Nashville: RLR/Andersen Racing race notes

Both of RLR/Andersen's Drivers Are in Top 10 At Nashville Superspeedway Saturday LEBANON, Tenn., July 12 - After a thunderstorm erased all the Firestone Firehawk rubber on Nashville Superspeedway's concrete surface and caused ...

Both of RLR/Andersen's Drivers Are in Top 10 At Nashville Superspeedway Saturday

LEBANON, Tenn., July 12 - After a thunderstorm erased all the Firestone Firehawk rubber on Nashville Superspeedway's concrete surface and caused a one-hour-and-45-minute delay to the start of the Sunbelt Rentals 100, RLR/Andersen Racing was still able to garner two top-10 finishes in Firestone Indy Lights action Saturday.

J.R. Hildebrand actually got a top-five finish, as he placed fourth in the Allied Building Products No. 25 after starting tenth. Andrew Prendeville started 12th and finished ninth in the Palmetto, Fla.-based team's Best Friends Animal Society No. 5, finishing all 77 laps for his Racing Laps for Best Friends program.

With his fifth top-five finish of the year, Hildebrand, of Sausalito, Calif., and Indianapolis, is now sixth in the point standings. Prendeville, a native of Chatham Township, N.J. who now lives in Las Vegas, is 12th.

Hildebrand got a great start, vaulting from tenth to eighth by passing Logan Gomez and avoiding Raphael Matos, who fishtailed but saved it in Turn Four before the green dropped. Hildebrand got seventh with six laps down by passing Brent Sherman. He got sixth when Dillon Battistini suffered a flat tire after he and Jeff Simmons tangled on lap 14.

Hildebrand stayed in sixth until lap 20 when he passed Arie Luyendyk Jr. to crack the top five. Simmons then pitted to change his car's nose cone after his incident with Battistini, which gave Hildebrand fourth on lap 22.

Luyendyk got Hildebrand back on lap 43 to push him back to fifth, but he got fourth back again two laps later when polesitter James Davison, who had been second, and Jonny Reid tangled on the backstretch to bring out the second and final yellow.

Matos threatened to pass him after that caution period, but was unable to do so and Hildebrand took the checkered flag in fourth place.

Ana Beatriz became the first woman ever to win a Firestone Indy Lights race when she took the victory over Bobby Wilson and Luyendyk Jr.

Prendeville zoomed into the top 10 by the end of lap one. Franck Perera passed him with six laps down to push him to 11th place, but he got tenth back on lap 14 due to Battistini's problems. That put him right behind Sherman, whom he passed on lap 17 for ninth place.

He got eighth when Simmons pitted, and then he stayed in that spot for the next 21 circuits of the 1.33-mile oval. He moved up to seventh on lap 45 due to Davison's misfortunes.

The restart on lap 53 didn't go well for Prendeville. He dropped one spot initially, but then got caught by a train of cars and slipped back to 11th. He regrouped at the end though, passing Sherman for tenth with five laps to go and getting by Pablo Donoso on the last lap for ninth place.

Hildebrand's fastest lap of the race was a 26.6049 (175.907 miles per hour) on lap 61. Prendeville's was a 26.8749 (174.140 mph) on lap 65.

ESPN2 will telecast the race on a tape-delayed basis at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time Thursday, July 17.

The circuit now moves to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio for a doubleheader next Saturday and Sunday. Andersen Racing's F2000 team is in action there this weekend, and its Anders Krohn won the first half of a F2000 doubleheader there earlier Saturday afternoon.

J.R. Hildebrand: "The Allied Building Products car was pretty good. We were fighting an understeer for the first half of the race. I was trying to keep my tires for the end. By the end of the race the car was handling well, but the tires went away the last five to 10 laps. Raph [Raphael Matos] was catching up after the last caution, but I think his tires were going away too and we were able to keep ahead of him.

"With the green track, it was hard to figure out what to expect. We had put a neutral, forgiving set-up on the car because it looked like it was going to be really hot. With the rain, that forgiving set-up played into our hands this afternoon I think.

"I couldn't dive deep into the corners today, so I tried to be smart and work with what we had. I tried to give guys some room. We really wanted to finish this race.

"I think we'll be really strong for the next run of races. The rest of the tracks that we're going to really suit our team's strong points. I think the drivers who are at the top in the point standings now will be the ones we'll have to beat for the championship. We'll definitely be able to make up some ground if we keep doing what we did today. I'm very optimistic about the rest of the season."

Andrew Prendeville: "The Best Friends Animal Society car was real loose at the beginning of the race. I made adjustments, and just tried to balance the car for the second half of the race.

"I lost some positions there once when I was hung out to dry on a restart. I was on the outside, and I just got passed. But then we were able to regroup, and we finished ninth.

"Will [Paul] and Seb [Jubelin, his mechanics] did a great job, as always. I'd also like to thank everyone who made donations to Best Friends on racinglapsforbestfriends.com. We were able to finish all 77 laps, which is good."

-credit: rlr/ar

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Brent Sherman , Andrew Prendeville , Jeff Simmons , Pablo Donoso , James Davison , Bobby Wilson , Jonny Reid , J.R. Hildebrand , Ana Beatriz , Dillon Battistini , Anders Krohn , Franck Perera , Arie Luyendyk Jr.