AVONDALE, La. – Fourth place in her second straight one-off race made for a good result for Simona de Silvestro, driver of Andretti Autosport’s No. 25 Honda.
De Silvestro, who started 18th due to entrant points for Sunday’s Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, was fourth among those on the alternate strategy call, thanks to a collaboration with her strategist Rob Edwards, the team’s director of race operations and engineering.
“In the the rain we were going pretty well, then we had a pretty good call there on the pits to come in and put the slicks on and the second stop was also a really good call,” she told NBCSN. “So I think that’s how we shuffled forward.
“From there on, I was able to pass TK (Tony Kanaan), so I feel really happy, for the team and myself, second race back to finish fourth and that’s not something we were expecting after the way the weekend started, but sometimes things fall your way and they did today and we’re really happy about it.”
She elaborated further on how she and Edwards could gamble on the strategy, as she last pitted on Lap 30.
“Because of where we were starting, we kind of knew we could gamble something,” she elaborated post-race. “We weren’t really strong the whole weekend, we didn’t have the pace to run up front and the conditions today really helped us.
“I really like these conditions when I have to figure out where things are going and it worked out really well. On the one restart Filippi lost right in front of me and I got sent back a little bit and maybe that opened the window even more to come in the pits.”
This marked de Silvestro’s first rain race in more than two years.
“It’s hard to say, in the rain I thought it was OK,” she said of the conditions. “I think even for me getting back in a race car and driving in the rain. I haven’t done that in over two years and I got more confident. In the dry, the track wasn’t great, but it seemed OK and pretty quick. It seemed like the tires were there right away on the restarts.”
Her fourth place was a needed tonic on a day when teammates Carlos Munoz and Marco Andretti ended 12th and 13th, and Ryan Hunter-Reay ended with a wrecked car following his late-race contact with Simon Pagenaud and Sebastien Bourdais.
As of now, her next scheduled race is the Indianapolis 500 in the TE Connectivity-backed No. 29 Honda. But ideally this serves as a springboard for one or more of the three remaining races between now and then.