Prendeville and team - animal fundraiser in Iowa

Racing Laps for Best Friends Has an Important Race Saturday at Iowa Speedway; All Donations Will be Earmarked for Best Friends' Flood Relief Efforts in Iowa LAS VEGAS, June 18 - Track size could make Saturday's Jeld-Wen Windows & Doors 100 ...

Racing Laps for Best Friends Has an Important Race Saturday at Iowa Speedway; All Donations Will be Earmarked for Best Friends' Flood Relief Efforts in Iowa

LAS VEGAS, June 18 - Track size could make Saturday's Jeld-Wen Windows & Doors 100 Firestone Indy Lights race at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa the most important event of the year for Andrew Prendeville's Racing Laps for Best Friends program.

It's definitely the most important Firestone Indy Lights race for the people and animals that live in Iowa. That's because today Prendeville announced that all donations made to the Best Friends Animal Society through racinglapsforbestfriends.com for Saturday's race will go directly to help Best Friends' flood relief efforts there.

In the Racing Laps for Best Friends program, fans make on-line donations to Best Friends, a not-for-profit animal welfare group, based on the number of laps that Prendeville completes in his Best Friends Animal Society No. 5. At seven-eighths of a mile, Iowa Speedway is the smallest track on the 2008 Firestone Indy Lights schedule, and thus its race has the most number of laps at 115. That means that Saturday's race has the potential to raise more money for Best Friends than any other race this year, provided that fans make their donations at racinglapsforbestfriends.com and Prendeville finishes all 115 laps.

According to Vicki Kilmer-Rinker, Best Friends' cause marketing manager, members of Best Friends' Rapid Response team experienced in swift-water rescues have been deployed to Oakville, Louisa County. Other Best Friends volunteers are expected to be involved trying to reunite people with their lost pets, engaging in search-and-rescue of companion animals, and other relief efforts.

"They'll do whatever they can to help," Prendeville said. "People who can't go to Iowa to help first-hand can still be a huge help by making donations for the Iowa race at racinglapsforbestfriends.com. One hundred percent of the donations raised from Saturday's race will go directly to Best Friends' relief efforts in Iowa."

In addition to making per-lap donations, fans can also purchase Best Friends raffle tickets at racinglapsforbestfriends.com. Prizes are sessions at the famous Bertil Roos Racing School.

Helping animals caught in flooding is unfortunately nothing new for Best Friends' Rapid Response team, which worked tirelessly to help animals stranded after Hurricane Katrina. One of the animals Best Friends rescued after that natural disaster was Ballsy, a dog that Prendeville himself sponsors through Best Friends' Web site at bestfriends.org. Prendeville went a step further than helping out financially, though. He's made several visits to the Best Friends Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah to visit Ballsy, and details the dog's progress on a blog he writes at racinglapsforbestfriends.com.

Last year Prendeville finished 114 of the 115 laps of the race at Iowa Speedway. Firestone Indy Lights cars take it flat-out, and the drivers say it's hard to pass there. Qualifying well so a driver can start near the front will be very important, as will staying out of accidents.

"We go flat-out all the way around there because of the high banking," explained Prendeville. "At Iowa, things happen a lot faster than you think they're going to. If your set-up is off, you're going straight to the back of the field really fast. It's a little bumpier in Turns 1 and 2 this year too," he added after a test there June 11.

Prendeville, of Las Vegas, is coming off his best finish so far this year. He placed fourth June 1 on the oval at the Milwaukee Mile, the only 1-mile oval on the schedule and the track closest in size to what he'll face this weekend at Iowa Speedway. With six of 16 races complete heading into Saturday's race he's tenth in the current point standings with 125 points, only 18 points out of fifth place and just 53 points out of third.

The 22-car field will be split into two groups for 1-hour practice sessions at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Friday, which is all the practice the teams will have before SWE Pole Qualifying starts at 3:20 p.m.

The race itself is scheduled to begin at 4:15 p.m. Saturday (5:15 p.m. Eastern time). It is a support event to Sunday's IndyCar race.

Live timing and scoring will be available on indycar.com. ESPN2 will tape the race for broadcast at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, June 26.

In addition to racinglapsforbestfriends.com, fans can find more information at andrewprendeville.com, bestfriends.org, andersenracingteam.com and indycar.com/indylights.

-credit: restart communications

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About this article
Series Charity , Indy Lights
Drivers Andrew Prendeville