Brake Problem Strikes RLR/Andersen Racing Saturday at St. Pete ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., March 31 - A brake problem with both of the RLR/Andersen Racing cars in Saturday's Indy Pro Series race at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg caused drivers...
Brake Problem Strikes RLR/Andersen Racing Saturday at St. Pete
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., March 31 - A brake problem with both of the RLR/Andersen Racing cars in Saturday's Indy Pro Series race at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg caused drivers Andrew Prendeville and Joey Scarallo to finish 13th and 15th, respectively.
Just minutes after the cars were back in the paddock after the 40-lap/72-mile race, RLR/Andersen Racing engineers Dominic and Nicholas Cape discovered that both cars' brakes had been hanging up. The team immediately got to work to fix the problem and now hopes are high for a better finish in the second half of the doubleheader here at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow.
Prendeville, of Morristown, N.J., started 15th and Scarallo, of Smithtown, N.Y., took the green flag in 20th position out of 24 drivers Saturday. The finishing positions from Saturday's race will determine the grid for Sunday's race, with the exception of inverting the top six cars, so they'll start 13th and 15th on Sunday.
Prendeville got off to a great start with his No. 5 Dallara, which promotes the Best Friends Animal Society. Phil Giebler, who started second, and Matt Jaskol, who started fifth, made contact and spun in Turn 1 on the first lap to give Prendeville two spots. Bobby Wilson was supposed to start 13th but he didn't start on the grid, so that gave him another position. Prendeville also passed CR Crews and Chris Festa to improve five positions, from 15th to tenth, by the end of lap one.
The yellow came out with two laps down when Jaime Camara made contact with the tire wall in Turn 8. The green didn't wave again until lap seven. Prendeville was in tenth for that restart, sandwiched between Logan Gomez and Chris Festa, and he remained in tenth through another yellow with 11 laps down to tow in Ken Losch's car. He held tenth on that restart on lap 18 too but then fell to 12th on the next lap and to 15th by lap 21. He moved back up to 14th due to attrition on lap 23 when Richard Antinucci and Gomez had contact in Turn 1. Prendeville stayed in 14th until the last lap, when Sean Guthrie spun and dropped from tenth to 16th, and he took the checkered in 13th.
Someone ran over the right-front wing of Scarallo's GroupAWheels.com No. 15 at the start of the race, much to the dismay of not only him but also various members of the congregation of the Christian Family Outreach Center in Tampa. Scarallo had put the church's name on his car's front wings in honor of his family members, including his grandmother, who attend that church and were on hand to cheer him on. Even the minister was in attendance to offer moral support.
Their prayers must have kept him off the wall in the fracas, and he was able to dip into the pits on the lap two yellow flag to replace the car's nose and continue on. He didn't lose a lap and he restarted in 21st place when the green waved on lap seven. He was up to 18th by lap nine, and stayed in that spot under the yellow from lap 11 through 17. He passed Jon Brownson on lap 18 to move to 17th, and he was 16th due to attrition by the next yellow with 24 laps down. He couldn't advance any more due to the brake problem, but he did move up one spot on the last lap when Guthrie fell back.
Alex Lloyd won the race over Hideki Mutoh and one of Andersen Racing's Star Mazda drivers in 2005, Jonathan Klein.
Prendeville is in eighth place in points after Saturday's race and Scarallo is 20th.
Andersen Racing is the official Indy Pro Series development team of Rahal Letterman Racing.
Andersen Racing is committed to offering a program that gives up-and-coming drivers the proper training to reach open-wheel racing's major leagues. It fields multiple cars in the Hankook Tires F2000 Championship, the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, and the Indy Pro Series. More information on the team is available on its Web site at andersenracingteam.com.
Driver quotes follow:
Andrew Prendeville: "I had a better start than five other guys and I was up to tenth by the end of the first lap. Two guys spun, and that caused a full-course yellow. I ran in tenth but I fell back because of the problem with the brakes. I wasn't able to hold the draft down the straightaways because of the problem.
"The car handled great; the RLR/Andersen guys did a good job with the set-up. We kept improving our lap times. We ran the fastest we've run here so far during the race, so we're getting quicker.
"People spun in front of me twice in Turn 1, but it wasn't close. I can tell you there was a lot of blocking going on.
"I think the course is fun. St. Pete is only the second street course I've ever done. It's very physical."
Joey Scarallo: "We'll fix the problem with the brakes and maybe trim it out more and do something different with the gearing.
"Somebody ran over my right-front wing at the start. I have no idea who. Then when the yellow came out I came in and we changed the nose. They did that really quickly and under caution, so I didn't lose a lap.
"The balance of the car didn't feel too bad. I thought it was pretty consistent.
"I love street courses. This is a good one too.
"My grandmother and a bunch of other relatives are here and a lot of people from their church, the Christian Family Outreach Center in Tampa. I had the church's name on my front wing until it got run over at the start. We'll fix the problem with the brakes and try to do better tomorrow."