DETROIT, MI – JUNE 3, 2012 – Young David Ostella went back to school this weekend. No books were involved, and the classroom faced nearly all the elements within a short two-day window, but the lessons learned from the 14-turn, 2.07-mile street course during the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix were invaluable to the 20-year-old Maple, ON., resident.
With challenging weather throwing out the first learning curve, Ostella entered the Firestone Indy Lights race weekend ready to study a whole new “course,” that included a new team, new car and a new venue. Due to an unavoidable accident at the Firestone Freedom 100 in Indianapolis, Team Moore and Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb/Agajanian forged a collaboration this weekend to ensure that Ostella would be able to tackle the historic park just across the bridge from his native country. Herta and his team provided the support and the No. 28 car was temporarily converted into the #22 Global Precast/LiUNA entry.
But it was a school of hard knocks, as Ostella soon learned in qualifications, as a hard hit in Turn 14 brought on by a combination of low track temperatures, cold tires and a desire to set a quick time put driver and team under a tremendous deadline to repair the car in just four hours to make the race start.
The incident caused a red flag, eliminating Ostella’s fastest lap time from qualifying contention and putting him in the eighth place starting grid position. “It’s a very unforgiving track,” he said. “It wasn’t as bumpy as I had heard, and I think Toronto may be a bit worse. But it’s definitely challenging. It’s very hard to pass, so it’s all about where you qualify here. I just drove it a bit too hard too soon.”
The Bryan Herta Autosport team galvanized into action and earned a flawless “A” as the Dallara chassis was able to roll off the grid in perfect order just four hours later to take the green for the 45 lap feature around historic Belle Isle park. But class was still in session as track temperatures never came up due the varying conditions and a steady wind picked up to create difficult conditions for the young development series drivers. Due to a lack of track time brought on by rain and long red flag conditions in practice the previous day, Ostella’s lack of study time and preparation for the ultimate test proved to be his Achilles heel as he ended his day after only three laps completed due to damaged suspension from a brush to the wall in Turn 5. “I got to turn Turn 5 and touched the curb a little bit and got in too deep,” said Ostella. “Then I touched the wall and we were done for the day. I felt so bad for the team. They worked so hard to get the car back together after qualifying and I can’t thank them enough for their efforts. They worked non-stop once the car got back to the trailer. It felt awesome out there and I have to thank Bryan Herta and the team for helping us get out here this weekend for the race and letting us use his car. It was a last minute decision and he really pulled through for us.” Ostella’s Team Moore teammate Gustavo Yacaman took home the win this weekend as a brilliant pass on Sam Schmidt Motorsports’ Oliver Webb on Lap 26 put him firmly in the lead to take the checkered flag. It’s the team’s seventh win in the Firestone Indy Lights Series. While the entire weekend was a tough education, the lesson learned was invaluable. In the words of Bryan Herta, now firmly etched in the young Canadian’s mind, “You just have those weekends sometimes, and you just have to put it behind you and move forward.”
The next race on the Firestone Indy Lights Series Schedule will be at the Milwaukee Mile on June 15 at 6:30 pm (local). For more information on David Ostella, visit his website at www.davidostella.com, on twitter @davidostella or on Facebook.