Kentucky: RLR/Andersen Racing preview

Can Romancini Dazzle Again On Saturday in Kentucky? PALMETTO, Fla., July 29 - The way that Firestone Indy Lights rookie Mario Romancini has taken to oval-track racing has been nothing short of phenomenal. Both he and his team, RLR/Andersen...

Can Romancini Dazzle Again On Saturday in Kentucky?

PALMETTO, Fla., July 29 - The way that Firestone Indy Lights rookie Mario Romancini has taken to oval-track racing has been nothing short of phenomenal. Both he and his team, RLR/Andersen Racing, hope that continues on Friday and Saturday when the 21-year-old driver from Sao Paulo, Brazil tackles Kentucky Speedway's 1.5-mile asphalt oval for the first time.

Palmetto, Fla.-based RLR/Andersen Racing has entered three cars for Romancini, Ali Jackson and Pablo Donoso to drive in the Kentucky 100 Firestone Indy Lights race on the track in Sparta, Ky. this Saturday night at 5 p.m. Eastern time. Although this is only RLR/Andersen Racing's third year of competition in this particular series it is already a powerhouse, and only one other team has more entries in Kentucky's Firestone Indy Lights race.

Although he never drove on an oval track before he tested at Homestead-Miami Speedway in February, Romancini has been truly impressive in the four oval-track Firestone Indy Lights races held so far this year. He finished third at both Kansas Speedway in April and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May, and then he won the pole and led every lap at the race on the Milwaukee Mile May 31. He came from 13th to fourth at Iowa Speedway in June even though he couldn't make any in-cockpit adjustments to his car's handling from the mid-point of that race on due to a broken weight jacker.

Now Romancini, who drives the No. 5 sponsored by Andersen Racing, Revita Recycling, Win Brazil Marketing, Allied Interior Products and Lafarge North America, will have only two short practice sessions at noon and 4 p.m. Friday to get acclimated to the track before qualifying is held at 7 p.m. Friday night. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers who raced at Kentucky on July 18 said the track surface was very bumpy, but there has reportedly been some diamond grinding done in the turns since then in preparation for the Firestone Indy Lights and IndyCar Series' visit this weekend. No matter what they find, Romancini and his teammates will do their best to find a set-up that will take them to the front. Romancini is in the heat of the points race, as he's currently third in the driver point standings.

Although RLR/Andersen Racing's Jonathan Summerton tested at Kentucky Speedway March 23-24, neither Romancini nor Jackson has ever even seen the place.

"Let's see how it goes!" said Romancini before boarding a plane from his American base in Miami on Wednesday night to depart for the weekend's activities. "We need to make as many points as possible."

Like Romancini, Jackson, of Belfast, Northern Ireland, is a rookie in the series. The 20-year-old driver of the Moyvalley Golf and Hotel Resort/Allied Interior Products No. 9 has been making steady progress since he joined RLR/Andersen Racing, and hopes for a top-10 finish in Kentucky.

Donoso, 24, of Santiago, Chile, a former Andersen Racing Star Mazda driver, rejoins the team after getting his best result of the season when he finished eighth driving for RLR/Andersen Racing on July 4 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Donoso contested four races with Brian Stewart Racing and two with Genoa Lights before joining RLR/Andersen Racing for Iowa and Watkins Glen. He'll be in the No. 6 this weekend, which is sponsored by Andersen Racing, Allied Interior Products and Donoso LTDA.

Donoso has competed in one previous Firestone Indy Lights race at Kentucky Speedway. He started 14th but was involved in an accident there in 2008 to place 22nd in the final rundown.

Donoso is also slated to be Romancini and Jackson's teammate at the Firestone Indy Lights race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio on Aug. 9.

-credit: ar

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Pablo Donoso , Jonathan Summerton