Andersen Racing's Jorda Records First Top 10 And Miller Finishes 11th In Long Beach's Firestone Indy Lights Race LONG BEACH, Calif., April 18 - Although it was only her second street race ever, Andersen Racing's Carmen Jorda finished in the top...
Andersen Racing's Jorda Records First Top 10 And Miller Finishes 11th In Long Beach's Firestone Indy Lights Race
LONG BEACH, Calif., April 18 - Although it was only her second street race ever, Andersen Racing's Carmen Jorda finished in the top 10 in Firestone Indy Lights action Sunday at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the longest-running street race in North America.
Jorda, a rookie making only her third series start, advanced from 16th place on the grid to finish tenth in the Andersen Racing No. 5. She almost earned the Force for Earth Hard Charger award but that went to Niall Quinn, who improved only two more positions than Jorda did.
Finishing right behind Jorda was her teammate for this race, Joel Miller of Hesperia, Calif., who was making his first series start. He started 13th in the Andersen Racing/Mockett/Allied No. 5. Along with the 11th-place prize money he received a $2,500 bonus from Firestone chosen randomly by the podium finishers. On Sunday the top three were James Hinchcliffe, who led all 45 laps from the pole; Charlie Kimball and J.K. Vernay.
Both Jorda and Miller lost one position at the start of the race, and Miller ran in 14th position and Jorda ran in 17th for the first five laps. Jorda advanced one spot when Dan Clarke pitted with mechanical difficulties, and they both moved up one more position when Junior Strous plowed into a tire barrier and then pitted with 10 laps down.
The first full-course caution flew on lap 14 for Rodrigo Barbosa, who was straddling the track after he spun in Turn 1. That didn't affect the Andersen Racing drivers' positions, but they both moved up one more spot when Stefan Wilson pitted with electrical problems on lap 18.
Miller stayed in 12th and Jorda in 14th until lap 30, when Barbosa spun again in Turn 1 and Miller flew down an escape road off Turn 8 when he lost second gear. He regrouped but now he was behind his teammate and Quinn, as Jorda ran 13th to Miller's 14th.
They both advanced one more position when Adrian Campos Jr. crashed in Turn 1 on lap 33, severely damaging the right side of his Dallara. Campos's crash brought out the event's third full-course yellow from laps 34 through 36 because his car had to be returned to the paddock on a wrecker.
The green flew again on lap 37 but the fourth and final yellow flew one lap later after Gustavo Yacaman and another driver came together in Turn 2. That was a thriller for Jorda, who did a slick move to avoid both of them and was rewarded by moving into the top 10 for the first time. Miller was still right behind her in 11th place.
Quinn passed them both shortly after the restart on lap 41 to push the Andersen duo back to 11th and 12th on lap 42, but on the following lap the sixth-place driver, James Winslow, impacted a tire wall to give them 10th and 11th back. That didn't bring out a yellow and Jorda and Miller were still in those spots when the checkered waved on their 45th trip around the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course.
Carmen Jorda: "It was my first top-10 in this series, and I'm really, really happy. This was really good for me. I was disappointed with my lap times on Friday and Saturday, but today I think I did a really good job.
"In the first part of the race I was finally able to run by myself and find the car's limits, and after that my lap times were much better. I think I was only 1.4 seconds off the pole during the race, which was a big improvement for me. I think it was a turning point, and I'm very happy.
"It was a really long race and I had a couple of close calls. The closest was when Gustavo Yacaman and another driver came together in Turn 2. I thought they were going to crash so I went between them. I missed being involved but it was very close.
"Today was a big improvement. I am more confident in the car now. I am happy with the team; my engineer, Walter Preston, and my coach, Bob Perona. They all have worked really hard.
"I'm really looking forward to my first oval race at Indianapolis in May. There is a test at Kentucky Speedway before that which will help us prepare.
"I am planning to go home to Spain next week; I hope my flights will be unaffected by the volcano in Iceland. I have been here since January, and I miss my home. It will be good to spend some time at home in Spain to relax a bit and then come back to tackle the ovals. I'm really looking forward to it."
Joel Miller: "We lost second gear with about 15 laps to go; it happened when I went down that escape road in Turn 8.
"Our major struggle this weekend has been with the brakes, but the team did a great job working with me to get me comfortable with the car. I wish we could do more testing. I haven't been in a car for six months, but we were right in there with the center pack. My car got quicker in the middle part of the race. If we hadn't lost second gear I think we would have finished seventh otherwise.
"I want to thank the team and all the people who helped me make this race. During the race I was totally focused on going forward, but on the cool-down lap I had time to realize that it was definitely cool to be racing here."
-source: andersen racing