Richard Antinucci has been confirmed to drive the #98 Novicomm Team 3G entry in both the Honda Indy Toronto this week and the Rexall Edmonton Indy on 26 July following a solid debut at Watkins Glen on Sunday.
Antinucci finished 19th in the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen on his IndyCar Series debut with the first-year IndyCar Series team, returning to the circuit for the first time since winning there on the way to overall runners-up honours in the 2008 Firestone Indy Lights championship. He replaced veteran Jaques Lazier behind the wheel of the 3G Dallara-Honda for the road course event, and appears set for a longer run in the car as 3G looks to its second season.
"We have had numerous meetings with potential sponsors for 2010 and Richard would be a great fit for many of them," team co-owner Steve Sudler noted, "As we look towards building this team for the long-term, we feel that Richard will be a great asset to our marketing partners."
"I am really excited to be working with Team 3G again for the Canadian events," Antinucci admitted, "This is a young team made up of very experienced guys who are just as passionate about competing as I am. We are working hard to hopefully build a long-term programme together, and I would love to keep driving for these guys."
After pitting for the first time on lap 17, Antinucci was running in a respectable 13th place when, two laps later, a front upright failure on the #98 car caused it to spin off at turn one. Although repairs were made and Antinucci returned to complete the 60-lap race, he was 13 laps down at the chequered flag.
"Although we aren't able to claim a stunning top three or a glittering top five to reward our effort, I feel happy about myself and the way the team has worked this weekend," the driver, nephew of former IndyCar team owner Eddie Cheever, said.
“I had a good start and didn't have to take excessive risks to keep Rafa Matos' pace. On the contrary, I could push hard and didn't give him any breathing room when I was trailing him, and perhaps that's why he roughed me a tad on lap seven, pushing me off a kerb. But, before the first pit-stop, I was again stuck on his rear wing.
"Sadly, on lap 18, a front upright had a failure and I deem myself lucky that this happened at turn one, where you have some real room to minimise the outcome of these bad breaks. The guys put me back on track but 13 laps down, and I could only focus on pushing as hard as I could.
"The car felt fine, therefore I steadily improved until the end and actually I posted a couple of laps under 1min 32secs in my last and next-to-last lap. On alternate tyres, we were fast and the #98 was also handling the wear of the red tyres well, something that not all the cars managed to do. This confirmed what I had felt after final practice, that our work on the front end of the car was in the right direction.
"Although 19th is not the place I was shooting for on Saturday, my fastest lap was way better than that, rather in the range of a top eight and, on a clear lap, we could possibly post a top six lap, both in practice and in the race. I have to add that Team 3G must share my opinion, since Greg and Steve will offer me a chance to prove just that in the upcoming IndyCar Canadian rounds, and I cannot find enough words to say thanks for that."