Frustrating finish for Simona

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:44 AM ET

If E.J. Viso had sent Tomas Scheckter into the tires like that, he’d be ducking a pair of gloves on the next lap.

Knock Paul Tracy or Alex Tagliani out of the hunt with the sort of reckless move he tried and failed Sunday and there might have been a fight.

But Simona de Silvestro is too nice to make a scene, at least this early in her rookie season, so Viso escapes without the smack he so richly deserves.

But de Silvestro ain’t happy.

Nor should she be.

The 21-year-old was having the weekend of her young career, running sixth through 25 laps after qualifying seventh (both personal bests) when Viso clipped her from behind in an ill-conceived passing attempt, spinning her into the tires and essentially ruining her day.

“I think it’s a little bit stupid,” sighed de Silvestro, who despite driving for one of the smaller underdogs on the circuit was keeping up with the big dogs like Penske and Ganassi.

“We (she and Viso) were both running in the top 10 at the time. It’s really hard to do that in the Indy Car series because everybody is so competitive. To ruin a race like that is pretty shameful.

“It’s definitely (frustrating) because we had a great starting position and we were really hanging in there. We drove away from people who were behind us and we were looking good.

“Then Viso tried an impossible move and hit us. It’s really a shame because we were quicker than him until then and he just kind of banzai’d it. It’s a shame for the team because we were running really well. I think we could have finished where we were.”

She fell to 20th after the wipeout, but fought hard to get back in it. She spent the next 30 laps fighting her way up the leaderboard, all the way up 11th with five laps to go, when the second stroke of bad luck hit.

“We were trying to make some positions up but we were way in the back in the dirty air and were having some trouble,” she said.

“At the end, five laps to go, something failed on the car and shut the engine off.”

The end result was 18th, a finish that doesn’t at all represent how well she drove and how much her small-market HVM Team managed to squeeze out of its car.

“We were really quick, the car was really good the whole race long,” said de Silvestro, who was named rookie of the year in the last Indy 500. “We were really moving forward. Even with getting hit we could have had a good finish. I don’t know what quite happened at the end, just tough luck, I guess.

“It’s funny, it seems like every time we qualify really well something bad happens to us.

“But I think we worked really well this weekend and we’re going to try and do the same in Mid-Ohio. We just have to keep believing in it. I’m sure one day it’s going to come for us.

“I think we can be really happy with what we did but it’s a shame that the results didn’t show what we were doing in the race.”

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca


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