Esteban Gutierrez admitted to having a lot of fun during his first oval race in the Verizon IndyCar Series after finishing thirteenth at Iowa Speedway on Sunday.
After qualifying down in eighteenth, the Mexican enjoyed his race, running as high as eighth before settling for thirteenth at the chequered flag, but he was learning all the time, adapting to oval racing and the tools available to him inside his Dale Coyne Racing machine.
Gutierrez was also thankful that his rivals played fair during their battles, which made it easier to deal with the race as he continued to learn his race craft around the 0.875-mile oval.
“It was really, really fun. It was a very nice experience,” said Gutierrez. “Obviously being the first time on an oval, I didn’t know what to expect at the beginning of the race and I struggled to get up to speed, but after a few laps, I got more and more comfortable and I was using my tools in the car to try to handle it in traffic, which is the trickiest part.
“I want to thank my competitors because they were very fair to me. It was fair racing, good racing and I really enjoyed it out there today.”
Gutierrez feels that with more experience, he’d be able to anticipate more around an oval, with everything he experienced at Iowa completely new to him, and he thanked his team for giving him as much assistance as they did.
“It wasn’t easy with the different lanes and traffic because once you get really close you have a completely different car so you need to anticipate a lot and for that you need a lot of experience,” said Gutierrez.
“Every time with more and more experience I will be able to anticipate that better but I think today was a really good start. I also want to thank the team because they were really good on giving me all the tools and the information on doing a good job today.”