IPS: Indianapolis: Andrew Prendeville race notes

Prendeville Not Only Finishes All 40 Laps of Freedom 100 at IMS For Racing Laps for Best Friends, He's One of the Biggest Stars of the Show INDIANAPOLIS, May 25 - Andrew Prendeville not only finished all 40 laps of Friday's Freedom 100 Indy Pro...

Prendeville Not Only Finishes All 40 Laps of Freedom 100 at IMS For Racing Laps for Best Friends, He's One of the Biggest Stars of the Show

INDIANAPOLIS, May 25 - Andrew Prendeville not only finished all 40 laps of Friday's Freedom 100 Indy Pro Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he and his Best Friends Animal Society No. 5 were one of the biggest stars of the show.

Everyone who made a pledge at racinglapsforbestfriends.com and predicted that the Morristown, N.J.-based driver would finish all 40 laps of the race knew what they were doing.

What's more, Prendeville had animal lovers everyone cheering for his performance. He started tenth, ran as high as second, set the fastest lap of the race by running even faster than the speed that won the pole, and finished fourth.

He was the highest-finishing rookie in the race, which was televised on ESPN2.

Prendeville has now moved up from tenth to seventh in the point standings. Twelve races remain, including one next weekend on the Milwaukee Mile, so it's already time for Web site pledging for that event to benefit the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the United States. Prendeville will also be back racing at IMS next month in two races that support the United States Grand Prix Formula 1 race.

Fans on the Speedway grounds can also make pledges and straight donations at the Racing Laps for Best Friends tent through Sunday's Indianapolis 500. It is located east of the museum, directly across from the AAA transporter.

Donations to the Racing Laps for Best Friends program may be made using MasterCard, Visa, American Express or Discover credit cards.

Donations may also be made by telephone at (435) 644-2001, extension 4801, or by mail. Checks should be payable to "Racing Laps for Best Friends" and mailed to: Best Friends Animal Society, 5001 Angel Canyon Road, _Kanab, Utah 84741-5000.

Prendeville, who is one of two RLR/Andersen Racing Indy Pro Series drivers, definitely made Friday's Freedom 100 exciting. After the initial start there were two yellows right away, from laps one through three and then from laps six through nine. Prendeville kept out of the incidents and was eighth by lap two. He dropped back to 11th on lap five but he had a terrific restart on lap 10 that put him back into eighth place. He slipped to ninth on lap 11 but passed Jonathan Klein on lap 12 to regain eighth.

That's when he really got busy. He passed Al Unser III for seventh on lap 13, took care of Jon Brownson for sixth on the next lap, and cracked into the top five for the first time Friday on the very next lap, lap 15, when Sean Guthrie fell back.

Prendeville stayed in fifth place for the next two laps, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process when he circled the 2.5-mile oval in 47.6002 seconds on lap 17 for an average speed of 189.075 miles per hour. That was even faster than the 188.231 mph speed that Ken Losch ran to win the pole on Thursday.

With all that momentum built up, Prendeville got fourth by blowing by Matt Jaskol on lap 18. Two laps later he moved into podium territory when he passed Jaime Camara at the halfway point for third.

His pass of Chris Festa for second was brilliant, as he saw a chance to get by the Ganassi driver and went for it, leaving lots of room as he went by. He stayed in second place for two laps but then Festa retook the spot on lap 26. Prendeville remained right on his rear wing, looking for a way back by him, until the pace slowed on lap 31 when his teammate, Joey Scarallo, was pushed into the wall in Turn Three.

Hopes were high that Prendeville might be able to regain second on the restart on lap 36. Instead, Camara got by him by what several people saw as jumping, but the officials didn't see it that way and Camara wasn't penalized. A lapped car also complicated that restart, although its driver gave the leaders as much room as he could.

Prendeville didn't get another chance to regain a podium spot. The yellow flew once again on the very next lap, this time for moisture in Turn Two. The rain held off but the race ended under that yellow, and Prendeville finished fourth. It was his best finish so far in this series.

Andrew Prendeville: "I got beat on the last restart, but it was a good race.

"We know we can race with the top teams.  There's Sam Schmidt; Andretti
Green; Ganassi, and now we're there too.  We can compete with the top teams.

"The beginning of the race had those yellows, and I told myself to sit back and sit tight and stay out of trouble.

"We were able to pick off a lot of guys. The pass on Festa was a little bit opportunistic. He got hung up going into Three and I timed it just right and passed him coming out of Four. I was able to get by him cleanly, and then he got me back a couple laps later.

"The last yellow screwed everybody up. I don't think the rain cost me from making the podium though. I think it was that jump start.

"The car was perfect. It was good in traffic. They say I set the fastest lap of the race.

"I want to thank my team, RLR/Andersen Racing, and for everybody who donated to Best Friends through racinglapsforbestfriends.com. We finished all 40 laps; we were as high as second; and we finished fourth. We're getting better all the time."

-credit: restart communications

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Jon Brownson , Andrew Prendeville , Chris Festa , Jaime Camara , Jonathan Klein , Ken Losch , Al Unser III