RLR/Andersen Racing Has an Eventful Freedom 100 At IMS Saturday INDIANAPOLIS - After a one-day postponement due to rain, things certainly heated up Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Freedom 100 Firestone Indy Lights race for the...
RLR/Andersen Racing Has an Eventful Freedom 100 At IMS Saturday
INDIANAPOLIS - After a one-day postponement due to rain, things certainly heated up Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Freedom 100 Firestone Indy Lights race for the RLR/Andersen Racing team.
Andrew Prendeville, a Chatham Township, N.J. native now living in Las Vegas, started 11th and finished ninth for the Palmetto, Fla.-based team with his Best Friends Animal Society No. 5.
Sausalito, Calif.'s J.R. Hildebrand, who now lives in Indianapolis, started way back in 21st but got as high as third before contact with another driver relegated his Allied Interior Products No. 25 to 24th at the end of the 40-lap race on the Brickyard's 2.5-mile oval.
Prendeville slipped to 13th at the beginning of the race, which slowed almost as soon as it started when Jon Brownson hit the wall coming out of Turn 3 on the first lap.
The green waved again on lap four. Prendeville stayed in 13th until he passed Sean Guthrie with 13 laps down to move into 12th. He moved up one more spot at the halfway point by passing Pablo Donoso. He broke into the top 10 on lap 21 when he got around Raphael Matos, and then a yellow came out after Chris Festa's car lost power in Turn 2.
The green came out again on lap 26. Prendeville stayed in tenth until lap 29, when Logan Gomez got around him. The next lap the yellow flew again for contact between James Davison and Hildebrand, which vaulted Prendeville to ninth. He passed Jeff Simmons to nab eighth with two laps to go, but Simmons passed him back on the next lap and Prendeville took the checkered in ninth place.
Hildebrand, the point leader going into this event, had an even wilder race. He started 21st but he was already 18th when the yellow flew on the first lap. He moved into 17th on the restart, and he was 16th on lap six when some of his rivals were already going four wide. He passed Gomez and Arie Luyendyk Jr. on lap eight to move into 14th place, settling in right behind Prendeville.
He passed his teammate and Brent Sherman on the next circuit to nail down 12th. Guthrie gave him some trouble but he got around him on lap 12 to move into 11th. He stayed in that spot until he moved into the top 10 on lap 17 by passing Robbie Pecorari, who went on to finish fourth.
Donoso was the next driver in Hildebrand's sights, and he passed him on lap 18 for ninth. At that point both Hildebrand and Prendeville were running lap times that were faster than many of the drivers ahead of them. Hildebrand passed Matos for eighth at the halfway point, and then got up a big head of steam to blow by Bobby Wilson and Simmons on lap 22 to nab sixth right before the second yellow waved.
His restart on lap 25 was brilliant. He went from sixth to third when the green waved again by passing Richard Antinucci, Ana Beatriz and Davison in one torrid run. Antinucci got him back on lap 27 to push him back to fourth. They were side-by-side on lap 28, with Hildebrand still technically in fourth, but he was back in third place on lap 29, still engaged in a wild battle with Antinucci and Davison.
Space and luck ran out on lap 30, as contact occurred between Davison and Hildebrand and both reported to the pits with flat tires. To make matters worse, Hildebrand then received a penalty for a pit speed violation and a missing wheel lock pin. He returned to finish the race in 24th place, one lap down.
Polesitter Dillon Battistini won over Antinucci and Wade Cunningham. The race is scheduled to be broadcast at 1 p.m. Eastern time next Saturday, May 31, on ESPN2.
The next Firestone Indy Lights race is the following day, June 1, at the Milwaukee Mile.
Hildebrand is now third in the point standings and Prendeville is 13th. Eleven races remain in the 16-race season.
Post-race quotes follow:
Andrew Prendeville: "My car was great when I was by myself. I just couldn't run in traffic.
"It was more like dirt-track racing today. Some people made some very foolish moves.
"In the beginning I was just trying to save my tires for the end. I had to wait until people's tires fell off, and then I could pick them off.
"The guys have done a good job. Finishing in the top 10 is still a good run."
J.R. Hildebrand: "We could have won that race.
"[James] Davison was bumping and banging. He went under me going through [Turn] 1. We were three-wide through there. He was coming, bumping and banging. Coming out of [Turn] 2, I was on the high side and he was on the low side. We came out of the corner and he was not clear by at least 5 feet, and he just drove all the way out to the exit. He hit my left front with his right rear.
"I feel terrible for the team, because they gave me a great car. To end the race like that was just terrible. That hurt us in the points. Seriously, we could have won that race from the back at Indianapolis. We showed everyone we can get it done today, regardless of where we finished."