Garcia started from 6th position, but developed an understeer condition in the No. 76 Freightliner Jeffrey Mark Motorsport car that prohibited him from advancing through the field.
“We made some changes last night to the rear of the car, but it gave me a lot of push on the exit of Turns 2 and 4,” Garcia said. “I was not able to keep pace with the leaders with the push.”
With this being only the fourth oval in his career, Garcia relied on the guidance of his spotter, Michael Crawford, after developing the push. Crawford and Garcia spent the entire 100 miles of the race working on finding a high racing line to assist the car’s understeer and conserve the tires.
“I gained a lot of valuable oval racing experience today that I’ll use in the future,” Garcia said. “Everything that I learned this year I was able to use in today’s race, but it’s clear that I’m still learning about ovals.”
Looking back on the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights season, Garcia is proud of the progress he was able to make under the guidance of JMM.
“JMM is a great team made up of great people,” he said. “The engineer, mechanics and the rest of the team work very, very hard to achieve strong results. I think for my first full year and the teams first year in the sport we did well.”
With all 12 races of the 2012 season in the record books and a ninth place overall finish, Garcia is already looking ahead to the 2013 season and his next chance to get on the track.
“We’ll start looking forward to 2013 immediately, using all of the experience we gained this year to make us better,” he said.
Carlos Munoz of Andretti Autosport won the Auto Club Speedway Foundation 100 by a margin of 0.6344 seconds over David Ostella of Team Moore Racing.
The third and fourth place finishers were the key players in the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights championship. Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammates Esteban Guerrieri and Tristan Vautier finished third and fourth respectively, which clinched the championship for Vautier.
Vautier had an 11-point lead over Guerrieri entering Saturday’s race, and Guerrieri’s third-place result only pulled him to within eight points of Vautier.
Victor Carbone of Sam Schmidt Motorsports rounded out the top-five of the Auto Club Speedway Foundation 100.