Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Battistini: In At Conquest?

As was first reported over the weekend and again yesterday, Dillon Battistini is testing with Conquest Racing at Kentucky this week, with an eye towards joining the team for the race at the start of October.

Nothing is set in stone yet, with a couple of rumors still swirling around the team's vacancies for the remaining two races of the 2011 season. But for the 33 year-old Battistini, racing at Kentucky would be a long-awaiting rookie debut. The English driver won four races in his first Lights season in 2008, but has only competed sporadically since then. Before that, he was 2007 Asian F3 champion in the waning years of that series.

For Battistini, the wait could be over.
(Courtesy IndyCar Media)
On Conquest's side, there's not been much to cheer about this year. Sebastian Saavedra missed Indy and was on the outside looking in in terms of TEAM money when he ran out of funds before Japan. Even their replacement for Japan, J.P. de Oliveira, retired with mechanical issues after a promising start. Although many thought the team might go with a Tomas Scheckter or Bertrand Baguette entry for Kentucky to attempt to grab some TEAM points, it appears they're going a different route.

If Battistini does get the ride for Kentucky, it will be his first IndyCar race. He's tested before, but this would be his first chance to show what he could do. And it isn't a hopeless situation--there would be low expectations for the team in general, but they did qualify P6 and finish P10 at Kentucky in 2010 with Bertrand Baguette.

Further, not many people remember, but Battistini did test in an IndyCar at Kentucky in 2008. Although nothing came of it, at least this won't be coming in with absolutely zero experience.

This is the sort of item we thought we might see more and more this year--with the current Dallara on the way out, some long-waiting drivers finally get a chance to fulfill a dream and drive in the IZOD IndyCar Series. What happens to them after that, of course, is an entirely different story, and one they've yet to write.

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