INDIANAPOLIS—Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. A successful race strategy, savvy driving in wet conditions, a good car and solid pit stops all combined for Matheus Leist to deliver the ABC Supply Racing team its best finish since Takuma Sato drove for the team.
Leist, 20, earned a career-best finish of fourth in the INDYCAR Grand Prix on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.43 mile road course in a race that was as entertaining on NBC’s debut broadcast of the NTT IndyCar Series as it was in person.
Starting 21st after a particularly tough day yesterday when they struggled for speed, Leist’s No. 4 team used an alternate fuel strategy which panned out (for once) when a full course yellow came on lap 60 for Helio Castroneves’ spin. Leist had pitted a lap earlier from 14th to take rain tires because the rain started falling more heavily. He vaulted to fourth once the leaders made their final stop (for rain tires) under that caution on lap 63.
The seven laps of caution at that point in the race enabled everyone to make it to the end without fear of running out of fuel.
The race restarted on lap 68, and Leist passed Ed Jones the following lap to take third. Simon Pagenaud, a two-time winner of this event, moved into striking distance of Leist within three laps and spent the next three laps pressing him hard before making the successful pass, dropping Leist to fourth with just 10 laps remaining in the 85-lap race.