Andersen Racing's Daly Battles Back from Spin To Finish Fifth Sunday in Star Mazda Action at VIR ALTON, Va., April 27 - Conor Daly's hopes for a top-five finish looked dismal after a 360-degree spin in the middle of VIRginia International ...
Andersen Racing's Daly Battles Back from Spin To Finish Fifth Sunday in Star Mazda Action at VIR
ALTON, Va., April 27 - Conor Daly's hopes for a top-five finish looked dismal after a 360-degree spin in the middle of VIRginia International Raceway's 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course Sunday afternoon during the second round of the 2009 Star Mazda championship presented by Goodyear.
Daly, of Noblesville, Ind., hadn't done anything wrong to get himself in that perilous position; the Andersen Racing driver spun after a competitor ahead of him checked up unnecessarily. Still, it was Daly who was in a bad spot, with the rest of the field scrambling to get around him.
Somehow they all missed him and Daly rejoined the fray in a bizarre, 17-lap race that had far more yellow-flag laps than green ones.
When he did have the opportunity to go, Daly did. Despite the lack of many green-flag laps he finished fifth to lead his Palmetto, Fla.-based team's three entries in the event. Daly's car, the No. 22, is supported by the MAZDASPEED motorsports driver development program, Indeck, Cytomax, College Network and Merchant Services.
Mikael Grenier of Stoneham, Quebec, Canada made his first start with the team in the No. 17, which is sponsored by NAPA Auto Parts, CAA-Quebec and HS Telecom. He started fourth and finished eighth.
The team's third driver, Denis Navarro of Sao Paulo, Brazil, recorded the team's best result in qualifying when he was third in the No. 21 sponsored by Navarro Medicines Distribution and Allied Interior Products. He was just 0.404 of a second off polesitter Adam Christodoulou's new track record. Unfortunately Navarro had trouble in the race and ended up 19th in the final rundown.
The next Star Mazda race is May 16 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. Another Andersen Racing driver, Richard Kent of Clifton Reynes, England, expects to be back in action with the team for that event.
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 offers future open-wheel stars programs in karting, Formula BMW Americas and Firestone Indy Lights. One of its Firestone Indy Lights drivers, Jonathan Summerton, leads that series' point standings.
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 series' Web site is at starmazda.com.
Some post-race quotes follow:
Conor Daly: "My car was excellent in the race; it was the best it's been all weekend, actually. It's just unfortunate that with all the yellows, I couldn't make good use of it.
"I was involved in one of the yellows. Heading into Turn 17, somebody up ahead brake-checked and the whole field stopped. I did a 360-degree spin, and cars split me left and right. It was definitely not good. I don't know how everybody missed hitting me, but I was OK. I lost a lot of positions, but I got going again before the yellow came out for another incident.
"I don't know where I was after the spin; maybe ninth or something. Then I just picked off about four other drivers ahead of me and ended up fifth. There weren't many green-flag laps at all."
Mikael Grenier: "It was quite crazy. There were only five green-flag laps or something like that.
"My car was OK; it had a little understeer, but it was fine, really. I got passed on the first restart when someone braked at the front.
"It was my first Star Mazda race and my first race at VIR, and considering everything, I guess qualifying fourth and getting eighth was OK."