RLR/Andersen Racing's Romancini Leads Every Lap at Milwaukee Sunday WEST ALLIS, Wis., May 31 - Polesitter Mario Romancini led all 100 laps of the Husar's House of Fine Diamonds 100 Sunday at the Milwaukee Mile to give RLR/Andersen Racing its ...
RLR/Andersen Racing's Romancini Leads Every Lap at Milwaukee Sunday
WEST ALLIS, Wis., May 31 - Polesitter Mario Romancini led all 100 laps of the Husar's House of Fine Diamonds 100 Sunday at the Milwaukee Mile to give RLR/Andersen Racing its second Firestone Indy Lights victory ever.
The 21-year-old driver from Sao Paulo, Brazil impressed everyone with his come-from-behind podium finish at the Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway nine days ago. This time the rookie made the crowd on hand in Milwaukee take notice of his total domination of the event, even though he never turned a lap here before Saturday morning's first practice session and this was only his third oval-track race ever.
Romancini's No. 5, which is sponsored by Andersen Racing, Revita Recycling, Win Brazil Marketing, Allied Interior Products and Lafarge North America, had a 1.0907-second advantage over a former RLR/Andersen Racing driver, J.R. Hildebrand, when the checkered waved after 100 laps of competition on the tight, 1.015-mile oval.
Romancini also set the fastest lap of the race when his lap 13 took 25.3397 seconds for an average speed of 144.201 miles per hour.
There were four caution flags for 17 laps, two of which involved the other RLR/Andersen Racing driver in the race, Jonathan Summerton of Kissimmee, Fla. Although he qualified third, he ended up 16th.
His problems started when another competitor touched his No. 9, which advertises Give Kids the World, Allied Interior Products and Lafarge North America, on a restart on lap five, sending him spinning in Turn 4. Somehow he kept the car off the wall, never lost a lap and persevered. He dropped from third to 15th but he was able to charge back up to tenth despite a vibration and flat-spotted Firestone Firehawks from the spin. The compromised rubber finally gave out when a tire blew on lap 50, sending him into the Turn 1 wall. Luckily he wasn't hurt.
The other two yellows were for Martin Plowman stalling on the frontstretch after the initial start, and for Daniel Herrington's accident on the frontstretch on lap 86. That gave Hildebrand one more chance to get by Romancini on the restart, but the Brazilian rebuffed all comers.
Romancini was lapping cars by lap 15. He lapped clear up to ninth place. He had about a 1-second to 1.5-second lead over Hildebrand for most of the race, although he stretched his advantage to 2.1024 seconds on lap 20. The closest Hildebrand got to Romancini on green-flag laps was 0.2722 of a second behind him on lap 71, but Romancini had padded his advantage to 1.4914 seconds seven laps later. Romancini's 2.4435-second advantage over Hildebrand on lap 85 was washed out when the last caution flew on lap 86, but there was a lapped car between the top pair on the restart on lap 91 and Romancini continued to be able to walk away from all comers until the checkered flew on lap 100.
Summerton was one of the first to congratulate Romancini in victory lane. Romancini showed similar team spirit when he pulled number 16 in a special drawing that Firestone stages after each race. Since that's the position in which Summerton finished, Summerton will get a bonus $2,500 from Firestone to aid his racing efforts.
The race is scheduled to be shown on VERSUS at 4 p.m. Eastern on Monday.
With the victory Romancini moves from eighth to third in the championship, just 20 points out of the lead. Summerton is now fifth in the point standings.
The next race is June 20 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.
For more information on Andersen Racing, which is sponsored by Allied Interior Products and Lafarge North America and offers programs in karting, Formula BMW and Star Mazda in addition to Firestone Indy Lights, see its Web site at andersenracingteam.com. For more information on its 1-mile road course test track in Palmetto, Fla., see andersenracepark.com.
Driver quotes follow:
Mario Romancini: "I was able to make a good start. The car had pretty much the same balance for the whole race; I didn't have to make many adjustments at all.
"The next race is an oval too. Here it was much more difficult to pass than it was at Indianapolis, but I like this track too. Iowa is also a short oval, and we'll just try to be strong again in Iowa.
"This gives us a lot of confidence. I feel very comfortable with the car and the team. I want to thank everyone on the team for their hard work. I think we are going in the right direction, and this was very good points for the championship."
Jonathan Summerton: "Somebody just clipped me on a restart, and it sent us around. I didn't hit the wall, and I didn't think it flat-spotted my tires too badly. We had a vibration after that, but it started getting better. Then the right-front tire just blew out and I hit the wall.
"I want to thank the team for all their hard work. Our cars were strong all weekend. The guys did a great job, and I want to thank everyone."