Team Pelfrey Weathers Tough Day in the Desert
 April 2, 2016| 
  • Team News

AVONDALE, Ariz. – At the outset of the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires weekend at the Indy Lights Grand Prix of Phoenix, Team Pelfrey Indy Lights knew it had a tough challenge on its hands. The team had shortened track time at a series open test at Phoenix International Raceway on February 25 due to mechanical issues, and were put behind heading into the second event of the 2016 campaign, the first on an oval. With limited practice time, drivers Scott Hargrove and Juan Piedrahita worked to find a strong setup for Saturday afternoon’s race, but qualified 11th and 14th respectively, and struggled to pass in the 90-lap event, finishing 13th and 12th to begin the month of April. 

Piedrahita gradually worked his way up to speed on Friday before qualifying, and moved his No. 2 Polipetrosur/Pawco machine up two spots in Saturday’s race to his 12th-place finish. “It was a tough weekend for the whole team. Obviously what happened at the test put us in catch up mode, which is no fault of the guys. The team worked super hard all weekend, we were just always one step behind,” said Piedrahita, who now sits 11th in the championship standings. “Qualifying and practice were frustrating, though I think we made progress in the race. It was nice to finish higher than we started, but we’d obviously like to finish much higher than 12th. Looking forward, we know we have a good car at Barber (Motorsports Park), so we can’t wait to get back to the fight.” 

Competing in his first Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires oval race and first oval race since 2014, Scott Hargrove displayed solid pace, but struggled in traffic to move forward in the race. “We knew this race was going be tough after missing a majority of the test. We took it one step at a time, and some were forward, some were backward, which is what will happen when you’re behind the way we were,” said Hargrove. “At the start of the race we had an issue, which set us back, and on the (lap 39) restart I got a great jump, but had aero-wash in the corner and had to check up, which cost us track position.” Hargrove would finish 13th, but is excited to return to the next event at Barber Motorsports Park, where he posted some of the quickest times in a series open test last month. “Like I said, we knew Phoenix was going to be a tough weekend, so we’re happy to turn our focus towards Barber in a few weeks, where we know we should have the pace to be up front.” 

The Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires season soldiers on in three weeks at Alabama’s Barber Motorsports Park for the Legacy Indy Lights 100. The doubleheader weekend commences with practice on Friday April 22, qualifying on Saturday April 23, and races on April 23 and Sunday April 24. 

About Team Pelfrey-IL

Team Pelfrey, the 2011 rebirth of memorable IndyCar operation Team Pelfrey, ventures back into professional open-wheel racing with an important goal in mind: help and develop new talent. Starting in 2016, Team Pelfrey will become the first and only organization in motorsports that houses teams in each ladder of the Mazda Road to Indy, which grooms some of the best young talents in the world for North America’s premier open-wheel racing series, the Verizon IndyCar Series. 

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