Championship leader DeFrancesco ready for another oval challenge
 August 27, 2020| 
  • Team News
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Championship leader DeFrancesco ready for another oval challenge

MADISON, Ill. – Leader of the Indy Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires Championship, Devlin DeFrancesco, will take on his second-ever oval event this week at World Wide Technology Raceway just outside of St. Louis.

The Italian-Canadian racing driver drove his way to a stellar fourth position last week at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana. Despite having just one prior test day on an oval, DeFrancesco qualified fifth and finished fourth on the tricky 0.686-mile oval, extending his point lead along the way.

The Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport racer was on the charge in the late laps, pulling off two passes in the last five laps to move from sixth to fourth at the flag. DeFrancesco now holds a seven point advantage in the standings after six of 17 races.

This week, DeFrancesco’s Andretti Steinbrenner No. 17 machine will tackle a larger oval, the 1.25-mile track formerly known as Gateway Motorsports Park after the nearby iconic landmark—the Gateway Arch.

DeFrancesco’s Indy Pro 2000 campaign is supported by Kimoa—the fashion, clothing and accessories brand founded by Fernando Alonso; world-class racing simulator manufacturer Allinsports; Apple’s largest premium retail partner, Simply Mac; Engine Media; Pure Kana and One Plant Merchandise.

Practice begins Friday, August 26th at 9:15 AM Central time, with qualifying at 5:30 PM that same evening. DeFrancesco will take the green flag on Saturday for the Indy Pro 2000 Oval Challenge Of St. Louis Presented By Cooper Tires at 1:00 PM.Live timing and radio can be found athttp://www.roadtoindy.tv/race-control.html.

  

Q: So, how much fun was your first oval? And how challenging was it?

A:
 "It was a lot of fun! It was exactly what I expected and I think I really am taking to it pretty well. I’m really excited for this coming race weekend and hopefully racing even faster cars on ovals in the future. It was a ton of fun.

"I think I adapted to driving on the oval quite well. I’ve always been pretty handy at the high speed stuff in general. That part I took to it quite quickly. The hardest thing was dealing with the traffic. Having to overtake lapped cars in the race was pretty tricky.

"And then there was having to manage the tire degradation. At Lucas Oil Raceway there was a good amount of tire degradation in the race. I think coming from Europe helped me quite a bit. At the start of the race, I thought to myself, either we’re in big trouble or no one else will have tires at the end of the race. And, luckily, it was the latter! I was able to make up a few positions at the end because of that.

Q: What are your thoughts on World Wide Technology Raceway? And what is your goal for the weekend?

A: 
I’m really looking forward to World Wide Technology Raceway. It’s a bigger track and a much higher speed oval. I’m going to get up there and get up to speed as quickly as possible and see what we can accomplish. I want to pick up where we left off, ideally start with a car that feels as good as it did at the end of the Lucas Oil race.

"It took me a few sessions to get comfortable and get on top of everything at Lucas Oil Raceway and I hope we can get up to speed more quickly this weekend. I think that will be very important.”

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Q: You’re still leading the championship, and even extended your lead after Lucas Oil Raceway, how do you make sure that points gap doesn’t close?

A:"
Leading the championship gives everyone a confidence boost, which is really nice. But we still have to take it race by race, we can’t get complacent just because we’re leading the championship.
“There’s still work to be done to be able to maintain that lead. It’s hugely satisfying to be in this position at this point in the season, but I’m still staying grounded.

"The level of competition is really high. The other guys are more used to oval racing than I am, they know the tracks better than I do, so we can’t slip up at any point. Luckily, I’ve got a great team in Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport.

"They’re a group that has a lot of experience racing and winning on these tracks. I really couldn’t ask for a better team of people around me. So, we’re just going to keep working like we’re working and move forward and find more and more speed.”


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