Belle Isle, MI – May 30, 2015 – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports drivers James Jakes and Conor Daly earned hard-fought twelfth- and nineteenth-place finishes, respectively, on Saturday afternoon for the first race of two in the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans.
Jakes started the race from a season-best tenth place spot. He gained one spot on the first lap and was charging forward when contact from Stefano Coletti on lap five put him into the tire barrier. Initially, he went two laps down, but was able to gain one back during a subsequent yellow flag.
From that point forward, Jakes stayed focused and fought his way through the field, at one point running as high as eighth.
With approximately 30 minutes remaining in the race, heavy rains fell on the track, causing a full-course yellow. Ultimately, lightning in the area caused a red flag and the remainder of the race was called off. Jakes finished in twelfth.
“It was just frustrating, really, but nice to finish twelfth after being two laps down,” said Jakes. “We were involved in an incident that wasn’t our fault, which was a shame because the No. 7 SPM MediaTech Honda was running in the top ten. We made a couple of good decisions early on and it felt like we were going to be in for a good day. It just wasn’t meant to be but there are some positives we can take away and there’s always tomorrow.”
Daly, filling in for the injured James Hinchcliffe for the Detroit races, started from the 21st spot and after a series of caution-filled stints in the first 25 laps, managed to come out in fifth.
During a restart on lap 33, Daly’s No. 5 Arrow Electronics car was hit by Ryan Hunter-Reay, giving him a flat tire and forcing him into pit lane. One lap later, he had to pit again to change the rear wing. He would shuffle back to nineteenth place, where he would finish the day.
“We made a great call at the beginning of the race to jump a few guys on strategy,” said Daly. “Then we ran really competitively with those guys at the front in the top eight and honestly, we were just the victim of a restart bunch-up. There were a couple cars that were going and stopping, going and stopping. Sadly, the accordion effect got us. I don’t think it’s really anyone’s fault but we were just the victim.
“I think the No. 5 Arrow Electronics car was great and we had great pit stops. I was super happy to be running at the front but we just have to go get ’em tomorrow.”
On Sunday, Jakes and Daly will get another shot at Victory Lane when the Verizon IndyCar Series hits the track again for the second “Dual in Detroit” race. Qualifying will take place on Sunday from 11:25-11:55 a.m. ET and the 70-lap competition will air on ABC starting at 3:30 p.m. ET.