INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – With both their debut USF2000 victory at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and a strong outing at last week’s oval test at Lucas Oil Raceway now behind them, JAY Motorsports and its trio of drivers are more motivated than ever to hit the 5/8-mile banked oval on Saturday night (May 24) for the annual ‘Night Before the 500’ event. Series freshman Adrian Starrantino is riding the emotional wave of a huge win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, his first in the series, while fellow USF2000 rookie Colton Herta has been extremely impressive since his debut at Barber Motorsports Park back in April, having hit the ground running. As the team’s veteran, third-year pilot Henrik Furuseth has experience racing at the facility, which will certainly give him an edge once the wheel-to-wheel action gets underway.
"It has been a long process, but I feel like we finally have a team put together that can really challenge for race wins every event,” offered Jay Green, owner of JAY Motorsports. “Our team continues to get stronger and I feel like we showed our speed at IMS by having the fastest cars in a majority of the sessions. I can't wait to get to the oval and continue to build our young team!"
The squad made a strategic call during the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, installing Cooper slicks to Starrantino’s car during the rain-soaked opening race of the doubleheader in an effort to leverage the fact that the track was drying rapidly and a fast lap would give them a better starting spot for Race #2. Despite giving up track position in the first race, this approach proved success as Starrantino started from pole and won the race following an exciting battle with two of the series frontrunners. The momentum from this victory has been huge for the team and for Adrian, and no doubt aided in the subsequent success at the oval test last week.
“The team’s first test day at Lucas Oil Raceway was a successful one,” Starrantino commented. “We ran in the top-three all day and worked hard on getting a car that we can race with. I feel comfortable putting the car wherever I need to on-track and I think that will be key. I can't thank the team enough for the effort that they put day in and day out to give me the best car possible.”
Starrantino is not the only rookie on the team, as 14-year-old Colton Herta made his USF2000 debut in late April at Barber Motorsports Park, showing great pace from the start. The young Californian was at the top of the speed charts during the entire Indy event, and provided an incredible run from the tail of the field to fifth in Race #1. Herta is learning so much with every outing, as the focus this year is about gaining experience in the program. That said, his outright speed has been tremendous and a race win is definitely a possibility. Herta was quick as well as the recent test out at Lucas Oil Raceway, and like everyone on the team, he is ready to go racing this coming Saturday night.
“I am very excited to be coming into this weekend knowing how much time we put into the car, and how much effort the team has put into helping me learn how to drive an oval,” added Herta, who runs as JAY Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian. “The anticipation is building up more and more as the week goes on and I can't wait to get out on track.”
Furuseth, the team’s ‘veteran’ driver, ran on the ‘Night Before the 500’ event last year and this experience will surely provide him with additional knowledge and patience come race-time. The Norwegian has been very quick to begin the 2014 campaign and as his team gels around it’s rookie pilots, it will only get stronger. Henrik has three top-10 finishes to his credit this season and was fifth in the second race at Indianapolis.
"I am super excited for our oval race coming up at Lucas Oil Raceway,” Furuseth offered, preparing to return to the track where he finished sixth in 2013 as a rookie. “With this being my second year running the event, I feel very well prepared. I enjoyed racing on the oval last year and I am confident we can fight for the win this season. The official test day there was pretty good for us, we learned some things that will help us going in to the race weekend. "
The drivers will be on-track for two extended practice sessions on Friday at 3:45 pm and 8:00 pm. On Saturday, they will be back on the asphalt oval for two more sessions (11:30 am and 12:45 pm) ahead of single-car qualifying at 4:10 pm. The 75-lap main event is scheduled for 7:40 pm as part of an exciting night that will include the Pro Mazda Championship and the USAC Midgets, all in front of a packed grandstand of race fans. About JAY Motorsports:
JAY Motorsports, LLC is a family owned and operated racing organization based in Florida. Led by former racer Jay Green, the team became one of the highest rated customer service representatives within the SCCA's spec categories. With countless wins in SCCA Club and Pro competition, the team became a mainstay in junior driver development over the years. By winning the 2009 and 2012 SCCA Formula Enterprises National Championships, they propelled their drivers to win spots on the prestigious MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Team in 2009 and 2012. In addition to the 2009 and 2012 Runoffs gold medals,
JAY Motorsports was the 2006 MARRS Spec Racer Ford champion, 2007 SCCA National Great Lakes Division Spec Racer Ford champion, 2008 SCCA National Great Lakes Division Spec Racer Ford and Formula Enterprises champion, 2008 SCCA Great Lakes/Central Division Formula Car Magazine Formula Enterprises champion, 2008 Carolina Cup Pro Series Spec Racer Ford champion, and 2009 SCCA Southeast Division ECR Spec Racer Ford champion. In 2012, JAY Motorsports entered the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda full-time, contesting both the National and Championship classes. Building on multiple top-10 finishes in its rookie campaign, the squad stood on the podium twice in 2013. This season, JAY Motorsports is running a multi-car operation in pursuit of the Rookie of the Year award and series title.