An interview with Andrew Prendeville Indy Racing League Teleconference Transcript THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us for today's Indy Racing League teleconference. We'll take a look forward at the Iowa Corn Indy...
An interview with Andrew Prendeville
Indy Racing League Teleconference Transcript
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us for today's Indy Racing League teleconference. We'll take a look forward at the Iowa Corn Indy 250 and the Jeld-Wen 100 for the IndyCar Series and the Firestone Indy Lights this weekend at Iowa Speedway.
We have several guests joining us today. Starting the call with us is Firestone Indy Lights driver Andrew Prendeville. In a few minutes we'll be joined by Robbie Buhl and Kirk Taylor from Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. And we'll have Ryan Hunter-Reay from Rahal Letterman Racing to conclude the teleconference.
Andrew, good afternoon. Thanks for joining us.
ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: Thanks for having me on.
THE MODERATOR: A little bit of background on Andrew. He's in his second season in Firestone Indy Lights, driving the No. 5 entry for RLR/Andersen Racing. Heading into Iowa he ranks 10th in points on the strength of four top-10 finishes in the first six races, including a fourth at the last race at The Milwaukee Mile.
Andrew, you've had a really solid start to the season so far. Give us your analysis of your season to date.
ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: Well, it's been a pretty decent start. We've had a little bit of bad luck at a couple of races -- St. Pete and Kansas. That kind of put us behind in points. So right now we're trying to play catch-up. But we went to the Freedom 100 and Milwaukee and got some good finishes, got some points back, and even though we are 10th in points right now I think we're only about 50 points out of third place. It's a good thing that the championship this year is a really tight battle.
THE MODERATOR: No question about that. We're running at back-to-back short tracks in Milwaukee and Iowa, but they're very different. Can you compare and contrast the two tracks for us.
ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: Milwaukee is definitely the toughest short oval that we do. You're not flat out all the way around, so you really have to drive the car and the car has to be set up right. Iowa is pretty unique. It's seven-eighths of a mile, but for us it's flat out all the way around because of the high banking. So it's definitely a different style for each one. I think at Iowa things happen a last faster than you expect because it's such a short oval.
THE MODERATOR: What role does setup play in both? Setup is obviously key on any oval. Are there any differences in the importance that setup plays at the two tracks?
ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: Milwaukee's a flat elevation, so there's a difference in the setups as opposed to Iowa, which is pretty high banking. I think the biggest thing that I found out at Iowa last year is if your setup goes off at Iowa, you're going straight to the back very fast. The same goes for Milwaukee.
You got to have a good race car. If your setup's good, hopefully some other people's setups aren't so good, they fall back, you can pick up some spots.
THE MODERATOR: You continue to run a very successful program called Racing Laps For Best Friends. Give us an overview of the program.
ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: The Racing Laps For Best Friends is a per-lap donation platform for Best Friends Animal Society. I do have a little bit of news on that pertaining to Iowa, as well, in a little bit. But the program itself is you can donate a certain amount of dollars for every lap that I complete in any race. You can sign up for the entire season or you can sign up for individual races. All of that money goes to Best Friends Animal Society.
Real specific, with Iowa, being all the floods have been happening, they have a rapid response team that they've started out after Katrina a couple years back, and they are actually on the ground right now, this just happened the last couple days, looks like they are in Washington County Fairgrounds in Southern Iowa. They're also going out to Oakville, which is in Louisa County, Iowa. They're going to be doing whatever they can to get any animals rescued, get them medical help, and to get them back to the people who those animals came from.
So this is real important because all the laps that I do, all the donations that come in for this race go directly to that help the people in and animals in Iowa with all the floods going on.
THE MODERATOR: Let's open it up for any questions.
Q: Can you talk about how tough it is to do well in this series, much less win a race. I think I counted nine former Indy Lights Series winners in the field at Iowa this weekend.
ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: I think this year is a lot more competitive than it was in the past years. A lot of drivers have been around for a long time and won lots of races all over the world, all over the country, all different kinds of series. At the same time, I think the teams this year have gotten a lot closer in terms of how well the cars are prepped and the setups going on the cars.
I think we've had four or five different winners already this year, if I'm not mistaken, and it is very tough. You have to be spot on with everything that you do. But the most important thing is you've got to finish the race. There have been some mishaps here and there that help you move up in position. But you try and get everything you can because all the drivers are very, very good this year.
Q: Last year it was cold and rainy. It could be the same. Thirty percent of the race last year was run under yellow. Do you think we'll see as much time under the yellow this year? How do you see it playing out as far as the race itself this year?
ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: The Iowa race, I'm not really sure. The race had been kind of different this year. For example, Indy last year the field got strung out pretty well, but then this year it was a line of cars the whole race. Iowa last year was a string of cars. We thought we were going to be lapping fairly quickly, but I don't think we started lapping cars at all for the whole race.
I'm not really sure what to expect out of the Iowa race, but it's going to be competitive. Qualifying will be very important. Getting up to the front will be very difficult.
Q: Your brother had some racing success. Can you talk about how racing is a family affair in the Prendeville household.
ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: My family has been involved with racing for a long time. My brother, Doug, and I have been racing since we were kids. He just won a race up at Watkins Glen this past weekend in the Formula 2000 series. It's something that we both enjoy. We like competing against each other. It's a passion that we both have. So we enjoy it. Whether I go to his races, he comes to mine, or we're racing against each other, it's a good time for the whole family.
THE MODERATOR: You had some of your best finishes on the road courses in the second half of the season last year, including the third place at Infineon. We're about to enter that same stretch again here pretty soon. What are your expectations for the second half of the season knowing you're going to enter into a stretch of races that will suit you well?
ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: I think it's going to be just as competitive the second half. I'm in a pretty fortunate position. Like I said, the championship is very close. So I need to put a string of good finishes together to get myself in the hunt. I think the road courses should help. The ovals have been good to us. We have quick setups, but the races just haven't gone our way. So I think, you know, I just got to finish races and I got to finish well, and hopefully I can get myself back up into the top five in points.
THE MODERATOR: How difficult is that challenge this year because, as you noted, the depth of the series has improved so much?
ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: It's much tougher this year. Like I said, there's lots of good drivers. The teams are much more competitive with each other this year. But I think we just have to execute our weekends properly and we should be able to pick up a few more spots in the points these next couple races. Hopefully that's what we can do.
THE MODERATOR: Andrew, we appreciate your time. We wish you the best of luck this weekend in Iowa.
ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: Thanks for having me.