Edmonton: Series race notes

HILDEBRAND WINS EDMONTON, Alberta (Saturday, July 25, 2009) - J. R. Hildebrand, who recorded his fourth pole start of the season, led from the green lap and won the Firestone Indy Lights Grand Prix of Edmonton in the No. 26 ARPRO car for AFS ...


EDMONTON, Alberta (Saturday, July 25, 2009) - J. R. Hildebrand, who recorded his fourth pole start of the season, led from the green lap and won the Firestone Indy Lights Grand Prix of Edmonton in the No. 26 ARPRO car for AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing.

Rookie Richard Philippe finished second. With a third-place finish by teammate Sebastian Saavedra, who advanced two positions from his starting spot, Hildebrand increased his lead in the championship points standings from 51 to 69 heading to the Kentucky Speedway oval on Aug. 1.



Several Firestone Indy Lights competitors are paying tribute to Formula 2 driver Henry Surtees with a memorial decal on their cars.

The idea was sparked by British drivers Martin Plowman and Pippa Mann, who knew the driver, the son of former Formula 1 champion John Surtees. The younger Surtees was fatally injured in a racing accident in England on July 19.

"Although we never raced against each other, we met in several occasions when I was doing the Porsche Cup races back in England last year," Mann said. "Henry and his dad bought a bunch of my karting gear when I moved up to open-wheel (racing). We knew each other, and I can say that he was a genuine nice person and it was just a really bad weekend for motorsports around the world, not only when you lose someone as talented as Henry, but also such a nice person".

Plowman's family distributed the decals to all driver and will take a shirt and poster - carrying the same memorial decal and signed by the Grand Prix of Edmonton field - back to England and deliver it to the Surtees family.

"The first time I met Henry was actually the first time that he sat in a go-kart," Plowman said. "I was at an opening of a brand new track in England and they invited one driver from every class to do some demonstration laps, and I was there demonstrating the 60cc class. He was there taking his first laps on a go-kart. After that he was like a familiar face on the paddock. He was truly a nice guy. When I got the news I was devastated… It was a very bad day for the sport. It's just a tragedy and this weekend we'll race for him and I wish his family all the best".

Team Moore Racing may be based in Pittsboro, Ind., but the team is definitely one of the home teams at the Grand Prix of Edmonton.

The team, which is co-owned by Calgary native Tom Wood is sporting several Canadian sponsors this weekend on its No. 2 X-treme Coil Drilling car driven by Andrew Prendeville.

Sabre Well Servicing Inc., Bonnybrook Steel Fabricators, WMCZ Lawyers and Mediators, Peters & Co Limited, and BlackSun have joined the team for the race weekend.

"Tom Wood and I are very excited about the race in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. And equally excited about having the new sponsors on board for this event" said team co-owner Mark Moore. "The entire team and our driver, Andrew Prendeville, look forward to an exciting Grand Prix of Edmonton."

Both RLR/Andersen Racing cars are sporting the logo of Best Friends Animal Society at Edmonton as a salute to the not-for-profit animal welfare group, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this month.

The donated signage draws attention to Best Friends' quarter century of service to the welfare of abused, abandoned animals at its 3,700-acre sanctuary in southwestern Utah, and for its on-going work across the United States.

Best Friends' No More Homeless Pets program includes national campaigns in key American cities to address the problems of saving pit bull dogs, speaking out against puppy mills, addressing the problem of cat overpopulation and striving that one day there will be no more homeless pets.



* This is J.R. Hildebrand's third win of the season and the fourth of his career. He has also won at Long Beach and Watkins Glen in 2009.

* This is Andretti Green Racing/AFS Racing's fifth win of the season. It has won three times with Hildebrand and twice with Sebastian Saavedra.

* Richard Philippe finished second, his second podium of the season, but his first for Team PBIR. He also finished second with Genoa.

* Sebastian Saavedra finished third, his fifth podium finish of the season.

* James Hinchcliffe finished fourth, his fifth top-five finish of the season.

* Charlie Kimball finished fifth, his second top-five finish of the season.



J.R. HILDEBRAND (No. 26 ARPRO, winner Firestone Indy Lights Grand Prix of Edmonton): "We were running our own pace and I think the other guys started to fall off a little bit. I was just trying to run the same lap time from start to end and the car came to me a little bit as the tires went off, so I didn't have to take too many risks to accomplish that. We were able to bring home another win. It's a great circuit. It keeps you on your toes from top to bottom and front to back. I'm happy for the guys. We had a frustrating weekend at Toronto, but everyone did a great job this weekend."

RICHARD PHILIPPE (No. 37 Palm Beach International Raceway, finished second): "I'm as happy as I can be with finishing second. We've come a long way with the Palm Beach International Raceway car. I need to thank the team because they brought their "A" game. I've been trying to push them a lot to get to the front and here we are splitting two AGR cars, so we're doing something right."

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., finished third): For sure it wasn't easy. It was a really tough race, a long race and a physical race. I think we did a nice strategy of saving tires in the beginning. I just put pressure on the guys in front of me. Every time they made a mistake I was able to take advantage of that. I'm happy. Being 1-3 for AFS/Andretti Green is what we need for the championship and the rookie championship.

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 7 Hinchtown/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished fourth): "It was a tough day at the office. We got a decent start, but sort of got hung out to dry on the outside. I thought I would be able to get around (James) Davison but he got back around, so I settled into fourth. I was following Davison, but then my engine started to overheat, I tried to run off line on the straightaways, but there was so much marbles and dust offline. I got some marbles on my tires and locked up going into Turn 10 and that allowed Saavedra to get by. It's too bad. Early in the race we were being hung up by Davison and I think we could have run with Philippe. It's still a decent result and good for points and Sam Schmidt Motorsports, so thanks to them."

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 35 Palm Beach International Raceway, finished fifth): "We had a good car at the beginning and it lasted longer than James Davison and the other cars we were battling. I couldn't run with the four cars ahead of me, but it was good. I have to thank the team for putting a good car underneath me."

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Charlie Kimball , Tom Wood , Andrew Prendeville , Pippa Mann , John Surtees , James Davison , Richard Philippe , James Hinchcliffe , Sebastian Saavedra , Martin Plowman , J.R. Hildebrand , Henry Surtees