RLR/Andersen Racing's Prendeville Finishes Fifth in First Indy Pro Series Race at Homestead HOMESTEAD, Fla., March 24 - Andrew Prendeville of Morristown, N.J. came from 21st starting spot to finish fifth in his first oval-track race ever ...
RLR/Andersen Racing's Prendeville Finishes Fifth in First Indy Pro Series Race at Homestead
HOMESTEAD, Fla., March 24 - Andrew Prendeville of Morristown, N.J. came from 21st starting spot to finish fifth in his first oval-track race ever Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The event was also the first Indy Pro Series race ever for he and his teammate, Joey Scarallo of Smithtown, N.Y., and for their team, RLR/Andersen Racing of Fairfield, N.J.
Scarallo had a top-10 finish in sight until debris from a bad crash hit his GroupAwheels.com Dallara and forced him to drop out of the race, which was shortened 10 laps so track crews could repair the retaining walls.
Prendeville, driving a car that promoted Bestfriends.org, was ahead of that melee and took the checkered under caution behind the winner, Alex Lloyd, and the other top-five finishers: Chris Festa, Hideki Mutoh and Jaime Camara. Only the latter passed more cars than Prendeville did, as Camara advanced 20 positions to Prendeville's 16.
Prendeville qualified 21st and Scarallo 23rd in the 25-car field.
Prendeville flew at the start, as he was 18th by the end of lap two, 15th by the end of lap three and 13th by the end of lap five. He had just passed CR Crews for 12th when the first yellow waved on lap six for a crash in Turn 2 involving Tom Wood and A.J. Russell. Scarallo had been in 21st early but he had moved up to 17th at that point.
The green waved again on lap 11. Prendeville was busy trying to pass Ryan Justice while holding off Shane Lewis at that point, while Scarallo passed Jon Brownson to move up to 16th, with Crews just ahead and Micky Gilbert behind him.
Prendeville cracked the top 10 on lap 15 by passing Mike Potekhen. Scarallo was in 17th at that point, running between Gilbert and Tom Wieringa.
Prendeville moved up to ninth on lap 16 when he got around Justice. A lap later Scarallo regained 16th by passing Gilbert. He then got caught up in a heated battle with Shane Lewis and Wieringa.
That when things got too close for comfort for Scarallo, who did some fancy driving to miss getting tangled up in a violent, two-part crash involving Wade Cunningham and Justice coming out of Turn 2 that brought out the second yellow flag on lap 22.
When the standings got sorted out Prendeville was up to eighth, sandwiched between Sean Guthrie and Potekhen, while Scarallo was in 14th, running between Lewis and Wieringa.
The race was restarted on lap 43 but just three laps later the yellow waved again for an even nastier wreck involving Pablo Perez, Gilbert and Guthrie in Turn 2. Prendeville was ahead of that one but Scarallo got caught up in it when a flying gearbox hit his car as he was trying to get through the trouble. Although he wasn't hurt the damage to the car was too extensive for him to continue, and he ended up 21st in the official order of finish.
Initial medical reports indicate that all the drivers escaped injury except for Justice and Perez. Justice reportedly was awake and alert and was transported by helicopter to Jackson Memorial Hospital for precautionary reasons. Perez was reportedly transported to the same hospital by air with orthopedic injuries to both legs. Officials said he was in stable condition.
The next two Indy Pro Series races are coming right up next weekend on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.
Post-race quotes follow:
Andrew Prendeville: "I had a good start. I believe [Logan] Gomez and [Jamie] Camara went flying by me, but I was passing cars right and left too. At one point we were four wide, and I know a couple times I passed two cars at a time. I think I was 12th by the first yellow.
"Our car was awesome. We had sticker tires for the start and that helped; I think that gave us an edge for the first five or 10 laps. The Firestone Firehawk tires performed great.
"Our car ran smooth. It was good in traffic. I was sort of glad for that first yellow because I think I hurt the tires a bit moving up from 21st to 12th.
"I was close to two of the accidents. I just happened to be on the inside and I was able to get around them.
"The RLR/Andersen Racing crew gave me a good car. For the most part, once I got by somebody they couldn't get me back. It was my first oval race ever, and to bring home a top five, it was awesome."
Joey Scarallo: "I was just trying to make it to the finish. I was playing with the bars and the weight jacker. Once we got going it wasn't too bad.
"I barely made it through the first big wreck. Then in the second one, a gearbox came down the track and hit our car and took out our right-rear corner. I'm fine, but I was close to both of the crashes. The first one I barely made it through; the second one I barely missed it."
Dan Andersen: "For his first-ever oval race, Andrew showed amazing poise. He was slicing and dicing and he moved right up to finish fifth. I'm proud of him and I'm proud of the team for giving him a fast race car. I think this proves that Andrew is a natural talent.
"Joey had an excellent run too; he would very likely have had a top-10 finish, but racing luck bit him, which happens sometimes.
"I'm very satisfied with both the drivers we've signed for the year, and for our first Indy Pro Series race as a team."