After a lengthy rain delay, the Milwaukee IndyFest started well for Simona De Silvestro and the Lotus HVM Racing team. The #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy car started 23rd on the grid and had some over-steer issues early on. De Silvestro made some adjustments in the car and settled into a good race pace.
De Silvestro was running 22nd when she entered the pits on lap 59. The team made tire and wing adjustments before re-entering the track. Just 8 laps later De Silvestro got into the marbles and brushed the wall in turn 3. De Silvestro was taken to the infield care center where she was examined and released.
As she left the care center she had this to say, "I just made a mistake. TK (Tony Kanaan) passed me and Oriol (Servia) tried to tuck behind him, and I just got in the marbles. It's just unfortunate. Sometimes you make mistakes; that's what happens."
The team was hopeful that the damage was minor and could be repaired, but unfortunately once the car was returned to the garage it was determined that there wasn't enough time to make repairs and return to the race.
De Silvestro felt bad for the team. "It's pretty unfortunate," she said. "I made a bit of a mistake and ended up in the marbles and put an end to our day. It's a shame because I think we had a pretty good race car. I want to thank the team. I'm really sorry to have put them in this situation. It would have been nice to have finished the race and learn. But, I guess I learned a lot because I made a mistake that I'm not going to do again next time."
Shane Seneviratne, team manager, was equally happy with the way the race was going before the contact in turn 3. "It looked like it was going to turn out to be a good race," he said. "Simona had good pace. Her car was a little over-steering in the beginning, but she made some adjustments in the car giving her a good car. At the first pit stop we made a few more adjustments. She was running a good pace, but unfortunately we got caught out when Kanaan went by us; we got into the grey and she brushed the wall."
The team now heads to Newton, Iowa for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 next Saturday, June 23. The race will air on NBC Sports Network at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time.