IPS: Mid-Ohio: Series Friday practice notes

ANTINUCCI LEADS MID-OHIO 100 PRACTICE LEXINGTON, Ohio, Friday, July 20, 2007 -- Cheever Racing's Richard Antinucci led preparations for the Mid-Ohio 100 Indy Pro Series race. Antinucci turned a fast lap of 1:14.2590, 109.466 mph. Wade...

ANTINUCCI LEADS MID-OHIO 100 PRACTICE

LEXINGTON, Ohio, Friday, July 20, 2007 -- Cheever Racing's Richard Antinucci led preparations for the Mid-Ohio 100 Indy Pro Series race. Antinucci turned a fast lap of 1:14.2590, 109.466 mph. Wade Cunningham, the 2005 series champion, was second quick while Daniel Herrington, Andrew Prendeville and Bobby Wilson completed the top five. Qualifications will take place Saturday.

DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:

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Sean Guthrie's car carries its familiar yellow paint scheme and sponsorship from Trace Die-Cast Car Crafters on the sidepods this weekend, but a closer look shows the unfamiliar No. 12 on the rear wing instead of the usual No. 4.

The change is the result of an agreement this past week between Guthrie Racing and Playa Del Racing -- one small team helping another.

Guthrie Racing, which is owned by Sean Guthrie's father Jim, the 1997 IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year, has fielded two cars throughout the 2007 season while Playa Del Racing has fielded one.

The teams agreed to run Sean Guthrie in the No. 12 car this weekend after Playa Del Racing's car was damaged beyond repair in an accident at Nashville Superspeedway on July 14. Sean Guthrie continues to drive with a displaced fracture of his left foot that he suffered in a crash at Iowa on June 23.

The No. 12 Playa Del Racing entry ranks ninth in entrant points coming into this weekend while Guthrie Racing's No. 4 car ranks 16th. Tom Wieringa will drive the No. 4 car this weekend instead of the No. 40, which ranks 24th in points.

GARY SALLEE (Co-owner, Playa Del Racing): "Our car was destroyed at Nashville, so it was impossible to have a car of our own ready for this weekend. I worked with Jim (Guthrie) during the '98 Indy 500, and it's great to have a chance to work with him again. You never know, this could lead to collaboration that could last for a while."

JIM GUTHRIE (Owner, Guthrie Racing): "This should be a great opportunity for everyone concerned. This will give us an opportunity to share data and work with another small team to really level the playing field out there. I worked with (PDR co-owner) Gary (Sallee) when I was driving, and I'm glad we could find a way to work together again."

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Cincinnati native Brad Jaeger is in the midst of three "hometown" races. The Indy Pro Series rookie began the stretch July 14 in his adopted hometown of Nashville, Tenn., where he graduated in May from Vanderbilt University.

This weekend, he returns to Mid-Ohio where he has raced many times previously. The stretch will continue Aug. 11 at Kentucky Speedway, a 1.5-mile oval in Sparta, Kentucky.

BRAD JAEGER (No. 3 Brian Stewart Racing): "Cincinnati is about three and a half hours away from here. (Mid-Ohio) is the first track that I started racing cars on. This has sort of been my home track since the get go. Every year, I have friends that come up here and watch me race. I've raced Star Mazda, F2000, Sports 2000, SCCA and some other cars here, and I've had some good results, a couple wins. Hopefully, I can get into the top 10 this weekend."

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Robbie Pecorari, who earned his first Indy Pro Series victory July 14 at Nashville, is not the only member of his family racing at Mid-Ohio. Pecorari's brother Adam drives the No. 19 entry in the SPEED World Challenge Touring series. Robbie drives the No. 13 Cabo Wabo Tequila car for Team KMA in the Indy Pro Series.

ROBBIE PECORARI (No. 13 Cabo Wabo Tequila): "It's pretty cool. He's quite busy, and I'm driving in the Indy Pro Series, so the whole family is coming over. It's not often that something like this happens."

