustavo Yacaman of Team Moore Racing
SSM DRIVERS: Oliver Webb (Started 1st, Finished 3rd/Running, completed 45 of 45 laps)
Victor Carbone (Started 4th, Finished 4th/ Running, completed 45 of 45 laps)
Tristan Vautier (Started 2nd, Finished 5th/Running, completed 45 of 45 laps)
Esteban Guerrieri (Started 3rd, Finished 7th/Running, completed 45 of 45 laps)