Dempsey revs up for return in new car
PETER Dempsey believes his brand-new car can carry him to glory in the biggest race of his career in Indianapolis on Friday.
The persistent Ashbourne racer has finally found the funding to resume his career in the top category below Indycars and is chomping at the bit to show that his forced inactivity at the first three rounds of the Firestone Indylights championship has not left him ring rusty.
Having tested successfully with the small Younessi team at the fabled 2.5-mile 'Brickyard' super speedway last week, Dempsey is looking forward to testing his mettle against the top up-and-coming, US-based racers in the biggest single race of the Indy Lights season.
Friday's 40-lap Freedom 100 takes place two days ahead of the Indianapolis 500, the race that it has been Dempsey's ambition to be a part of since he left Ireland for the US five years ago.
Last year's Freedom 100 produced a sixth-place finish for Dempsey at the wheel of an O2 Racing Technology-run Dallara.
Dempsey also ran with Michael Andretti's famous team for five events but funding issues meant he only raced nine of the 13 races before the end of the year and then had a long wait to put together a deal to get back on the grid.
Now, though, the hard-working former Formula Ford star has been picked up by the small Younessi Racing team, which has expanded from a one-car operation for owner-driver Rodin Younessi to a two-car.
Dempsey will be the team's sole representative in Indianapolis before Younessi, a 42-year-old entrepreneur and attorney in his first year in Indy Lights competition, rejoins the fray at the next round.
With trackside engineering support from Dave McMillan, who linked well with Dempsey at O2 Racing Technology last year, Dempsey believes that he has the tools at his disposal to make an impression on the series' regular runners.
"I couldn't be happier about returning for the Freedom 100 at IMS," Dempsey said. "Having Dave McMillan back working with me is a huge advantage as we have established a great working relationship."
The new combination were 15th fastest of 17 runners in their first outing at last week's test session at IMS but with all the cars covered by six-tenths of a second and the inevitable bedding-in process for team and car, there is little to be read into that performance.
All concerned were happy to get a full test day at IMS under their belt.
"I was pleased with the team's effort," said Younessi.
"The car is basically brand new and we have a new driver and new engineer. The progress that the team has made in the past week is tremendous."
"The car was very stable today, both alone and in traffic," said Dempsey.
"The Younessi Racing team has come a long way with this car in the past couple of weeks. I am very confident in this team and I believe that our chances for success are very high."