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The False Grid: Juan Piedrahita

After qualifying a career best of third during the opening weekend of the season, sophomore Team Pelfrey driver Juan Piedrahita is benefiting from familiarity heading into the second weekend of the season at Barber Motorsports Park.

Just last week, Piedrahita and the No. 2 Polipetrosur Team Pelfrey Mazda crew conducted an early season test at the 2.3-mile road course in anticipation for redemption. Hopes are high for the 24-year-old and the second-year team as we caught up with him on Monday.

After your Barber test last week, what do you feel like the team improved on the most?

“I think we had a great test because we improved the set up of the car and also I felt very confident driving it, confidence is a big thing at this track because you really have to push the car on the high speed change of elevation corners so I would say the team and I made a big step on the right direction.”

What do you think makes Barber such a unique track?

“The elevation changes and the high speed corners make it very challenging. We face some of the highest g-force loads of the season here. The corners are also very unique, because you are dealing with variety, unlike a flat street course or banked oval.”

What do you particularly like about this circuit?

“I like the commitment you need to have in order to compete around the circuit. You must challenge all of the corner entries and deal with the car getting loose when it unloads over the crest.”

How has working with Pato O’Ward improved the team?

“I think he helps on all fronts, the team, myself and our approach to competing in every session. He provides great feedback and it always helps having an extra voice and opinion in debriefs.”

What are your expectations for the weekend in Alabama?

“We want to be on the podium and challenge for victories. We were one of the fastest cars at the test and we proved that we’re a team to be reckoned with in the Indy Lights paddock and the rest of the Mazda Road to Indy. For us, it’s a realistic goal.”

Track activity begins on Friday at 2:45 p.m. ET with the first practice session. You can watch Juan and the rest of the Team Pelfrey Indy Lights team by tuning in to RoadToIndy.TV all weekend long and by following @TeamPelfrey on social media for the latest news and updates.

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