IndyCar Driver Review: Simona de Silvestro

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With the IndyCar season in the books and a limited amount of news to come since the season finale at Fontana, my MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and are taking a look back at the 2013 season just past. Chris and I each ranked our top 10 drivers and some of the biggest stories; now we take a look back at the field driver-by-driver.

In lucky 13th in 2013, now free agent Simona de Silvestro…


Simona de Silvestro

  • Team: KV Racing Technology
  • 2012: 24th Place, Best Finish 13th, Best Start 17th
  • 2013: 13th Place, Best Finish 2nd, Best Start 3rd, 1 Podium, 2 Top-5, 9 Top-10, 0 Laps Led, 15.4 Avg. Start, 12.6 Avg. Finish

DiZinno says: This was always supposed to be Simona’s breakout season with a switch to KV and a sixth at St. Petersburg – which would have been a podium but for fading tires – provided the first glimpse that the popular Swiss was back in the game after a year in the Lotus wilderness. But despite a quick start, she and the KV team fell into the lower midfield in the midseason even as her confidence on ovals improved. It wasn’t until Mid-Ohio that everything clicked once more and fortunately de Silvestro was able to finish with a flourish, five straight top-10s including her first podium at Houston Race 1. It was a big step forward for her as she and her management team evaluates potential suitors in 2014.

Estrada says: De Silvestro’s 2013 season can be summed up in six words: Good start, bad middle, good finish. Three Top-10s in the first four races were nice to see from her after being saddled with the appallingly bad Lotus engine in 2012, but as summer took hold, she fell back considerably with just one Top-10 in the next 10 races. However, things came back around for her as the season wound down and the runner-up performance in Houston Race 1 must have felt exceptional for her considering what she went through the year before. She feels confident that things are coming together for her in IndyCar, and I’m inclined to agree.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force qualifies 15th with no motor explosion, says ‘I need to race smart’ Sunday

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There’s good news and bad news for John Force fans.

The good news is the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ did not suffer yet another motor explosion after enduring his third in three races during Friday’s qualifying session at Gainesville (Florida) Raceway.

In fact, Force intentionally feathered the gas pedal on his Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car to make sure it wasn’t again overtaxed, qualifying 15th with a run of 4.281 seconds at 222.88 mph.

Now for the bad news.

When Sunday’s final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. ET, Force will be matched against daughter and No. 2 qualifier, Courtney Force (3.914 seconds at 332.18 mph).

“It is a little bit of a bummer that I have to race him in the first round,” Courtney Force said of her father. “Tomorrow is a new day and we will have all our stuff ready and we will put on our game faces to go for that win.”

Courtney Force is seeking her second consecutive win, having also won two weeks ago at the second national event of the season in suburban Phoenix.

“I want to have a good side-by-side safe race tomorrow in round one,” Force said. “Our goal is to take my dad down and have a long day at the track winning rounds.

“We want to move the momentum over from Phoenix. I feel like my guys have a good handle on this Advance Auto Parts Camaro.”

But don’t count out dear old dad, an eight-time Funny Car winner at Gainesville.

“I am the kind of guy that, when it is qualifying day, I run it to the edge.,” John Force said. “I run it even if I know it will hurt itself.

“(With his three motor explosions this season) I am rethinking all that. What I am looking is the long haul. To go out here and say I have to win this race or I have to qualify low after as much stuff as we have put on the ground in Pomona and Phoenix and then to come here and do it again is bad. … We want to fix this problem and move on.

“Tomorrow I am going to have to play the odds game. I am going to run it to 700 or 800 feet and hope (Courtney) gets in trouble. I need to race smart.”

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