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Indy Lights - Mitchell And Team E Finishes Eighth At Loudon

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LOUDON, Aug. 15, 2011: Team E Racing’s Rusty Mitchell of Midland, Texas continued his excellent record of never finishing outside of the top 10 in an oval-track race with an eighth-place finish Sunday in the Firestone Indy Lights race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

It was his third race in this series, the top step in the Mazda Road to Indy program, and Mitchell’s sixth race on an oval ever.

Driving the Motorola/Petro Communications No. 17 fielded by Team E Racing, which is based in the Tampa Bay, Fla., area, Mitchell started seventh in the 100-lap race after struggling during practice on Thursday. He averaged 141.818 miles per hour in Sunoco Qualifying on Saturday.

Sunday’s race was a 100-lapper on New Hampshire’s 1-mile oval. Mitchell moved up to sixth almost immediately when the driver who started second, Bryan Clauson, spun in Turn 2 on the first lap.

Mitchell reverted back to seventh with eight laps complete when Gustavo Yacaman passed his bright blue No. 17. David Ostella got by him 10 laps later to push him to eighth, and he was still in that position at the checkered.

His fastest lap of the race was lap 66, when he was clocked at 140.131 mph.

The winner, Josef Newgarden, led the entire race from the pole. Jorge Goncalvez finished second and Duarte Ferreira placed third.

“It was a tough weekend,” Mitchell said Sunday after the race. “The team worked really hard and we got the car better throughout the weekend. We’ll do better next time, for sure. I really have to thank the team and our sponsors for their support.

“Our car was decent in qualifying,” he said. “We experimented and ran a totally different deal on Thursday, and then switched back to a normal oval set-up for qualifying on Saturday. We lost one day, and that day was hard to recover. We just didn’t have enough time to catch up. But the team really worked hard, and the car was a lot better for the race than it was when we unloaded it off the trailer.”

Mitchell and Team E hope to enter all three of the races remaining in 2011 in preparation for a full assault on the championship in 2012. The next race is slated for the new street course at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on Sunday, Sept. 4. That race will be shown live on VERSUS at noon.

“I’m really looking forward to the street course at Baltimore. Road courses and street courses are predominately what we’ve been doing,” Mitchell pointed out.