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May 28, 2013
Indianapolis, IN - Peter Portante, of Plainville Connecticut, claimed a third-place podium finish at the 68th Annual Visit Hendricks County "Night Before the 500" with the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. This was Portante's first podium in the #41 Belardi Auto Racing (Intercity Lines, Inc., California Scents, Beurre & Sel, B&R Electrical Contractors, Randy's Wooster Street Pizza, Northern Construction, Velez Computer Systems, Pagliaccis Restaurant) race car as well as his first podium with the USF2000 Championship.
Portante had a very strong single car qualifying session which put him in the fourth-place starting position. He was able to maintain not only the track record but the pole position for most of the session, but would ultimately be knocked down to fourth with a time of 43.220.
"We had really good results," Portante spoke of his qualifier. "The car is really strong and consistent so I think we'll be good for the race."
The race itself was rather intense in its 75 laps. Portante got an early jump on the group at the Start/Finish line on the green flag which gained him one position. Once the leaders began to catch lap traffic, the hunt was on. Portante navigated through the traffic with no problems allowing him to catch the second position car easily. After a risky three-wide move going into Turn Three, Portante overtook the second position.
He then began to pull away from the group thinking of nothing but the win. With each lap Portante gained on the leader, but with five laps to go he lost second position to a much faster car but was able to hold on to the third spot at he checkers.
"I'm really happy for our first podium," Portante said after the race. "We lost a little stability to [Garett] Grist but kept strong. Belardi Auto Racing has such great cars and hopefully we can keep this momentum going for the rest of the season."
After the solid weekend Portante had at Lucas Oil Raceway he will return home to Connecticut and to Late Model racing until the next Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda races on the streets of Toronto July 13-14. To keep up to date on all things Peter Portante follow him on Twitter @portante24 or visit his website: http://www.peterportante.com.
Category: Team News
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