Jeroen Slaghekke Surprises in Night Before the 500

Dutch racing driver Jeroen Slaghekke has managed to surprise by first qualifying in 3rd place and going on to finish 4th after a tough start to his season. This is his best result in his USF2000 season so far for the young driver.

Jeroen Slaghekke surprised his competitors at the Lucas Oil Raceway, which is close to the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. During the only oval race of the season, it was the first time for the ambitious driver that everything fell into place. "A little surprising, because my background in European motorsports means I have next to no oval experience. Last year was my first time here, but that pretty much sums up my total oval experience so far." 

Solid Third in Qualifying

Regardless of the fact that Jeroen only recently joined his new team Belardi Auto Racing, they managed to work well enough together to find a good set up for their USF2000 car. USF2000 is one of the most important series on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder that leads to IndyCar. "The car felt very good in both qualifying and the race, with a very good balance and plenty of grip!" The result was visible in qualifying, where Jeroen qualified a strong third out of twenty one drivers.

During the 75 lap race the only Dutchman in the field was constantly in the top 5. "After the start I've had this season it was a huge relief to be able to maintain my qualifying pace in the race. The car felt good and I could drive the lines that I wanted to." With the track constantly evolving during the race, the balance of the car dropped away slightly in the middle part of the race, before the track came back to suit the car again. This allowed Jeroen to fight back to 4th from 5th place.

Good Boost

“At the end of the race the track came towards us again and I could really push. In the process I managed to put in the second fastest racelap", the driver explained after the race. "The top three was already too far away to put them under pressure. Despite that, I'm still content with fourth place. After a very rough start to the season this is a good boost for morale. I feel happy with the team I'm with and that gives me a lot of confidence for better results in the future races."

In preparation for the fifth (of seven) raceweekend in Toronto, July 19th and 20th, Jeroen Slaghekke will spend some more time in America to test two days at the Mid-Ohio circuit. "The past few months I've been traveling from hotel to hotel and living out of my suitcase. Not that I mind though, it's part of the game and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to reach my goal of becoming an IndyCar driver."

Photos @ Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Saturday May 24, 2014
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