M1 Racing Report: Race One at Indy
 May 9, 2014| 
  • Team News

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — M1 Racing's Nicolas Costa had the drive of the day Friday afternoon in the first race of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires ever held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

The rising star from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil came from the 11th starting position to fourth, only to be hit in the rear with less than 5 minutes remaining in the 35-minute event on IMS's newly redesigned 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course.

Although the driver who hit Costa received a 40-second penalty, Costa ended up 15th in the final rundown instead of somewhere in the top five with his neon-yellow-and-white #99. His car is sponsored by IMM (Impermeabilizacões), Alufama, Oakley and Inova Marketing Esportivo.

Another M1 Racing driver, Jay Horak of Mesa, Ariz., won the Expert class for drivers over 30. His black AutoEnginuity #37 started 17th overall and was never out of the class lead, but he had his hands full just finishing the 19-lap race due to contact at the start. He finished 12th overall.

The third driver for the Dallas-based team at this event, Expert class driver/rookie Jason Rabe of Millville, N.J., was the victim of another driver's miscalculation at the start, as his neon-yellow-and-white #29 was hit in Turn 1 on the initial lap after taking the green flag in 19th position. The contact was substantial enough to the car, which is sponsored by the Macquarie Group and the Monticello Motor Club, that Rabe was forced to retire. He ended up 19th overall and third in the Expert class.

It rained before and after the race, but the event itself was determined to be a dry race. Somehow Costa came from 11th to sixth before the yellow flag waved before even one lap was in the books. He restarted seventh when the green waved again with four laps down, and by the end of lap five he was in fifth place after Kyle Kaiser and Kyle Connery dropped back, Connery minus his car's nose.

There was no full-course caution that time but there was one with nine laps down after Michele Bumgarner ended up against a wall. The green waved again with 11 laps down but only for a minute, as the third-place driver, Ryan Booth, had contact with the leader, Neil Alberico, to bring out another yellow and give Costa one more position.

Costa had been battling with Shelby Blackstock for fourth place while that was going on, and he had to restart in fifth place when the green waved again with 15 laps in the books and about 5 minutes remaining in the race. At that point the top five were Alberico, Scott Hargrove, Kaiser, Blackstock and Costa, but on the fateful lap 16 Hargrove got the lead and the eventual victory; Blackstock moved from fifth to the eventual runner-up position; Alberico dropped to third and Kaiser hit Costa in the rear and knocked him out of the race.  When the checkered dropped three laps later the top five were Hargrove, Blackstock, Alberico, Dalton Kellett and Brandon Newey.

The second half of the doubleheader, which is scheduled for 50 minutes, is slated to get the green flag around noon tomorrow (Saturday).

For more information on M1 Racing, see its Web site at M1Racing.co. It also has a Facebook page and a Twitter account.  Team owner Paul Mata has seats available for funded drivers at other events; for more information contact him at M1RacingInfo@gmail.com.

The series' Web site is at promazdaseries.com.

Costa's Web site is at NicolasCosta.com.br. He has a Facebook page too, and his Twitter handle is @NicolasCosta99.

Rabe's Web site is at JasonRabeRacing.com. His Facebook page, his Twitter account and his Instagram account carry the same name.

Driver quotes follow:

Jay Horak: "On the start, Turn 1 was a catastrophe. Somehow I found a way through, but I don't think I made it through unscathed because the whole race the car had a hard time turning right. I was trying really hard just to stay alive. I honestly don't know if it was safe or not, so I'm very thankful I made it through. It was a handful, to say the least. I finished ahead of my Expert class rivals, but it was the hardest race of my career."

Nicolas Costa: "The start was quite a mess. I dropped to about 12th on the straight, but then in the braking zone in Turns 1 and 2 we got up to sixth. I had to drop back to seventh a little later though because the stewards said I passed one car under the yellow. I don't know.

"I tried my best to go forward, and we got up to fourth. Then I'm not quite sure what happened but I got a hit in the rear in Turn 1 that I didn't see coming.

"My car was unsteering a little but we were right there with our set-up. We were fast. It's just too bad it ended like this. We were all battling it out; everybody was really close.

"The grip was really low due to the rain. The track was greasy too.

"We really need some good luck!"

Jason Rabe: "I had a good start; I think I passed three cars. I was looking to capitalize on some mistakes some other drivers were making. I was set up on the right side, and some guys ahead of me were going very wide. But I got hit in the rear by Bobby Eberle. He locked up the brakes, spun me around and took off my right front, and my race was over in Turn 1.

"We had a dry set-up on and I think we would have done well. With the other attrition in the race, I honestly think we could have been in the top 10.

"The good thing is that we can try again tomorrow."

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