Argentinian race driver Estaban Guerrieri claimed victory at the end of the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 event on Friday afternoon, the traditional weekend support race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before the Indy 500 on Sunday.
Guerrieri had qualified poorly for the race in 11th on the grid in the #11 Pistas Argentinas/Sam Schmidt Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian car, and then been sent to the back of the field for a pre-race engine change. Instead, it was 21-year-old Colombian Gustavo Yacaman who had claimed his first Firestone Indy Lights series pole position on Thursday with a two-lap aggregate time of 1:35.9913s (an average speed of 187.517 mph). It had also been the first pole in the Freedom 100 for Team Moore Racing, breaking a three-year stranglehold on the top spot for SSM.
"Everything on that car had to be perfect to do what we just did. The car was great and the first lap was really fast," Yacaman said after his qualifying run. "To be honest, this kind of oval is more about the car, the team and the engineer than the driving really. I owe it all to my team."
Joining Yacuman on the front row of the grid for the start of the 40-lap, 100-mile race was Victor Carbone in the #3 Mav TV/Nevoni/SSM with Curb-Agajanian car, with Carlos Munoz taking third place in the #26 Team Dialy-Ser for Andretti Autosport. The first driver to run in qualifying, Jorge Goncalvez, ended up starting the #4 Belardi Auto Racing car from fourth place, while series points leader Sebastian Saavedra - who will also compete in the Indianapolis 500 with Andretti Autosport - was only able to manage a 10th place start. "It was not what I was expecting, I thought we could have quite a bit stronger pace," he admitted.
The race itself saw an early multi-car wreck on lap 5 in turn 2 triggered by SSM rookie Oliver Webb and Team E's Brandon Wagner touching which promptly collected Team Moore Racing's David Ostella sending all three into hard contact with the SAFER barrier.
"You've just got to be patient," said a frustrated Wagner. "We were going four-wide: that's fine and all, but when you're only on the fifth lap of the race, that's just crazy. Unfortunately, we had the position going into 2, and the #7 just came down on top us. I don't know what happened. I don't know if he didn't see me."
"Ostella, coming up behind me, started to come down," explained Webb from his vantage point of the accident. "He cleared my right and made contact with someone who made a late move down to my inside and touched my rear tyre. Anyone higher than me, we were all collected together. A disappointing way to finish my first Freedom 100."
"Going into turn 2, the guys in front of me kind of just touched and spun," said Ostrella. "I tried to go high, but I just got collected."
Emerson Newton-John in the #42 Fan Force United spun in avoidance and ended up collecting the #15 Younessi Racing car of Peter Dempsey. All of the drivers involved were checked by medical staff and required no further treatment.