Summerton Finishes Fourth For RLR/Andersen Racing Sunday at Long Beach
LONG BEACH, Calif., April 19 -- With a solid fourth-place finish Sunday morning on the Long Beach street circuit, RLR/Andersen Racing's Jonathan Summerton remains in second place in the Firestone Indy Lights driver point standings, but he has cut Junior Strous's lead from 28 points to only three.
Summerton started fifth in the Palmetto, Fla.-based team's No. 9, which is sponsored by Andersen Racing, Allied Interior Products and Lafarge North America. Summerton, who will turn 21 on Tuesday, stayed in fifth place behind Stefan Wilson until Wilson pitted with mechanical problems on lap 41 of the 45-lap event, which vaulted Summerton into fourth place.
The Kissimmee, Fla.-based driver now has a second and two fourths in his three series appearances.
There were only two full-course yellows, both of which occurred in the first half of the race and only took six laps. The field got very strung out on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street course during the race's second half, making it hard for anyone to pass.
RLR/Andersen's Mario Romancini started 14th but was forced to retire with only one lap complete due to a problem with the gearbox of his No. 5, which is sponsored by Andersen Racing, Revita Recycling, Win Brazil Marketing, Allied Interior Products and Lafarge North America. Romancini, of S0x00e3o Paulo, Brazil, was able to get the car back to the pits safely. His official finishing position was 24th.
Summerton's fastest race lap was a 1:16.4007 (92.732 miles per hour) on lap 34. It was the fifth-fastest lap turned in the race, behind the laps run by race winner J.R. Hildebrand, Wilson, second-place finisher Richard Philippe and third-place finisher James Hinchcliffe.
The next race is coming right up next Sunday on Kansas Speedway's 1.5-mile tri-oval in Kansas City, Kan. RLR/Andersen Racing is the defending winner of that race with Hildebrand driving. It will be Romancini and Summerton's first oval track race ever.
Jonathan Summerton: "We didn't have the fastest car today. I think we were fourth- or fifth-quickest. The car finished where it should have. We need to do some development work for our street-course set-up.
"Stefan [Wilson]'s car was faster than ours was. Towards the end, we both had problems with the lapped car that was in front of us. Even though he was slower than we were, he still held us up.
"This is a track where you finish where you qualify, basically. It's not really a passing track. So to come out of it a position up from where you started, we have to be OK with that.
"Kansas will be my first oval race ever. Hopefully we will have a good car there. The team won there last year.
"It's too early to get excited about the championship, but it's good to be in contention. It's good for sponsorship. But consistent good results are what pays off in the end."
Mario Romancini: "It was something with the gearbox. It happened on the ba ckstraight. It was a shame, because the car was good. I think I could have been in the top eight today, but unfortunately I didn't score any points at all so it hurts me in the championship. It's sad.
"Let's see what happens in Kansas. I'm looking forward to my first oval race because we had a good oval test at Homestead. Let's hope we can finish there and get a good position in the championship."