Indianapolis: RLR/Andersen Racing qualifying notes

RLR/Andersen Racing Has an Up and Down Day At IMS Thursday INDIANAPOLIS, May 22 - After impressive results in the two 45-minute Firestone Indy Lights practice sessions at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Thursday, RLR/Andersen Racing suffered a...

RLR/Andersen Racing Has an Up and Down Day At IMS Thursday

INDIANAPOLIS, May 22 - After impressive results in the two 45-minute Firestone Indy Lights practice sessions at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Thursday, RLR/Andersen Racing suffered a freak problem in qualifying as the Palmetto, Fla.-based team prepared for tomorrow's Firestone Freedom 100.

Although originally the 40-lap race was scheduled to be shown on a same-day, tape-delayed basis, now it will broadcast live on ESPN2 at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time tomorrow.

RLR/Andersen's Andrew Prendeville of Las Vegas will start 11th in the Best Friends Animal Society No. 5 after he posted two laps in 48.1014 and 48.1960 seconds during SWE Qualifying Thursday. His total time was 1:36.2974 for an average of 186.921 miles per hour.

His teammate, points leader J.R. Hildebrand, qualified 21st with two laps in 48.5038 and 48.6214 for a combined time of 1:37.1252 and an average speed of 185.328 mph. The driver from Sausalito, Calif., and Indianapolis drives the Allied Interior Products No. 25.

Both Hildebrand and Prendeville ran speeds in practice that were faster than the speed that Dillon Battistini ran to earn the pole in the early afternoon. In a very freak situation, both of the RLR/Andersen Racing drivers had problems with their cars as they entered the track for their qualifying runs. Both nicked the outer pit wall, compromising their qualifying results.

Hildebrand was the fastest of all 26 drivers in Thursday morning's first practice session when he took just 46.9791 seconds to cover the 2.5-mile oval at an average speed of 191.575 miles per hour. That ended up being the fastest time run in either of the two practice sessions that preceded qualifying.

Prendeville was timed in just 47.5260 seconds for an average speed of 189.370 mph on his ninth of 11 laps in the second practice session. That was good enough for second in that session, as only the driver who went on to win the pole, Battistini, was faster.

On the combined report for both practice sessions Hildebrand ended up on top and Prendeville was sixth. The top 19 practice times all came from the first practice session.

Prendeville qualified tenth for this race last year, ran as high as second, set the fastest lap of the race by running even faster than the speed that won the pole, and finished fourth.

Hildebrand is a rookie this year, but he won the series' last race on the oval at Kansas Speedway. Today was actually his first qualifying session on an oval ever, as his car wouldn't start prior to qualifying at Homestead and the starting grid was set by points at Kansas due to cold temperatures.

RLR/Andersen Racing is sponsored by Allied Building Products Corp. It is the development team of Rahal Letterman Racing. Its Web sites are at andersenracingteam.com and andersenracepark.com.

Prendeville has a unique program to raise funds for the Best Friends Animal Society based on the number of laps he completes in his races through a Web site at racinglapsforbestfriends.com.

Hildebrand represents Mockett.com, Formotion Products, Inc., Spy and Santa Cruz Bicycles. His Web site is at jrhildebrandracing.com.

Post-qualifying quotes follow:

Andrew Prendeville: "We had problems in qualifying today, but I think we have a good car for the race. Qualifying higher up would have been nice, but a good finish in the race tomorrow is our real goal."

J.R. Hildebrand: "We had a little trouble getting out of the pit lane. The car couldn't turn enough to get out. The brakes weren't pumped back. We set them up so the rotors were far away from the pads, but we nicked the pit wall on the way out, just like my teammate, Andrew, did.

"From there the car was pretty good, but it was just slow in a straight line because the right side of the front wing was messed up.

"It's a bummer. We had a fast car through both practice sessions. We'll have to work on the race set-up and make it happen in the race. We're going to need some cautions and get a couple breaks, but we've had real good race cars so I have no doubt we can get it together."

-credit: rlr/ar

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Andrew Prendeville , J.R. Hildebrand , Dillon Battistini