IndyCar Driver Review: Sebastian Saavedra


As MotorSportsTalk continues its 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series driver-by-driver review, we come to 21st. P21 is last of the full-timers, Sebastian Saavedra… which are the exact same words I wrote last year.


Sebastian Saavedra

  • Team: KV/AFS Racing
  • 2013: 21st Place, Best Finish 8th, Best Start 6th, 2 Top-10, 0 Laps Led, 17.7 Avg. Start, 18.3 Avg. Finish
  • 2014: 21st Place, Best Finish 9th, 1 Pole, 1 Top-10, 14 Laps Led, 17.2 Avg. Start, 16.9 Avg. Finish

For a second straight year, I hate to say it but I once again had a hard time even realizing Sebastian Saavedra was in the field. Being anonymous at Dragon Racing is one thing, but failing to do hardly any better a year later with a better team in KV/AFS Racing was not what the 24-year-old Colombian needed.

On-track he had really only two highlight-reel moments, and they both came in the same weekend, at the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis. He captured a shock and well-executed pole in mixed conditions, but then stalled on the grid from pole and was contacted by fellow youngsters Carlos Munoz and Mikhail Aleshin in perhaps the most violent impact of the season.

Otherwise there was little to write home about. He posted a decent drive to ninth at Long Beach and he was on pace for a possible podium in Iowa. But that Long Beach result marked his only top-10 result of the season; his qualifying wasn’t much better (17.2 average after 17.7 last year) and he barely outscored the Ed Carpenter Racing pair of Mike Conway and Ed Carpenter on his own. Saavedra’s a nice enough guy, but he has had several chances to prove his worth at this level, and still has yet to deliver on his potential.

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.