Owens Leads for Team Pelfrey at Indianapolis
Los Angeles, CA – Raoul Owens displayed great speed at the Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis for Round 9 of the Pro Mazda Championship, going faster than championship leader and fellow teammate, Santiago Urrutia.
In order to prepare for his first race outing on an oval circuit, Raoul travelled to Nashville with Team Pelfrey to lay down some miles around an oval prior to Saturday’s race. The test was beneficial to Raoul as he acclimatized well to the physical and mental demands of an oval circuit and grew from strength to strength once he was driving in Indianapolis.
Raoul broke into the Top 5 during the Thursday test day at the 0.68 mile Lucas Oil Raceway, just 3 tenths off the fastest time of the day set by Weiron Tan of Andretti Autosport (0:20.161). Reviewing Raoul’s performance from the pit wall, Stephen Simpson stated “the 2 days of testing at Nashville were challenging, but Raoul was committed from the word go at Lucas Oil Raceway. Raoul held a close line to the wall and we practiced overtaking simulations on a lower line during the test days.”
On Saturday, Raoul was P9 in the morning practice session and later qualified a resounding P8 ahead of his teammates for the rolling start of the afternoon’s race. The Team Pelfrey car was missing around 4 tenths to the historically strong Andretti Autosport cars of Weiron Tan and Dalton Kellett, who qualified P1 and P2 respectively. Nonetheless, a Top 5 finish would certainly be possible for Raoul during the race, as he made great progress in maximizing the performance of the Team Pelfrey car.
Once the pack went racing on Saturday afternoon in bright conditions, Raoul switched into overtaking mode and took a tighter line to make some successful manoeuvres through the order. However, his promising debut at the Lucas Oil Raceway would become bittersweet as Dalton Kellett and Timothe Buret came together on Lap 28 and collected Raoul with them as their cars drifted into the higher racing line of the young Brit.
While the end result was not an accurate display of Raoul’s potential, a tone of optimism was still in the air for Raoul as he concluded that “we definitely made a big jump forwards this weekend. I was more comfortable with the team and was ahead of my teammates which was important to me. I tried to give more input to my team to improve the set up and get closer analysis as you need to be quite picky on the oval.”
The Pro Mazda Championship goes racing next in the narrow streets of Toronto on June 13-14. Until then, Raoul will be preparing once again for the challenge of facing a new circuit for the first time and hoping that the trickier characteristics of the Toronto street circuit will enable his racing talent to close in on the recent dominance of Andretti Autosport.