Homestead: Andrew Prendeville race notes

Prendeville Finishes All 67 Laps Saturday at Homestead For Racing Laps for Best Friends HOMESTEAD, Fla., March 29 - Racing fans and animal lovers who made donations to the Best Friends Animal Society on racinglapsforbestfriends.com for ...

Prendeville Finishes All 67 Laps Saturday at Homestead For Racing Laps for Best Friends

HOMESTEAD, Fla., March 29 - Racing fans and animal lovers who made donations to the Best Friends Animal Society on racinglapsforbestfriends.com for the Homestead race need to multiply their donation amount by 67, because Andrew Prendeville finished all 67 laps of the Firestone Indy Lights season opener Saturday afternoon at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Prendeville qualified fourth and ended up sixth in a race that only had two caution flags. The pace of the race coupled with the heat of the Florida afternoon caused havoc to the RLR/Andersen Racing team's set-up, and Prendeville's Best Friends Animal Society No. 5 had a big understeer throughout the race. Despite the challenges Prendeville kept it off the wall, pointed in the right direction, and on the move throughout.

Prendeville passed the driver who went on to win the race two different times, once on lap 26 and again on lap 30. He was as high as third on lap one and as low as tenth with two laps to go. He never gave up and he finished with an almost unbelievable flourish, advancing two positions on each of the last two laps to place sixth.

Prendeville passed his teammate, J.R. Hildebrand; the 2005 champion, Wade Cunningham; and Ana Beatriz during those last two frantic laps, while polesitter Raphael Matos fell backwards in the standings due to handling problems he was experiencing with his car too.

"Overall I'm happy with the way the weekend went," Prendeville said after the race. "We know we have the speed on our own. We can qualify well.

"At the same time the race was disappointing," he added. "The Best Friends Animal Society car had a massive understeer in the race. Most people seemed to be having that, but my car seemed to be the worst. Anytime somebody was on the high side of me, there was no way I was getting through the corner alive unless I lifted.

"On the restarts when the tires were cooler the car was good," he continued. "I tried to capitalize on that, and that's how I was able to get back up to sixth.

"We finished all 67 laps, and we thank everyone who made donations to Best Friends on racinglapsforbestfriends.com," Prendeville added. "It was still a good start to the season. It certainly makes us more confident for the oval races, and I'm really looking forward to St. Pete next weekend."

Prendeville will compete in two Firestone Indy Lights races on the street circuit in St. Petersburg, Fla. next Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6.

The Homestead race will be shown at 4 p.m. Eastern this Thursday, April 3, on ESPN2. One hour later Prendeville will appear at a PetStop at the SPCA Tampa Bay, 9099 130th Ave. N. in Largo, Fla., from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. All PetStop shelter appearances are free and the public is encouraged to attend.

Fans can make their pledges for the St. Petersburg races and the other events remaining on the 16-race schedule at racinglapsforbestfriends.com. Bertil Roos Racing School raffle tickets can be purchased on that Web site too. Additional information is available at bestfriends.org and andrewprendeville.com.

-credit: restart communications

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andrew Prendeville , J.R. Hildebrand , Ana Beatriz