INDIANAPOLIS (June 8, 2015) – Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) announced today that AFS Racing/Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc. and Sebastian Saavedra will return to the team’s Verizon IndyCar Series lineup to pilot the No. 8 AFS Chevrolet at this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto (June 14, 3pm ET, NBCSN).
AFS, of the western states largest full service fire sprinkler companies, returns with Saavedra for his fourth start with the team this season (Long Beach, Grand Prix of Indianapolis and Indianapolis 500) after the opportunity arose for primary sponsorship on the No. 8 entry.
NOTES OF INTEREST
Sebastian Saavedra: The Colombian driver began his racing career in karting at eight years old, then moved to race in Europe and became the youngest rookie champion in F3 with multiple wins. In 2009, Saavedra came to America and signed to drive in the Indy Lights Series with Andretti Green Racing, where he captured two wins and a runner-up finish in the championship that season. He made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in the Indianapolis 500 in 2010 for Bryan Herta Autosport, and the 24-year-old has 59 starts to his credit with a pole position coming in last year’s inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
About AFS: AFS Racing is owned by Gary Peterson, the founder of Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc. The team was formed in 2002 and was one of the founding members of the Infiniti Pro Series (now Indy Lights). The team earned over 40 top-five finishes in Indy Lights, winning the championship in 2008 and 2009. AFS Racing, which began competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2009, will contest its seventh IndyCar season in 2015.
History of the No. 8: The No. 8 car made its debut with the Target Racing program at CGRT in 1991, one year after the team’s inception, in the CART series with Eddie Cheever behind the wheel. After a two-year hiatus, the No. 8 returned to the program with team newcomer Michael Andretti. Andretti earned CGRT’s first-ever win in the No. 8 car in Australia. The No. 8 car would not return until 2013, when Ryan Briscoe piloted the number in the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 and continued to drive the No. 8 full-time in the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
Sebastian Saavedra, Driver, AFS Chip Ganassi Racing: “I can’t wait to rejoin the No. 8 team for the Toronto race. The teams have been making big gains in speed the last few races. I feel a lot of momentum coming off the Texas race where Scott and Tony finished one-two so things are definitely clicking. I know the cars are usually good at Toronto after watching Dario and Dixon win consistently there the last several years. My foot is back to 100% after Indianapolis and I’ll be ready to go race this weekend.”