Bonilla Leads Andersen Racing Contingent In Star Mazda Action at MMP TOOELE, Utah, July 15 - The Andersen Racing drivers raced when they could during Saturday's Star Mazda event at Miller Motorsports Park (MMP), with Gerardo Bonilla of Orlando,...
Bonilla Leads Andersen Racing Contingent In Star Mazda Action at MMP
TOOELE, Utah, July 15 - The Andersen Racing drivers raced when they could during Saturday's Star Mazda event at Miller Motorsports Park (MMP), with Gerardo Bonilla of Orlando, Fla. recording the team's best finish when he placed seventh in his Skip Barber Racing School-sponsored car.
Unfortunately a bigger track didn't cut down the number of caution flags that waved. At 4.5 miles the 24-turn road course is the longest one in the United States and it's 40 to 50 feet wide, but even with the extra room the 45-minute Star Mazda race was marred by four caution flags. Only eight of the 13 laps were run under green, with the longest run being the last four laps.
Despite that another one of the Andersen Racing drivers, Ramiro Scuncio of Conception, Chile, was able to battle back from 31st spot at one point to finish 13th in his Sky Airlinc Chile-sponsored car. He saved the best for last, advancing three spots on the very last lap.
The third Andersen Racing driver here, Doug Prendeville of Whippany, N.J., brought his Winder Farms-sponsored car home in 15th spot despite several close calls.
Bonilla started eighth but dropped to ninth on lap three. At that point he was already embroiled in a battle with Charles Anti and Doug Peterson, but he moved into eighth place on lap six and seventh on lap eight. Anti was still ahead of him at that point but Tom Sutherland was right behind him. Bonilla and Sutherland had a good battle for awhile before Sutherland finally got the upper hand. Bonilla's position, seventh, didn't change but the drivers he was battling did a little, as he was kept busy keeping Daniel Herrington at bay and trying to pass Logan Gomez the rest of the way.
Scuncio had the most interesting race of the trio, and definitely made the most of every opportunity.
He started 14th but had trouble right away when a driver ahead of him hit the brakes instead of the accelerator at the initial dropping of the green flag. Contact was made, with Scuncio's car suffering damage to its front wing and nose. The team brought him in to replace those parts at that point and he dropped from 14th on lap one to 31st on lap two, but by lap three he was already back up to 19th, running between John Pew and Jon Brownson.
Scuncio slipped to 23rd on lap four and things looked a bit bleak on lap six when he was back down to 26th. But with some attrition by some other drivers and some passing by him he was back to 23rd on lap seven, despite a close call when Dan Tomlin Jr. got off course right beside him in Turn Five on that lap.
The green waved again on lap 10 with Scuncio in 22nd spot, and that's when he really got busy. He moved into 18th place on lap 11; he was 15th on lap 12; and he was up to 13th on lap 13. The only thing that stopped his impressive drive was that time ran out and the checkered waved.
Prendeville started 18th, was 16th by the end of lap one and got as high as 13th on lap four before ending up 15th. His run was marred by a flat-spotted tire. He said he lost count of all his close calls but he was pleased to bring his car home without a scratch. He went off course in Turn 16 on lap five but quickly got back on the track without spinning and soldiered on.
Adrian Carrio won the race over Ron White and Kevin Lacroix. Unofficially Carrio now leads the point standings with 234 points over Herrington in second with 196 and Michael Potekhen in third with 190.
Unofficially Bonilla is ninth in the overall point standings and he still leads the Expert Series.
Scuncio is tenth in the overall point standings, right behind Bonilla. Andersen Racing's Brad Jaeger, who wasn't able to compete here but hopes to race at Portland next week, is tied with Jon Branam in 21st position. This event was Prendeville's first of the season and he's not running for points.
The race will be broadcast at 3 p.m. Eastern time July 29 on SPEED. The next event is coming right up next weekend at Portland International Raceway in Portland, Ore.
More information is available at andersenracingteam.com and starmazda.com.
Driver quotes follow:
Gerardo Bonilla: "The track was dusty and slick; if you go off-line for any reason you have no grip. I didn't notice the wind, but once my visor got hit by a rock.
"We missed the set-up a little because we didn't think there would be that many yellows. The car was loose but it had a push in some of the slow-speed corners. I had to slow down in places to save it. I lost some positions due to that and I lost some positions due to my own mistakes. I passed some people and I also gained some positions due to other people's mistakes. But the whole race I was just hanging on.
"I had a real close call when Ramiro went off at the start.
"I feel good about my pass of Tom Sutherland in Turn 21; that was a good pass. He got me back later. I got by Anti on a restart; that was good too.
"The team did its usual great job; hopefully we can have better results at Portland."
Ramiro Scuncio: "I saw the green and accelerated, but the car in front of me braked and I touched him. It happened in the last corner; that's where I was when the green came out. I don't know why he braked; we had the green.
"Then under the yellow they called me in to change the front wing and the nose, and we went back out in 23rd spot. I came back to finish 13th, so I feel good about that.
"The last restart was the best. I gained three positions. I got one on the restart and the other two in different turns on the track. My last lap was the best. It was a good show!
"The car was good. The track was very dirty though. The wind buffeted my helmet on the straights but it didn't move the car at all.
"Other than the problem at the start, which was just a racing incident, I was close to one other problem later in the race. It was in Turn Five; maybe it was Tomlin; I'm not sure.
"I'm very happy with my team. My mechanic and my engineer are very good and worked very hard. I like Andersen Racing very much."
Doug Prendeville: "The car was good, but the race had too many yellows. Roger and Glenn and the rest of the Andersen Racing team did a great job, as usual.
"I flat-spotted a tire, which didn't help. But I still made my goal, which was a top-15 finish.
"This was my first full racing weekend ever without any crash damage at all. Dan [Andersen, the team owner] won't believe it.
"I had some close calls though. A guy spun in front of me on the pace lap before the race even started. Then Ramiro was close to me when he went off. Patterson went off in front of me on the last lap. Those are the ones I remember; I lost count of all the close calls.
"I went four wheels off once myself, but I got right back on. That happened in Turn 16.
"The track was really dirty. The wind picked up. Once I even noticed pebbles going by when there weren't any cars around me to have kicked them up."