RLR/Andersen Racing Finishes Fourth and Fifth At Milwaukee Sunday MILWAUKEE, June 1 - RLR/Andersen Racing's Andrew Prendeville and J.R. Hildebrand drove smart races Sunday at the Milwaukee Mile. Prendeville was rewarded with a fourth-place...
RLR/Andersen Racing Finishes Fourth and Fifth At Milwaukee Sunday
MILWAUKEE, June 1 - RLR/Andersen Racing's Andrew Prendeville and J.R. Hildebrand drove smart races Sunday at the Milwaukee Mile. Prendeville was rewarded with a fourth-place finish in the Firestone Indy Lights 100-lapper with his Best Friends Animal Society No. 5, and Hildebrand was right behind him in fifth place with his Allied Interior Products No. 25.
The strong finishes helped both drivers in the point standings. Prendeville, of Chatham Township, N.J. and Las Vegas, is now in tenth place in the championship with 125 points, just five less than the driver in ninth, Sean Guthrie. Hildebrand, of Sausalito, Calif., and Indianapolis, is now third with 178 points, 14 less than second-place Dillon Battistini and 15 less than the current point leader, Richard Antinucci, with 10 of 16 races remaining.
Prendeville started sixth, but Raphael Matos got around him on the first lap right before a full-course yellow waved for an incident in Turn 4 involving the two women in the race, Ana Beatriz and Cyndie Allemann.
The race restarted on lap eight but was immediately slowed again when Marc Williams brushed the Turn 2 wall with his car's right rear. He continued on to pit lane, so that yellow only lasted one lap.
Prendeville was still in seventh when the third and final yellow waved on lap 20 when Mark Olson hit the inside wall in Turn 4 and slid to a stop on the frontstretch. Liquid was spilled in that one, but members of the conscientious Milwaukee Mile track crew got down on all fours to wipe it up so the race could restart again on lap 30.
It went green the rest of the way. Prendeville got sixth on the restart by passing Arie Luyendyk Jr. He got fifth when polesitter Pablo Donoso dropped from fourth to sixth on lap 52. He passed James Davison for fourth with 97 laps complete, and then took the checkered behind only race winner Bobby Wilson, runner-up Jeff Simmons and Matos, who placed third.
Hildebrand had to be patient too, especially since he started 14th after a crash in practice forced the RLR/Andersen crew to play catch-up while they repaired his Dallara prior to qualifying.
Hildebrand passed two of his rivals on the first lap to move into 12th. He stayed in that spot until lap 18, when he passed Brent Sherman right before the yellow for Olson. He lost two spots on the restart on lap 30 to push him back to 13th, but he regained 12th on lap 33 by passing Battistini and 11th on lap 39 when he repassed Sherman. He got by Logan Gomez for tenth with a move to the inside caught by the ESPN2 cameras, and then zeroed in on Guthrie, who had other ideas. It wasn't until lap 66 that Hildebrand was able to put Guthrie behind him and move into ninth place.
Hildebrand used lapped traffic and his rivals' battles to his advantage on lap 70, passing both Luyendyk Jr. and Wade Cunningham to nail down seventh.
Donoso was penalized for blocking Hildebrand for sixth on lap 74, and was instructed to allow Hildebrand by. He did so with 76 laps down, allowing Hildebrand to settle into sixth, about 4 seconds behind Prendeville.
Prendeville passed Davison for fourth with three laps to go and Hildebrand got around Davison on the last lap to nail down the twin top-five finishes for the Palmetto, Fla.-based team.
The race will be broadcast at 1 p.m. Eastern time June 5 on ESPN2.
The next Firestone Indy Lights race is June 21 at Iowa Speedway.
Andersen Racing is sponsored by Allied Building Products Corp. It is the development team of IndyCar's Rahal Letterman Racing. Its Web sites are at andersenracingteam.com and andersenracepark.com.
Post-race quotes follow:
Andrew Prendeville: "The Best Friends Animal Society car was real good today; I have to thank everyone at RLR/Andersen Racing for that. I was much faster than a lot of the cars in front of me. I was quicker than one particular driver in front of me most of the race, but he was extremely difficult to pass.
"There at the end, traffic helped me and it hurt everybody else. You learn a lot about how to get through traffic when you're raised in New Jersey.
"We had a good race car all weekend. The car was perfect the whole race. And we finished all 100 laps for the people who made donations to Best Friends on racinglapsforbestfriends.com, so that's good."
J.R. Hildebrand: "I wasn't looking forward to starting mid-pack here because it's easy to get caught up in something, but the RLR/Andersen team gave me a great car. I screwed up in practice and crashed, but they fixed the Allied Interior Products car and it was great for the race. To be able to put it into the top 10, let alone the top five, shows that the guys really earned their pay here this weekend.
"It had to help us in the points. I even lapped Antinucci, so we made up some points today that will help.
"I didn't really pass people with straight-line speed; instead, I looked for opportunities in traffic and when people were battling each other; that's how I was able to pass a couple people simultaneously. I usually got by on the inside when they were battling somebody else. I was trying to be opportunistic, and it paid off.
"It feels good to complete all 100 laps, especially after last weekend. I thought my car was good all the way through the race."