Saavedra Makes History

Submitted by on Friday, 09 May 2014 15:18


- May 9, 2014 –


KV AFS Racing's Sebastian Saavedra made history today by winning the pole and the Verizon P1 Award for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Driving the No. 17 KV AFS Racing Chevrolet/Dallara/Firestone, Saavedra went out in the first group for round one of qualifying on the newly re-designed 2.439 mile 14-turn track. He was able to set a fast time of 70.1443 seconds, which put him in fifth place, so he advanced to the second round. Just prior to the second session, a brief heavy rainstorm struck the speedway and track conditions became exceedingly wet. Saavedra spent the session hovering just outside the top-six, but on the final lap laid down his fastest time of the round (74.1972 seconds) to put him fifth and into the Firestone Fast Six for the first time in his IndyCar career. Just as the green flag was shown for the final qualifying round, the heavy rain returned and the red flag came out. A fan of the rain, Saavedra then made the most of his time on track when it went back to green. He set a fast time of 73.8822 seconds on lap three, which put him into first for a brief moment, before being moved back by Ryan Hunter-Reay. However, in the closing minute, Hunter-Reay made contact with the wall and his fastest two laps were disallowed, putting Saavedra on pole (the first in his IndyCar career) when the checkered was shown.


 "What a way to start May," said Saavedra. "This is my first ever IndyCar pole. I am so proud of the whole KV AFS Racing team, they all did a fantastic job. Everyone saw how crazy the weather was, we just kept calm, made the right decisions and choices and it happened. We made a huge leap this morning and then the whole qualifying session was just weird. It started to rain and went from wet, to dry, to super dry, to super wet. I loved it and now look forward to the race tomorrow."

Saavedra previously had a best road/street course qualifying of ninth at St. Petersburg and Barber in 2013. His overall career best was sixth on the oval at Milwaukee last year. Saavedra's best finish is eighth at Baltimore in 2013.

The 23-year-old, from Bogota, Colombia has been among the youngest drivers in nearly every series he has competed in. He joined the Firestone Indy Lights just before his 19th birthday and that year was awarded Rookie of the Year Honors with AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport. He moved to Bryan Herta Autosport for 2010 where he made his Indianapolis 500 debut becoming the third Colombian driver to do so. Saavedra then stepped up to the IndyCar Series in 2011 with Conquest Racing before returning to Indy Lights in 2012. Last year he spent the entire season back in IndyCar with Dragon Racing.

Today's pole continues a history of success at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for AFS Racing owner Gary Peterson. In 2006, AFS Racing competed in the Indy Lights Series and won the inaugural Liberty Challenge on the IMS road course when it was contested as a support event to the F1 US Grand Prix. Saavedra, who competes for KV AFS Racing, a partnership between Kevin Kalkhoven, Jimmy Vasser and Peterson, will be hoping that history repeats itself when the green flag is flown tomorrow for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis at 3:30 pm ET. The race will be broadcast live on ABC and also on IMS Radio Network affiliates, XM 209 and Sirius 213, and INDYCAR 14 app.


Kevin Diamond KV/AFS Racing

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