RLR/Andersen Finishes Eighth and 12th Saturday at Iowa Speedway NEWTON, Iowa, June 21 - RLR/Andersen Racing's J.R. Hildebrand and Andrew Prendeville brought their cars back to the paddock in one piece, which is always a challenge at Iowa ...
RLR/Andersen Finishes Eighth and 12th Saturday at Iowa Speedway
NEWTON, Iowa, June 21 - RLR/Andersen Racing's J.R. Hildebrand and Andrew Prendeville brought their cars back to the paddock in one piece, which is always a challenge at Iowa Speedway, after finishing eighth and 12th, respectively, after 115 laps of torrid competition in the Jeld-Wen 100 Firestone Indy Lights race Saturday.
Hildebrand, of Sausalito, Calif. and Indianapolis, started seventh in the Allied Building Products No. 25 and was never out of the top 10. Prendeville, of Las Vegas, advanced five positions with his Best Friends Animal Society No. 5, as he started 17th.
Neither drivers' positions in the championship changed after Saturday's points were tabulated. Hildebrand is still third, and Prendeville is still tenth.
Raphael Matos, who is fourth in the point standings, was one of Hildebrand's primary rivals during Saturday's race. They started side-by-side, and Matos got by him in the early going to push Hildebrand to eighth. Hildebrand got seventh on lap eight when he passed Brent Sherman, and he ran many subsequent laps in that spot, sandwiched between Matos and Sherman.
Matos was able to move up to fifth by lap 16. Hildebrand stayed in seventh and was chasing Ana Beatriz at that point. Sherman got around him on lap 23 to push him back to eighth. He remained in eighth until Pablo Donoso relegated him to ninth right before Travis Gregg spun in Turn 4 to bring out the second caution flag on lap 42.
Hildebrand passed Donoso on lap 49 to regain eighth place. Matos then fell back, and soon Matos was once again the driver directly in front of Hildebrand. Around lap 77 Hildebrand fell back one spot to ninth when Donoso repassed him. Donoso was able to move further up in the field, eventually finishing fifth. At lap 80 Hildebrand was still in ninth, and once again trying to pass Matos.
He had two bullets to dodge in the meantime, however. Jonny Reid crashed right in front of Hildebrand in Turn 4 on lap 105, but somehow he missed getting involved. He was still in ninth place, running between Jeff Simmons and Marc Williams, for the restart on lap 114. He had another close call when Bobby Wilson crashed at the very end of the race. That moved Hildebrand up to eighth at the checkered, with the same driver he was battling at the beginning, Matos, right in front of him.
Prendeville started 17th in the 22-car field, and since it's very hard to pass here he had his hands full right from the start. He stayed in 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.
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 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 Wilson's crash at the end, Prendeville ended up 12th in the final rundown. He finished all 115 laps for the fans who made donations to the Best Friends Animal Society's relief efforts for Iowa's recent floods at racinglapsforbestfriends.com too.
Point leader Dillon Battistini won the race over polesitter Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Beatriz.
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.
Andersen Racing is sponsored by Allied Building Products Corp. It is the official development team of Rahal Letterman Racing.
The team's Web sites are at andersenracingteam.com and andersenracepark.com. More information on the Firestone Indy Lights series is available at indycar.com/lights.
Post-race quotes follow:
J.R. Hildebrand: "The Allied Interior Products car was O.K. We had an understeer the first part of the race, but I had trouble moving the weight jacker because I needed to be on the straightaways to do that, and I didn't have much time. I could move the bars though, so I worked with it trying to make it better.
"On the first caution I was able to move the weight jacker, and I moved it a bunch. It made the car way loose from that point on. Later I backed it off all the distance I'd turned it plus some, but the conditions must have changed or something else was going on, because it was still wicked loose. Maybe a tire was going down; we'll have to look at the data and see if we can figure out what happened.
"I had a couple really close calls when Reid and Wilson spun. I was behind them at the time and I almost drilled both of them.
"The guys did a great job. Be sure you put that in. The RLR/Andersen engineers and mechanics did a really good job all weekend. But I'll be glad to move back to a road course, for sure."
Andrew Prendeville: "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.
"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."