Choi shined in qualifying and Megenbier completed great recovery drive in Night Before the 500
MINNEAPOLIS, MIN. – Afterburner Autosport showed good speed in its oval racing debut on Saturday night (May 27) during the renowned Night Before the 500 at Lucas Oil Raceway. While an early race incident ultimately prevented the Minnesota squad from showing its true pace, Heamin Choi was one of the highlights in single-car qualifying, and second-year racer Timmy Megenbier executed a great recovery drive on the banked oval.
After a solid start to its rookie campaign in the USF2000 Championship via races on a road course and a street circuit back in March, the Minnesota-based team traveled to Indianapolis to embark on yet another new challenge...oval racing. With the 0.686-mile banked oval at Lucas Oil Raceway playing host to Round Five, the goal from the outset was for Choi and Megenbier to build on the experience gained during an official test at the track earlier in the month. The talented duo promptly utilized the opening three-hour test and two practice sessions to work on finding the right balance on what can be a tricky track.
Unable to find the desired speed in the three runs, the Afterburner Autosport squad elected to make some major changes to its Van Diemens for single-car qualifying. For Megenbier, it did not bring about the desired effect, with the Caputo Cheese/Rahal Foods/Power Stop supported racer only able to post the 12th best two-lap combined time. Choi's No. 21 F1Pilot.com/Afterburner Autosport car, however, responded to the changes. In what was superb two-lap effort by the Korean rookie, he posted the sixth best time, securing a season-best row three starting position for his oval racing debut.
Given Choi's best qualifying result to date, and Megenbier's previous oval experience - finishing seventh his debut at Lucas Oil Raceway last year - confidence was high under the Afterburner Autosport awning when the cars rolled on-course for Round Five in front of a spirited crowd. Things initially went to plan for Choi and Megenbier when the green flag waved for the planned 75-lap race. It, unfortunately, wasn't to last, as the start of lap two witnessed Choi spinning midway through turn one and being impacted by other cars. While the crash proved to be a scary affair, with Choi being transported to the local hospital for observations, he was subsequently released.
The heartbreak of the early race incident did not end for Afterburner Autosport with Choi, as Megenbier was also involved. With nowhere to go, the Chicago-area native struck another car, damaging the front of racing steed. Remaining calm and focused, Megenbier quickly dove into pitlane for repairs. Thanks to some stellar work by the Afterburner mechanics, a new nose was fitted, allowing Megenbier to rejoin the race without losing a lap.
When the action resumed after a lengthy full-course caution, Megenbier commenced an exciting charge from the rear of the field. The second-year racer displayed great racecraft, working his way back up the charts in what was ultimately a time shortened race. At the conclusion of the 46-lap affair, Megenbier was ninth, earning valuable points in a superb recovery drive.
The chase for an inaugural Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda race win for Afterburner Autosport now takes a hiatus until August 3-4, when Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course plays host to Rounds Six and Seven.
Afterburner Autosport races with associate sponsorship from www.AuroraBearing.com.
Additional information on Afterburner Autosport is available from the team’s website @ www.afterburnerautosport.com. For direct contact, email email@example.com or call 630-251-1709.
For additional Information on Timmy Megenbier visit www.timmymegenbier.com For direct contact info please contact Patrick Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-693-2564.
Learn more about Heamin Choi at www.f1pilot.com or by direct contact at email@example.com.
Keep up to date via Twitter @ABautosport1 @H3amin @TimmyMeg17 and Facebook pages @ Afterburner-Autosport @ Heamin.Choi @ Timmy.Megenbier.
### About Afterburner Autosport:
Afterburner Autosport was formed in 2010 with the sole purpose of leading the way in the USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda competition. Under the guidance of two-time SCCA Formula Continental National Champion Brian Tomasi and fellow F2000 racer and engineer Tim Walsh, the team has over 20 years of experience in open-wheel competition. The Minnesota, Min.-based squad, having captured two podium finishes in its inaugural pro racing season last year, will make its USF2000 Championship debut in 2012, fielding multiple cars in the top Championship class.