St. Petersburg, Florida, USA – Monday 31 March, 2014

Tough Start For Matthew Brabham

Matthew Brabham's pursuit of the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires title got off to a rocky start, as the young rookie finished ninth after losing a lap to replace a damaged wheel at the opening race in St. Petersburg, FL.

After qualifying was cancelled due to severe weather on Saturday, starting positions were based on practice times. Unfortunately a broken second gear curtailed the Andretti Autosport driver's session, but he still managed the third quickest time which boded well for a strong race.

Sunny clear skies greeted the teams on Sunday, and expectations were high in the Matty Brabs camp. A clean start had the #83 MAZDASPPEED / United Fiber & Data car maintain third through the first corner, however a big single car accident involving Scott Anderson brought out the pace car before the first lap was completed.

On the restart Brabham was immediately pressing Gabby Chaves for second place, but then the third generation driver made a rare mistake and clipped the inside wall which sent him into the outside wall, breaking the right rear wheel and bending the suspension. After changing the wheel the team deemed the car safe to return to the track to try and pick up valuable championship points.

“It was looking good there at the start... I just made a mistake and clipped the wall; my own fault. I’m disappointed in myself and disappointed for the team - I let the United Fiber & Data/Mazda guys down. Mistakes happen, so I’ll forget about this one and start looking forward to Long Beach,” Matthew said.

The next race is with the Verizon Indy Car Series at Long Beach, CA on April 13th.

Image @ Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography