Houston, TX – Luca Filippi made a strong showing, advancing 11 positions in the No. 98 Barracuda Racing car, during the first half of the second Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston race on Sunday afternoon.
Heavy rain caused race two qualifications to be cancelled. As a result, the starting grid was organized by each team’s 2013 season entrant points, and Filippi would start the race in 23rd place.
The 90-lap competition began with a standing start. Twenty-eight-year-old Filippi gained two positions immediately when two cars stalled at the start and cycled to the back.
By lap six, the Italian driver was setting a pace faster than the leaders and by lap 16, he had gained 11 positions from the start, running in 12th.
On lap 28, Filippi went off track into the tire barrier. The team went down two laps while waiting for the car to be restarted. Although the remainder of the race was spent trying to regain position, Filippi proved his talent by setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 86 and then besting his own record on lap 87. He finished the race in 19th place.
“The day started in a difficult spot,” said Filippi. “We knew we had to attack and we did. We were overtaking people and we were super fast. I felt very good with the car.
“We had a good strategy and we gained a few positions in the pits. We made some big gains, and then I just made a mistake. Unfortunately, it took awhile to restart the car and we lost two laps. At the end, we were the fastest on track and had the fastest lap of the race. That’s not the result we were aiming for but at least we proved that we can be fast.
“I’m really sorry to the team because up to that point, we did everything right. Just the small mistake was a shame but I think we did a good job and from here, I think we can only keep improving.”
In two weeks, the IZOD IndyCar Series heads to Fontana, California for the season finale at Auto Club Speedway. The MAVTV American Reel 500 will take place on Saturday, October 19 at 5:50 p.m. local (PDT). The 250-lap competition will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network.