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Jul 30, 2013 - 06:24 AM
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Tough Day At Indianapolis Leaves Nunez, Miller Third
Posted by: newsla on Jul 30, 2013 - 06:22 AM
Grand Am News
Tough Day At Indianapolis Leaves Nunez, Miller Third


Even though 17-year-old Tristan Nunez became the youngest professional racecar driver to compete at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, bypassing A.J. Foyt IV's record age of 19 when he started in the 2003 Indianapolis 500, he wasn't celebrating when the checkered flag flew. Nunez and co-driver Joel Miller were leading mid-race when a brake failure sent the No. 00 VISIT FLORIDA Mazda crew in a scramble to return the car to the Brickyard course after repairs. The duo went on to finish third.

 

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"Racing at the Brickyard was a dream come true," said Nunez "It was a really fun track to race on and I had some great racing out there changing leads several times with the Porsche. Our results, however, were disappointing knowing that we were sure to have a 1-2 finish but I'm happy that our #70 won the race and made history. Hats off to our SpeedSource crew for getting our brake issue repaired so quickly that we were able to finish third on the lead lap with VISIT FLORIDA and Mazda!"

After putting in practice sessions that saw Nunez and Miller third and second on the speed charts, Nunez was tasked with qualifying the No. 00 VISIT FLORIDA Mazda for the Brickyard Grand Prix. Heading into qualifications, the duo had turned quick times of 1:36.488 and 1:35.028. During the race for the pole, Nunez turned a quick time of 1:35.184, good enough for second on the starting grid.

Following his qualifying effort, Nunez had the honor of joining such drivers as NASCAR's Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. as celebrity bowlers in Jeff Gordon's 12th annual charity bowling tournament. The Dr. Seuss-themed bowling event at Western Bowl was a highlight for the young driver, being that he was the only GRAND-AM driver in attendance and he was able to get his own photo taken with driver's he's looked up to, including Gordon and Patrick, since he started racing.

Nunez started his day early Friday with a host of interviews and appearances. The high school junior rookie GRAND-AM driver, who became the youngest class winner in Series history earlier this year, was making history at the storied Brickyard-becoming the youngest professional driver to compete at the course in the 104-year history of the track. Many had taken note, seeking to catch a glimpse of the budding star throughout his time at IMS. With his race start, Nunez bypassed A. J. Foyt IV's youngest driver at IMS record of age 19.

The race would start at 5:30 p.m. (ET) with Nunez behind the wheel, rolling from the second position. The Floridian took to the 2.534-mile, 13-turn road course with steep competition for the rookie driver and his co-driver Miller with stars such as reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan among those in the field. As the race started, Nunez fell back initially but regained his composure, working his way to take over the lead on Lap 21. He swapped the top spot with No. 70 driver Tom Long several times throughout the evening. He made two pit stops during his stint, one on an early fuel strategy stop on Lap 11. He then turned the car over to Miller while leading the GX class.

Miller took over with about an hour and half left in the race. Within about 10 minutes, Miller reported back to the SpeedSource crew he had lost his brakes as he entered Turn 8. He then pitted for repairs, relinquishing the lead. After a lengthy stop for maintenance, Miller went back out to finish the race for the No. 00 team with a third-place finish.

Nunez will arguably be one of the busiest drivers during the next racing weekend. The teen will be juggling a schedule at Road America that includes competing in both GRAND-AM Rolex Series' VisitFlorida.com Sports Car 250 and ALMS' Orion Energy Systems 245 in Elkhart Lake, WI. GRAND-AM practice will begin on Thurs., Aug. 8 at 2:30 p.m. with qualifications set for Fri., Aug. 9 at 10:15 a.m. and the race on Sat., Aug. 10 at 4:00 p.m. and shown live on SPEED. ALMS practice will begin on Fri., Aug 9 at 11:50 a.m. with qualifications set for Sat., Aug. 10 at 9:40 a.m. and the race on Sun., and shown live on ABC. All times Central. Live timing and scoring is also available on the respective series' websites. For exact times on all mediums, please check local listings.

In addition to VISIT FLORIDA & MAZDASPEED, Nunez's racing efforts are also supported by: Federal-Mogul's ChampionĀ® Spark Plugs, Bell Helmets, SparCo, OMP, and Uncle Jim. Off the track, Nunez is an advocate for safer driving as part of the Safe American Foundation and his self-made Dnt txt n drV campaign and is represented by Los Angeles-based BRANDed Management.


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