Andersen Racing's Kent Is Perfect on Sunday In Star Mazda Action at NJMP MILLVILLE, N.J., June 14 - Andersen Racing's Richard Kent pledges allegiance to the Union Jack rather than the Stars and Stripes, but it was the checkered flag he captured...
Andersen Racing's Kent Is Perfect on Sunday In Star Mazda Action at NJMP
MILLVILLE, N.J., June 14 - Andersen Racing's Richard Kent pledges allegiance to the Union Jack rather than the Stars and Stripes, but it was the checkered flag he captured on Flag Day when he led every lap of round five of the Star Mazda championship presented by Goodyear at New Jersey Motorsport Park's Thunderbolt Raceway on Sunday.
Kent dominated Sunday's action exactly like he did the 2008 season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, achieving every accolade possible.
He started the day by winning the pole with a new track record of 1:14.744 (104.517 miles per hour), much faster than John Edwards' 2008 mark of 1:15.167. Conditions were nearly perfect for qualifying, and although the temperatures rose for the race on Sunday afternoon, Kent quickly proved he was still the man to beat.
Although Alex Ardoin pressured him throughout the 29-lap/40-minute race, the 20-year-old from Clifton Reynes, England had a 2.834-second advantage over Ardoin at the checkered with his No. 33, which is sponsored by Traka, Allied Interior Products and Lafarge North America.
Andersen Racing's Mikael Grenier of Stoneham, Quebec also put in an impressive performance by finishing third in both halves of this weekend's doubleheader with his No. 17, which is sponsored by NAPA Auto Parts, CAA-Quebec, HS Telecom, Desharnais Pneus et Mecanique, 66graphx, VSM Racing, Allied Interior Products and Lafarge North America.
Grenier started fifth but moved up to fourth on the first lap when the car of Adam Christodoulou experienced a problem with its suspension and he dropped out. As Christodoulou struggled, there was a full-course yellow from laps one through three for Rusty Mitchell's car, which had sailed into a tire wall. It only took Grenier two laps of green-flag racing until he passed Joel Miller for third on lap six. The top three of Kent, Ardoin and Grenier remained unchanged the rest of the way.
Conor Daly, who won Saturday's race for Andersen Racing in dominant fashion too, started ninth and finished eighth. The MAZDASPEED Motorsports driver from Noblesville, Ind., drives the No. 22 sponsored by Indeck, Cytomax, College Network, Merchant Services, Allied Interior Products and Lafarge North America.
Finishing right behind Daly on Sunday was another Andersen Racing driver, Denis Navarro of Sao Paulo, Brazil in the No. 21 sponsored by Navarro Medicines Distribution, Allied Interior Products, Lafarge North America and Shock Doctor. He started 11th and dropped to 13th on lap one, but got 12th when David Ostella ran into problems on lap four. He passed Billy Goshen for 11th on lap seven and then vaulted to ninth on lap 10 by getting around both Michael Furfari and Jorge Goncalvez.
Both Saturday and Sunday's races were broadcast live on HDNet.
The series is also in action next weekend, as round six is slated for Saturday, June 20 at the Milwaukee Mile.
Going into that event Peter Dempsey leads the point standings by one point over Joel Miller (173 to 172) and two points over Christodoulou. Caio Lara (158 points) is fourth and Daly (156 points) is fifth. Ardoin is sixth with 150 points, which is only two more than Kent in seventh place with 148 points. Goncalvez is eighth with 137 points and Grenier is ninth with 131. Navarro is 12th with 111 points.
With the strong showing in New Jersey Andersen Racing closed the gap on the current team leader, JDC Motorsports. The Palmetto, Fla.-based team now has 141 points to JDC's 152.
Andersen Racing is sponsored by Allied Building Products Corp. and Lafarge North America. It is the official development team of Rahal Letterman Racing. In addition to Star Mazda, it fields cars in karting, Formula BMW Americas and Firestone Indy Lights.
The team's Web site is located at andersenracingteam.com. Information on the team's 1-mile road course test track at its headquarters can be found online at andersenracepark.com. The Star Mazda series' Web site is at startm azda.com.
Post-race quotes follow:
Richard Kent: "What a transformation from yesterday! We spent a lot of time going over things last night. I have to thank my engineer, Remi Lanteigne, and my mechanic, Alan Oppel, and everyone at Andersen Racing. They gave me a fantastic car.
"I was fast in the right places: coming out of Turn 3, going into Turn 5, and coming out of Turn 9.
"I got a good start. I was just trying to maintain my concentration and keep focused. Getting off the line well was crucial. I just tried to stay in front and not make a mistake, and everything worked out perfectly!"
Mikael Grenier: "I had a good start. It was just hard to pass; nobody made a mistake. Two of my teammates won and I was third each day. It was a good result for the team. I'm confident in the car; the team really did a good job.
"I got by Joel Miller on the frontstretch going into Turn 1 to the inside."
Conor Daly: "It was very, very difficult today. I think if we could have run by ourselves the car was good, but sitting behind [Peter] Dempsey it felt like it was down on mid-range power. I was doing everything I could to pass him, but it wasn't possible unless I put us both in jeopardy."
Denis Navarro: "Things went much better today. We were able to improve the set-up of the car and get closer to the leaders. It was hard to pass because everybody was super-close in their speeds. We'll try to qualify better and do even better at Milwaukee.
"When I got to ninth one car went on the grass and I was able to pass the other one.
"My car was super-quick at the beginning of the race. Conor was pretty quick too; it was difficult to get by him. But I had fun...more today than yesterday!"
Dan Andersen (team co-owner): "I'm tremendously proud of the Andersen Racing team. All the boys brought the cars home in one piece. Two were on the podium each day. We had two firsts and a new track record. I think the championship closed up too. I couldn't be happier."