RLR/Andersen's Hildebrand Finishes Fifth And Prendeville Places Ninth In First Half of Mid-Ohio Doubleheader Saturday LEXINGTON, Ohio, July 19 - RLR/Andersen Racing's J.R. Hildebrand finished fifth and his teammate, Andrew Prendeville,...
RLR/Andersen's Hildebrand Finishes Fifth And Prendeville Places Ninth In First Half of Mid-Ohio Doubleheader Saturday
LEXINGTON, Ohio, July 19 - RLR/Andersen Racing's J.R. Hildebrand finished fifth and his teammate, Andrew Prendeville, duplicated his results at Nashville last week by placing ninth Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the first half of a Firestone Indy Lights doubleheader.
Both Hildebrand, of Sausalito, Calif., and Indianapolis, and Prendeville, a native of Chatham Township, N.J. who now lives in Las Vegas, improved four positions from their starting spots. Hildebrand's Allied Building Products No. 25 started ninth, while Prendeville took the green flag in 13th position with his Best Friends Animal Society No. 5.
Hildebrand moved up two spots in the point standings and Prendeville one position due to their solid performances Saturday. Hildebrand is now fourth in the point standings heading into the second half of the doubleheader Sunday morning, while Prendeville is 11th. Hildebrand has the same number of points as the fifth-place driver, Arie Luyendyk Jr., 297, but his one victory gives him the edge for the tiebreaker.
No one in the 22-car field had anything for polesitter and points leader Raphael Matos on Saturday, however. With no full-course cautions to close up the field, he had a 4.2603-second lead over Franck Perera at the end of the 40-lap/90.3-mile contest on Mid-Ohio's 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course. Last year's winner here, Richard Antinucci, placed third. Jonny Reid finished right in front of Hildebrand in fourth place. Reid will have the pole tomorrow, since Matos drew that number in the post-race draw that determined how many drivers would be inverted for Sunday's starting line-up. That didn't affect either Hildebrand or Prendeville, who will start fifth and ninth tomorrow morning, in the same positions they finished Saturday. Matos will be in fourth, one spot ahead of Hildebrand, for the start of tomorrow's race.
Saturday's race followed an American Le Mans Series (ALMS) event. Both of the RLR/Andersen drivers got great starts, and both missed a scuffle involving Wade Cunningham and Daniel Herrington. Hildebrand advanced from ninth to seventh by the end of lap one, while Prendeville charged from 13th to tenth.
Hildebrand stayed in seventh place until lap 12, when he advanced one spot when Luyendyk went off course and back on again in Turn 13. That put him behind Reid, whom he chased the rest of the way. He got fifth on lap 33 when the fourth-place driver, Bobby Wilson, tangled with the lapped car of Mark Olson. Hildebrand then went on to post his sixth top-five finish of the year.
After the start, Prendeville was never out of the top 10. He chased Jeff Simmons early, and then Luyendyk. Wilson settled in right in front of him after his scuffle with Olson, but Prendeville passed him on lap 36 for ninth place and brought his car home in that position four laps later.
Hildebrand's fastest race lap was a 1:15.2555 (108.016 mph), which wasn't that far from Matos's fastest lap of the race at 1:14.7270 (108.780 mph). That was nowhere near Antinucci's fastest race lap record of 1:13.2998 (110.898 mph) set last July. Prendeville's fastest race lap Saturday was a 1:16.2826 (106.562 mph). The four drivers who finished right behind him all had faster laps, which shows how hard he worked to stay in front of them.
Allied Building Products Corp. sponsors the Palmetto, Fla.-based team. It is the official development team of Hilliard, Ohio's Rahal Letterman Racing.
The second half of the Mid-Ohio doubleheader is slated to get the green flag at 10:35 a.m. tomorrow. It will be preceded by a 15-minute warm-up session at 8 a.m.
ESPN2 will provide coverage of both races at 2 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, July 24.
This weekend's races are the 11th and 12th of 16 on the 2008 schedule. After Mid-Ohio, the circuit travels to Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky., for a race on Aug. 9. A doubleheader at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Aug. 23-24 and an event at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Sept. 7 follow.
The team's Web sites are at andersenracingteam.com and andersenracepark.com. More information on the Firestone Indy Lights series, including live timing and scoring and video coverage, is available at indycar.com/lights.
Post-race quotes follow:
J.R. Hildebrand: "The team has done a good job progressing from session to session. We made some changes before the race on top of changes we made earlier, and we're getting closer to where we want to be with the Allied Building Products car. It's nice that we have a morning warm-up session tomorrow.
"It was a good finish for the points today. I feel like we've made progress with the race car, and for that I want to thank the team.
"Arie went off in front of me.
"A couple of lapped cars were difficult to get by. Some of them would let certain drivers by and then hold up others. I got held up by one on the last lap that killed my last chance to get by Reid, but the lapped cars were nothing out of the ordinary.
"We'll stay focused and work on our game plan for tomorrow.
"The track was really slick at the start of the race. The ALMS cars put down a lot of rubber, but our cars didn't really dig in. We skated over their rubber. It took about half the race to wear that down."
Andrew Prendeville: "I'm happy with ninth. I picked up four spots.
"The rubber the ALMS cars laid down probably wasn't good for my car. It didn't get any better as the race went on for me.
"We finished all the laps today with the Best Friends Animal Society car, so we're halfway towards our goal of finishing 80 laps this weekend for the people who made donations to Best Friends at racinglapsforbestfriends.com. We'll try to get the other 40 tomorrow."