Pietro Fittipaldi No Stranger To Ovals In IndyCar Debut

Dale Coyne Racing’s Pietro Fittipaldi gets dialed in for his IndyCar debut weekend. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones)

All things considered, Pietro Fittipaldi will compete in various motorsports series this year. In fact, the 21-year-old will compete in the Super Formula, IndyCar, and FIA World Endurance Championship.

No doubt, road courses will comprise the majority of Fittipaldi’s schedule. However, there is nothing more unique than oval racing.

Oftentimes, some forget that Fittipaldi has more experience on ovals than at first blush.

Notably, Fittipaldi was crowned the Hickory Speedway Track Champion in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.

However, driving an open-wheel car on an oval is a different beast.

Interestingly, the race at ISM Raceway was Fittipaldi’s first oval race in six years.

“I used to race ovals with late model (stock cars),” Fittipaldi observed. “But, this is going to be my first real open-wheel oval race, so I’m really excited.”

Before they went green…

As it were, Fittipaldi demonstrated poise prior to and during qualifying at ISM Raceway.

On Friday, Fittipaldi finished the first practice session in 14th place. Although teammate Sebastien Bourdais captured the pole, the 21-year-old Miami, FL native qualified tenth in his IndyCar debut.

“A first top-ten in my first Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying, so I’m happy with that,” Fittipaldi said. “The Dale Coyne team has done a great job in getting me up to speed.”

In final practice, Fittipaldi and his No. 19 Honda was the slowest. That said, he was only eight tenths off the pace-setting car of Charlie Kimball.

Take the short way home…

During the race, Fittipaldi’s weekend came to an erupt end on lap 41 after making slight contact with the wall. Consequently, he placed 23rd.

“We were running well, but then I caught a group of cars, and I ran a bit hard,” Fittipaldi remarked. “There was a lot of turbulence. With that group of cars, I wasn’t expecting that much difference. The Paysafe car just went away from me.”

At any rate, ISM Raceway was the first of seven IndyCar races scheduled for Fittipaldi. Presently, he is sharing the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Paysafe Honda ride with Canadian Zachary Claman De Melo.

In the meantime, Fittipaldi will run both Indianapolis races (May), Texas (June 9), Mid-Ohio (July 29), Portland (Sept. 2), and Sonoma (Sept. 16).

After leaving the stock car racing scene, Fittipaldi moved to Europe. While overseas, he gravitated towards open-wheel racing.

Nevertheless, the versatile driver is no stranger to oval racing. It ushered the beginning of a new era for a famous racing family. Ultimately, the Indycar rookie will carry on the family legacy founded by grandfather Emerson Fittipaldi.

Kobe Lambeth

My name is Kobe Lambeth and I am a sophomore at UNC-Charlotte. I have been a NASCAR fan since 2007, and my dream is to work in the motorsports industry. In June 2017, my journey began as a freelance journalist and social media specialist for RockinghamNow covering high school sports, and leading a Twitter project in hopes of providing expanding coverage throughout the community, with a goal of significantly increasing the number of followers on multiple accounts. At The Podium Finish, my goal is to provide professional coverage of various disciplines of motorsports such as NASCAR, IndyCar, and the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.

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