Andrew Prendeville hopes Mid-Ohio will be good to him one more time. The Indy Pro Series rookie has recorded five victories and eight podium finishes in 11 starts at the facility. A victory on July 22 would be his first in the Indy Pro Series. Prendeville's biggest victory at Mid-Ohio came in 2002 when he won the SCCA Formula Continental national championship at the Valvoline Runoffs. The 25-year-old served as an instructor at the Mid-Ohio School in 2005, living in Columbus for the year, and has logged more than 2,500 laps on the circuit.

ANDREW PRENDEVILLE (No. 5 RLR/Andersen Racing): "It is nice to come back. Maybe aside from Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio is the place that me and the Andersen Racing team have been tons of times. I've got a couple thousand laps around here. I enjoy racing here. The fans are always good at this event. I've been successful here, so I'm looking for the same. I used to live in Columbus for a year. I've got a couple of cousins, an uncle and aunt there, so it's kind of like home."

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No matter where he finishes, Andrew Prendeville's racing will pay dividends for Best Friends Animal Society, a not-for-profit organization which operates the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the United States. Through a Web site he developed called www.racinglapsforbestfriends.com, fans can pledge monetary donations to Best Friends based on the number of laps he completes in each Indy Pro Series race with his RLR/Andersen Racing/Best Friends Animal Society No. 5 car. At $1 per lap for a 40-lap race such as Sunday's Indy Pro Series race at Mid-Ohio, the donation would be $40. If the car would only complete 25 laps, then the donation would be $25. Donations in any amount from 25 cents and higher per lap can be pledged using the Web site and a major credit card. Other ways to contribute include calling the sanctuary at (435) 644-2001, extension 4801.

Best Friends has been working with Mark Kumpf, director of the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center in Dayton, Ohio, on the statewide issue of breed-specific legislation, which will affect the entire state. Best Friends is trying to move the focus from breed-specific legislation to instead address the issue of problem dogs, regardless of breed.Ohio ia also one of the states that was of great assistance to Best Friends in taking Katrina animals it had rescued from the New Orleans area. One shelter, Tender Loving Care in Medina, Ohio, fostered and found homes for animals from Tylertown, Miss., which is north of New Orleans. There were several other shelters throughout the state that also helped foster and find homes for Best Friends' Katrina rescues.

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Indy Pro Series driver Ryan Justice also has won at Mid-Ohio. Justice recorded the victory in last year's Star Mazda event at the facility.

RYAN JUSTICE (No. 38 Lifelock/Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "We tested fairly well here, and Mid-Ohio is a place where I've won a lot of races and poles so I definitely know my way around there. I feel like I need to redeem myself after crashing out of Race 1 in Watkins Glen. Definitely a lot of motivation, and I'll be pushing hard. Hopefully, even if the car's not perfect, I'll be able to pick up that last little bit and pick up stronger results because we had a good run going for a little bit in the last couple of races, and then I hit a bit of a slump that's absolutely unacceptable for me. I'm definitely looking to get out of it, and this is a great place for me to get back in the right direction."

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INDY PRO SERIES POST-PRACTICE QUOTES:

RICHARD ANTINUCCI (No. 51 Cheever Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fastest of the day): "The time was quick. Every lap we did was faster the one before. We were penalized for the pass under yellow, so we were held back for five minutes after everyone else. But once we started going, we were quick. We should be in good shape for qualifying."

WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc., second-fastest): "This morning was really tough, going out at 8:45 the condition of the track was terrible. The street cars had been on the track, totally incompatible rubber, and no temperature at all, so it was just a struggle to stay on the track. It really gave no bearing on what the cars were like later on in the day. The car was reasonable. We were trying to get a lot done in that short, 30-minute session. A little bit too much to do and not enough time. I'm reasonably happy with the car. We were quicker at the test, so there's more time to come. It probably won't come tomorrow in qualifying because again it's going to be the same conditions as the morning. So who knows what's going to happen tomorrow."

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SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE:
8:25 -- 8:50 a.m. Indy Pro Series SWE Pole Qualifying (all cars)
11:10 -- 11:35 a.m. Indy Pro Series practice #3 (all cars)

NOTE: Schedule subject to change.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Andrew Prendeville , Richard Antinucci , Ryan Justice , Robbie Pecorari , Brad Jaeger , Wade Cunningham , Daniel Herrington , Bobby Wilson , Tom Wieringa , Sean Guthrie