Prendeville Finishes All 115 Laps Saturday at Iowa Speedway For Best Friends Animal Society's Iowa Flood Relief Efforts NEWTON, Iowa, June 21 - The Rapid Response team from the Best Friends Animal Society is in Iowa doing everything they can to...
Prendeville Finishes All 115 Laps Saturday at Iowa Speedway For Best Friends Animal Society's Iowa Flood Relief Efforts
NEWTON, Iowa, June 21 - The Rapid Response team from the Best Friends Animal Society is in Iowa doing everything they can to help the animals affected by the Midwest's recent flooding.
On Saturday Andrew Prendeville did everything he could to help too, as he finished all 115 laps of the Jeld-Wen 100 Firestone Indy Lights race at Iowa Speedway. By finishing all the laps, he guaranteed the most donations possible for Best Friends' Iowa relief efforts from the fans that made per-lap donations on-line at racinglapsforbestfriends.com.
The donations fans make through the Racing Laps for Best Friends program for all of Prendeville's races go entirely to the animal welfare group based in Kanab, Utah. The funds for this particular race were earmarked for Best Friends' relief efforts in Iowa, however.
Just as many residents of the Midwest are struggling, Prendeville found the going a bit rough during Saturday's race. Passing is difficult on the seven-eighths-mile trioval, and he had to start 17th in the 22-car field with his Best Friends Animal Society No. 5.
He never gave up. He had a close call on a restart, but he stayed out of trouble and advanced five positions to take the checkered flag in 12th place.
Prendeville was 17th in the early going. Sean Guthrie, who like Prendeville usually runs in the front, passed him on lap 13 to push him back to 18th on lap 13. Micky Gilbert also got by him two laps later to relegate him to 19th, but Prendeville kept digging and was always able to stay on the lead lap.
Travis Gregg's spin on lap 42 moved Prendeville back into 18th position. Prendeville passed Gilbert on the restart on lap 47 to regain 17th, but then Gilbert got by him one lap later to push him back to 18th. He ran his fastest lap of the race on lap 52, which was when he was in the most danger of going a lap down.
He was able to stay on the lead lap, however, and he got 17th place back on lap 57. By lap 66 he was still in 17th, but he was running between two drivers who are also usually higher up, James Davison and Logan Gomez.
Gomez passed him on lap 84 to push him back to 18th, and four laps later he was the last driver on the lead lap. He regained 17th on his next trip around the seven-eighths mile trioval, giving Gomez the distinction of being the last driver on the lead lap at that point.
Prendeville passed Davison for 16th place on lap 96. He got 15th on lap 100, and was still in that spot when Jonny Reid crashed five laps later. That moved him up to 14th, sandwiched between Gilbert and Gomez. He passed Gilbert one more time before everything was over. Coupled with Bobby Wilson's crash at the end, Prendeville ended up 12th in the final rundown.
"The Best Friends Animal Society car was fine; the RLR/Andersen guys did a great job with the car this weekend, as they usually do," Prendeville said after the race.
"We were able to pick up five spots, and we finished all 115 laps for Racing Laps for Best Friends.
"I had an exciting moment in Turn 2 on one of the restarts, but no contact with anybody."
ESPN2 will telecast the race on a tape-delayed basis at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time June 26.
The most important day in Firestone Indy Lights history is next, as the series will hold two races on the same day for the first time ever July 5 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Donations for Best Friends are already being accepted on racinglapsforbestfriends.com for those events, as well as the remaining races on the 2008 schedule.
In addition to racinglapsforbestfriends.com, fans can find more information at andrewprendeville.com, bestfriends.org, andersenracingteam.com and indycar.com/indylights.
-credit: ap/restart communications