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Saavedra handed Sonoma outing

Sebastian Saavedra will be competing in the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma next month, after Andretti Autosport announced a co-entry with AFS Racing for the Colombian.
Sebastian Saavedra will get his second IZOD IndyCar Series outing of the year at Sonoma on August 26, after Andretti Autosport announced that they were once again pairing up with AFS Racing to field the #17 car for the Colombian.

“I am very excited about this great opportunity," said the 22-year-old racer. "I really enjoy driving in Sonoma; there is something about the place that makes it special."

Saavedra was an IndyCar regular with Conquest Racing in 2011, but struggled for results and to find funding for his last few races, leading him to opt to return to the Firestone Indy Lights series for 2012 and to act as a test and development driver for the Andretti squad. He also got an opportunity to run the #17 co-venture in May at the Indianapolis 500, eventually finishing in 26th place after the car suffered technical problems.

"I'm very proud of Sebastian. Clearly, deciding to run the full season of Firestone Indy Lights was the right one." said Gary Peterson, the owner of AFS Racing. "He's gotten more oval and road course experience, test driven the IndyCars, and run the Indy 500. Now, he's getting another IndyCar opportunity at Sonoma.

"Everything we're doing is putting Seb in an excellent position to build upon his future and help set the stage for a great AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport 2013 program," added Peterson. "He is a talented driver with a great attitude; he has what it takes to become an IndyCar champion.”

Andretti Autosport team principal Michael Andretti echoed those thoughts. “I've been impressed this year with Sebastian," he said. "Running this season in Firestone Indy Lights provides great testing opportunities and is the best decision for Sebastian as he works to advance in the sport. Having the opportunity to run both the Indy 500 and at Sonoma lets him ease into the new DW12 car and back into the Series."

Saavedra is currently third in the Indy Lights championship standings, having claimed one win and five podium positions in the eight races so far.

It was announced earlier in the week that Saavedra would take part in the test day scheduled for Sonoma on August 17 along with his Andretti Autosport team mates Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti. Also scheduled to attend the test are Penske trio Will Power, Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves; Dragon Racing's Sebastien Bourdais; Rahal Letterman Lanigan's Takuma Sato; Schmidt-Hamilton's Simon Pagenaud; and owner-driver Ed Carpenter.

Andretti Autosport is currently riding high in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series, with three back-to-back wins for Hunter-Reay putting the American 34pts ahead of Power at the top of the title battle.



Related Pictures

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Sebastian Saavedra (#17) during practice for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. 12-27 May, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. (c) 2012 F. Peirce Williams (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Sebastian Saavedra at Long Beach. (Photo Courtesy of INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, and his team perform the traditional kissing of the bricks after racing to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, drinks the traditional bottle of milk while celebrating his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, crosses the finish line as he races to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Will Power (left), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, finishes second. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Andy Frame/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Penske team mates Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power race side-by-wide during the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra`s wrecked car is craned away during the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson resplendent in the Rolling Stones livery for the #25 Andretti Autosport Honda in pit lane on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Friday May 22 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson resplendent in the Rolling Stones livery for the #25 Andretti Autosport Honda on track on Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Friday May 22 2015. (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe steps into the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsport Honda in place of the injured James Hinchcliffe. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, May 21 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti and Sage Karam at IMS (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe during practice prior to Qualifying for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race (Photo by: Leigh Spargur)
Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start on the outside of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pagenaud will be joined in the front row by by polestar Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who qualified second fastest for the May 24 race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies second-fastest Sunday, May 17, 2015, and will start in the middle of the front row for the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Power will be joined in the front row by pole sitter Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet  who qualified third for the May 24 race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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