M1 Racing's Rabe and Horak Finish One-Two in Expert Class
 May 11, 2014| 
  • Team News

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — M1 Racing's Nicolas Costa made another stirring charge during Pro Mazda competition Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Coming from the 15th starting position, he had just taken second following a restart with six laps to go in the 20-lap race when there was contact with the driver he'd just passed. Costa ended up backwards in the wall entering Turn 1 for a 16th-place finish in round six of the series, which is presented by Cooper Tires.

Costa was unhurt but he was left shaking his head when considering his racing luck, as he was a solid contender to win both Pro Mazda races at IMS until he was the victim of accidents in the late stages of each race with his #99. The Brazilian from Rio de Janeiro is sponsored by IMM (Impermeabilizacões), Alufama, Oakley and Inova Marketing Esportivo.

Another M1 Racing driver who was shaking his head was Jason Rabe, but unlike Costa he was shaking his head in amazement.

After being knocked out of the first race in the first turn of the first lap on Friday, Rabe won the Expert class on Saturday and finished an incredible ninth overall.  Being in victory lane at Indy was a dream come true for the Millville, N.J.-based rookie, who is sponsored by Macquarie Group and the Monticello Motor Club. This was only his second Pro Mazda doubleheader, and he was sleeping in his car not long ago when he couldn't afford a hotel room or an apartment after he made the decision to forego a steady job and pursue his dream of becoming a race car driver.

Rabe even won the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award for gaining the most positions in the race, as he came from 19th to ninth.

The third M1 Racing driver here, Jay Horak of Mesa, Ariz., followed up his Expert class victory on Friday with a second-place finish to his teammate in that class on Saturday in his black AutoEnginuity #37.

Costa started 15th, Horak started 17th and Rabe started 19th and last on Saturday. There was an accident involving three drivers in Turn 1 on the initial start, but before the yellow was out Costa had advanced from 15th to seventh and Rabe rose from 19th to ninth. Horak had to take evasive action through the grass but he advanced two spots too.

Costa was like a bullet on the first restart with four laps down too, passing Kyle Kaiser, Garett Grist and Ryan Booth to move into fourth place with five laps down. Two laps later he advanced to third by passing Jose Gutierrez, and he stayed in third until another restart with 14 laps down when his drive came to an abrupt end right after he had passed Spencer Pigot for second place.

After improving 10 positions initially, Rabe stayed in ninth place until he had a bad restart with four laps down and slipped to 12th with five laps complete. He dropped to 14th two laps later, but then he started inching back up the scoreboard. He improved from 12th to tenth after Costa and Pigot's problem, and he moved into ninth on the white-flag lap after Michele Bumgarner spun right in front of him.

Horak's race was one of perseverance, as he kept his head down to finish 11th. He set his fastest lap of the race on the very last lap with a 1:25.202 (103.053 miles per hour). Rabe's fastest lap was lap eight at 1:25.726 (102.424 mph). Costa's fastest lap was lap eight too, when he turned the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in 1:24.779 (103.568 mph).

Driver quotes:

Jason Rabe:
"The start today was almost exactly like yesterday; guys were crashing and I had to avoid crashed cars, spinning cars, cars going through the grass and flying debris. This time I was able to make it through. I was able to stay on the track, but it was tight and close. I almost got run into by a couple of people though.

"I was up to seventh or eighth at one point but then I didn't have the best restart. I had to be very defensive on all my restarts because I didn't want to get taken out.

"After that it was good, wheel-to-wheel racing with the frontrunners, which was really fun. I just tried to maintain my pace. I was 2 seconds faster than I'd been running all weekend.

"I had a better restart on the second one; I held my own. But I almost wrecked about 10 times during this race. It's just my lack of seat time. I had a couple good saves and I was able to bring it home. I had to avoid Michelle Bumgarner once; I had to dodge her when she spun in front of me.

"On my own I dropped my left-rear tire once and my arms were all crossed up; I thought 'Well there goes everything I just worked for,' but I held on.

"The battle with [Spencer] Pigot there towards the end was neat.

"Words can't describe today though.  It was a childhood dream come true to be up on victory lane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It's unreal. Although I've been watching TV and reading about IMS all my life, I've never been to IMS before this week and it was an awesome first experience. Being at the bottom of the charts all weekend and then to be able to win the Expert class, get a top-10 finish overall and run with the frontrunners was awesome.

"I want to thank my father; Paul Grillo of Delaware Investments, and everybody at the Monticello Motor Club for their help.

"I also want to thank everyone at M1 Racing. They worked hard on getting the car back together and figuring out what I needed. A top-10 and an Expert win at Indy, and running with all the guys that are doing this series full time with my lack of seat time was just incredible.

"When Al Unser Jr. won Indy in 1992 he said, 'You just don't know what Indy means' in victory lane.  I know exactly what he means."

Nicolas Costa: "The start was a mess again. I tried to pass on the inside and I just tried not to hit anybody. I managed to pass eight cars I think.

"Then on the second restart I passed one car in Turn 3, then one car in Turn 11 I think, and then I chased down [Ryan] Booth.  Booth and I had a hard but clean battle. It was very good. He raced me clean and I tried to do the same with him. Finally I passed him on the outside in Turn 7. 

"That put me into third, and I was pretty happy with that. The first two guys were faster than me so I just wanted to not make any mistakes and finish third at Indianapolis.

"I had a good run on Spencer [Pigot] for the last restart. He committed to the inside, and I made sure he was going to maintain that line. I managed to get a half a car ahead of him, but then his front wheel touched my rear wheel and that was it. It happened before Turn 1, and I hit the wall and ended up backwards.

"Of all the races on the schedule, these races were the ones where I wanted to finish on the podium so badly. It was really sad because M1 Racing gave me a car that was really fast. Although we didn't get the finishes we wanted, we were able to charge for the podium at Indianapolis, which is really special."

Jay Horak: "I had to go through the grass in Turn 1 at the start. There were cars crashing and the only clean line was through the grass. I rejoined the group in last place but with no damage. From there I was able to reel in Jason [Rabe] at the end, but I didn't have enough to pass him. There were too many cautions for me.

"My car was great today though. Jason isn't running for the Expert class championship, so with a first and a second it was a good points weekend for me."

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