RLR/Andersen Racing's Romancini Sets New Track Record in Winning Pole In Firestone Indy Lights Action at Milwaukee WEST ALLIS, Wis., May 30 - Although neither RLR/Andersen Racing driver had ever driven a lap at the Milwaukee Mile before the...
RLR/Andersen Racing's Romancini Sets New Track Record in Winning Pole In Firestone Indy Lights Action at Milwaukee
WEST ALLIS, Wis., May 30 - Although neither RLR/Andersen Racing driver had ever driven a lap at the Milwaukee Mile before the first Firestone Indy Lights practice session Saturday morning, they qualified first and third Saturday afternoon for tomorrow's Husar's House of Fine Diamonds 100 presented by Charter.
Mario Romancini gave the Palmetto, Fla.-based team its first pole in this series and he established new one-lap and two-lap track records with the RLR/Andersen Racing No. 5 sponsored by Andersen Racing, Revita Recycling, Win Brazil Marketing, Allied Interior Products and Lafarge North America.
The 21-year-old from Sao Paulo, Brazil ran two laps in 24.8030 seconds (147.321 miles per hour) and 24.6423 seconds (148.282 mph) for a new two-lap record of 49.4453 seconds (147.800 mph), cutting 0.7129 of a second off the old mark.
The previous mark was set by a former Andersen Racing Star Mazda driver, Pablo Donoso, last year at 50.1582 (145.699 mph).
Romancini's teammate was just a whisper behind him, as Jonathan Summerton of Kissimmee, Fla. qualified third in the RLR/Andersen Racing No. 9. It carries the colors of Give Kids the World, Allied Interior Products and Lafarge North America. His two laps were timed in 25.0030 seconds (146.142 mph) and 24.7998 (147.340 mph) for a two-lap time of 49.8028 seconds (146.739 mph).
Both of the RLR/Andersen Racing drivers are rookies in this series, but they both recorded their best qualifying performances in it ever. Romancini's former best starting spot was sixth at Kansas, while Summerton's best start was fifth at Long Beach, Calif. They are also both making their third oval-track start ever.
A former RLR/Andersen Racing driver, J.R. Hildebrand, qualified second. Summerton will be right behind Romancini and beside Sebastian Saavedra when the green flag flies Sunday at 11:30 a.m. local time (12:30 p.m. Eastern). The 16-car, 100-lap race on the 1.015-mile oval is scheduled to be shown live on indycar.com and tape-delayed on VERSUS at 4 p.m. Eastern on Monday.
A third RLR/Andersen Racing Firestone Indy Lights driver for 2009, Ireland's Ali Jackson, did not enter this race but is expected to rejoin the team at the next event on June 20 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.
Mario Romancini: "This is my first time at this track, and since I got here this morning I've been comfortable. The car has been really good, and I was able to make two good laps. It had good grip, and more importantly, I feel like we have a pretty good car for tomorrow's race. It will be a long race and we'll have to manage our tires for the first 50 laps because I think the last 50 laps will be tough. I'm happy to be starting on the pole, but we have a long race tomorrow.
"We didn't test here; this morning was the first time I ever drove here. All of the tracks are new to me this year because this is my first time racing in America.
"I think it will be difficult to pass in the race. Not only is it smaller, but the high line has more dirt on it than Indianapolis did.
"I'm happy to be on the pole but the race tomorrow is what is most important. I hope we can have a good race and get points for the championship."
Jonathan Summerton: "On my out lap I had a little too much understeer, and I was hesitant because of the understeer on the first lap. I could have done more with it and been on the pole if I hadn't been hesitant because of the understeer. My line was normal and the car was good; I just didn't make the full edge on that first lap. It was probably the easiest qualifying I've ever done even though I've never driven here before this morning because the car was good. We have a strong car for tomorrow, and all and all it was good."