Kentucky: RLR/Andersen race notes

RLR/Andersen's Herrington Finishes 11th; Hildebrand Ends Up 18th Saturday Night at Kentucky Speedway SPARTA, Ky., Aug. 9 - RLR/Andersen Racing had a topsy-turvy night at Kentucky Speedway Saturday in Firestone Indy Lights action that followed...

RLR/Andersen's Herrington Finishes 11th; Hildebrand Ends Up 18th Saturday Night at Kentucky Speedway

SPARTA, Ky., Aug. 9 - RLR/Andersen Racing had a topsy-turvy night at Kentucky Speedway Saturday in Firestone Indy Lights action that followed the sold-out Meijer Indy 300 IndyCar race.

Daniel Herrington started ninth in the 67-lap race, his first on a superspeedway. He fell back to 16th at one point but got as high as ninth again on the next-to-last lap before finishing 11th in the Andersen Racing No. 5.

Only 40 laps were run under green due to four caution periods.

The Palmetto, Fla.-based team's other driver in the race, J.R. Hildebrand, started dead last in 24th place due to an engine change after he originally qualified 13th on Friday. He was able to charge up to sixth place before he was involved in an accident on lap 38. After a pit stop to replace a Firestone Firehawk tire he punctured in the accident, his Allied Building Products No. 25 finished in 18th place, two laps down.

The race got off to a ragged start, and Herrington had fallen back to 15th by the end of lap two. He was 14th when the first yellow waved when Travis Gregg crashed in Turn 2 working lap three.

Herrington got by Bobby Wilson for 13th on the restart on lap 10, and then got 12th on lap 13 when he passed Jeff Simmons. He passed Jonathan Klein for 11th on lap 15, but then he got caught in some dirty air and fell back to 14th place on lap 18. His teammate passed him on lap 24 to push him back to 15th place. He was jockeying between 14th and 15th at the halfway point and dropped to 16th on lap 36 until the yellow flew again for the crash in which Hildebrand was involved.

Herrington was 13th for the restart on lap 45, but then Pablo Donoso went for a wild ride to move Herrington up to 12th for the restart on lap 53. Trouble struck C.R. Crews and Christina Orr that time to bring out another yellow, which moved Herrington up to 11th for the final restart on lap 61. He had tenth on lap 62 and moved into ninth on the white-flag lap when Mike Potekhen dropped back, but ended up 11th after he and another driver brushed wheels coming out of turn four on the last lap.

Hildebrand had a great start, vaulting from 24th to 17th before the first yellow waved on lap three. He moved into 16th on lap 12 by passing Robbie Pecorari, but then stayed in that spot for several laps as he tried to figure out a way by Bobby Wilson. He moved into 15th on lap 20, and then passed two cars on lap 24 to move into 13th place. He flew by Simmons on lap 27 for 12th, passed Klein for 11th on the next lap, and then got by both Logan Gomez and Brent Sherman on lap 32 to move into ninth place. He passed Poteken for eighth at the halfway point, and then took seventh from Raphael Matos on lap 34. One lap later he passed Sean Guthrie for sixth, putting him directly behind Ana Beatriz, who had led the first lap and was now running fifth.

Unfortunately they made wheel-to-wheel contact coming out of Turn 4 on lap 38 to bring out the second full-course yellow, with both sliding through the Meijer logo painted on the grass between the frontstretch and pit lane. Both we re able to finish the race but they were out of contention from that point. Hildebrand had to pit due to a flat tire, and he ended up in 18th place.

Luckily none of the drivers were injured.

Dillon Battistini won the race over James Davison, Arie Luyendyk Jr., Richard Antinucci and Sherman.

Hildebrand was fourth in the point standings going into this race but now he's sixth with three races remaining.

Now the Firestone Indy Lights circuit moves to Hildebrand's home track, Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., for a doubleheader Aug. 23-24. The season finale is at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., on Sept. 7.

The Kentucky Firestone Indy Lights race will be shown on ESPN2 on Thursday, Aug. 14 at 2 p.m. Eastern time.

RLR/Andersen Racing is sponsored by Allied Building Products Corp. The team is the official development team of Hilliard, Ohio's Rahal Letterman Racing.

The team's Web sites are at andersenracingteam.com and andersenracepark.com. More information on the Firestone Indy Lights series is available at indycar.com/lights.

Post-race quotes follow:

Daniel Herrington: "The finish wasn't that great, but this was my first race on a superspeedway so I was just trying to focus on learning a lot and finishing the race, and we accomplished that. I learned how to deal with traffic, and now I better understand how to position myself in order to avoid accidents. I had to miss three or four spins tonight.

"The car was pretty good. I was unsure on how hard I could push it at the beginning. The first third of the race I adjusted it the wrong way, but then after talking to the guys on the radio I adjusted it back and it was better. We could get in front of some cars, but we struggled to stay there. That one time when I lost a few positions it was because I got the air taken off me, and you're helpless when that happens. That's all stuff to put in the memory bank for the next time.

"The closest call was when I touched wheels with another driver on the last turn of the last lap. He squeezed me down onto the apron.

"But this is all good prep for Chicagoland."

J.R. Hildebrand: "I owe it all to the guys. We had a lot of little, unexpected problems here this weekend, but they gave me an awesome race car. We were just hauling through the field. Once I got about halfway through the field the air wasn't so turbulent, and I was going to the front with the Allied Building Products car.

"I had been running side-by-side with Ana for a couple laps, but I couldn't pull the right gear to get around her. I was on the outside and she was on the inside. I tracked way out coming out of Turn 4 to try to get a run by her. I thought there was enough room but I guess we were both going for the same spot coming onto the frontstretch and unfortunately we came together.

"I had a puncture from the contact, and some of the alignment was off so after that the car was quite loose. There was not much I could do except try to finish the race after that.

"Infineon is my home track. I know the place like the back of my hand. Luckily we have some time to sort a few things out, and I'm looking forward to it.

"We've been fast at every big oval we've been at, so Chicagoland should be no different. If we can qualify better we'll finish well."

-credit: rlr/ar

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Jeff Simmons , Pablo Donoso , James Davison , Daniel Herrington , Bobby Wilson , Jonathan Klein , Logan Gomez , Sean Guthrie , Mike Potekhen , J.R. Hildebrand , Ana Beatriz , Dillon Battistini , Christina Orr , Arie Luyendyk Jr.