Avondale, Arizona (April 2, 2016) – The learning experience continued on Saturday at the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix for the Dale Coyne Racing drivers with Conor Daly placing 16th and Luca Filippi 20th in their one-mile oval debut.
Daly and Filippi put in strong performances at Phoenix International Raceway that weren’t reflected in the final results.
Daly ran well throughout the race and was on pace with the rest of the competition. The rookie driver made great restarts, gaining a couple of positions on more than one occasion. Had it not been for a few mishaps and a fuel issue that cost him a couple of laps to the leaders, the result could have been much different for his short oval debut.
Filippi, who was racing for the first time ever on any type of oval, survived an early incident on Lap 50 when Castroneves came up to pass him. The Italian went high to avoid contact with the Penske driver but wound up in the marbles. Thanks to some great driving skills, Filippi ended up avoiding the wall and spinning towards the apron. The #19 Boy Scouts of America car stalled in the process which caused Filippi to lose four laps to the leaders.
Filippi was able to continue the race while running competitive lap times and experience an oval race from start to finish.
Dale Coyne Racing will be back in action in two weeks at the Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 17th.
Dale Coyne Racing Driver Quotes
Conor Daly - #18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality
“That was really interesting! It was really nice to have a car to fight like we did. I thought the car was well balanced, I could race people and I had really good restarts. We just made some mistakes in the pits which is part of the game but I felt like I passed a lot of cars out there! Sadly, we had a few issues but it’s still the beginning of the season and things like this are bound to happen. I’m just really pleased with the car, I thought our pace was really good and I thought the way we raced was really good. We just have to get ourselves starting up a bit further up and eliminate small mistakes.
“It was more active than I thought it was going to be out there. Certainly crazy when you got off line. Some really interesting moments and some really hairy moments but I’m just glad we made it to the end and made it through unscathed. We gained a lot of experience today for sure.”
Luca Filippi - #19 Boy Scouts of America
“(About his spin) Everything was going well and I was with a group and the pace was quite consistent, the same as the guys around me. Helio (Castroneves) was a couple of laps down, faster than me, but when he made a move into Turn 1, it was a late move and in order to avoid contact I had to go on the marbles. I eventually saved it, but unfortunately the engine died and we lost a few laps, so the race was pretty much over at the time for us being that many laps down. That was very unfortunate because everything was going fine.
“After that, I was just trying to be smart on the restarts with the guys around that were racing each other. I was trying to gain experience and keep learning more about the car and racing on an oval but at the same time I was just staying away from trouble. It’s a bit of a shame because I couldn’t really race as hard as I wanted but at least it was a great experience. It was important for me to finish the race and experience the changes from the first lap to the last one. The car was good and I felt confident in driving the car. The guys did a solid job to give me a car I liked.”