RLR/Andersen's Hildebrand Finishes Fourth, While Herrington Places Eighth Sunday at Infineon Raceway SONOMA, Calif., Aug. 24 - Andersen Racing's J.R. Hildebrand matched his performance on Saturday by finishing fourth again on Sunday with his ...
RLR/Andersen's Hildebrand Finishes Fourth, While Herrington Places Eighth Sunday at Infineon Raceway
SONOMA, Calif., Aug. 24 - Andersen Racing's J.R. Hildebrand matched his performance on Saturday by finishing fourth again on Sunday with his Allied Building Products No. 25 in the second half of a Firestone Indy Lights doubleheader at Infineon Raceway. It was his eighth top-five finish of the season.
Daniel Herrington, another driver for the Palmetto, Fla.-based team's Firestone Indy Lights squad, placed eighth on Sunday with his Andersen Racing No. 5.
North of the border, Andersen Racing had a perfect weekend at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario. Peter Dempsey won Saturday's Star Mazda race there, while Anders Krohn won both halves of the F2000 doubleheader and unofficially sewed up that driver championship.
Local favorite Hildebrand, of nearby Sausalito, Calif., started fifth in Sunday's 30-lap Firestone Indy Lights race, which was called the Valley of the Moon 100. Herrington, of Winston-Salem, N.C., started second beside the polesitter, Pablo Donoso, who led every lap to post his first series victory. He's the ninth driver to win this year, a record for the series.
Herrington ran in second place for the first four laps, but then Logan Gomez got by him on a restart to push him to third. He still had a podium position in sight until six laps from the finish, when he slid off course and slipped to eighth, which is where he finished.
(The restart was necessary after the event's only full-course caution, which came out on lap one when Mitch Cunningham touched wheels with Mike Potekhen and flipped in Turn 3. Luckily he wasn't hurt.)
Herrington's miscue on lap 24 advanced Hildebrand from fifth to fourth. The latter spent the bulk of the race trying to pass Ana Beatriz. He wasn't able to get around her on Sunday, but he did a masterful job holding off three other hot shoes behind him: Saturday's winner, Franck Perera, and the two drivers who now are left in the running for the title: Raphael Matos (472 points) and Richard Antinucci (469 points).
Beatriz is now third in the standings with 409 points but Hildebrand is only eight points out of that position, as he has 401 points. Dillon Battistini and Arie Luyendyk Jr. are next in the standings following Sunday's race; they both have 378 points. Donoso (343), Gomez (334), Sean Guthrie (309) and James Davison (303) follow. The only race remaining is the season finale at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., on Sept. 7.
Perera set the fastest lap of the race on the next-to-last lap with a 1:24.4442 (98.181 mph). Hildebrand's fastest lap was a 1:24.9764 (97.566 mph) on lap 12, while Herrington's was a 1:24.8562 (97.704 mph) on lap 13.
Incidentally, Sunday's winner, Donoso, won a Star Mazda race here on July 16, 2005 driving for Andersen Racing. He led every lap from the pole that day too, beating Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Matos and another former Andersen Racing driver that was in Sunday's Firestone Indy Lights race too, Robbie Pecorari.
J.R. Hildebrand: "The Allied Building Products car was really good. It was just one of those things. It's so hard to pass here. If we had finished better yesterday we would have started further back and we wouldn't have done as well today.
"I was stuck in the middle of the pack, and there wasn't much I could do about it. I was fast, but the track just isn't conducive to a lot of passing. We were sort of like an accordion for the whole race; all the guys behind me were sort of in the same situation. The track was a little worse today too.
"We could have really stood to finish ahead of Bia [Ana Beatriz] for the points, but coming out of here with a couple of top fives isn't all bad. We'll take it and try again at Chicago. We've had good runs on the big tracks, so I think we should be looking pretty good."
Daniel Herrington: "I was behind Pablo for the restart. His car was geared a bit different than mine, and Gomez got by.
"The Andersen Racing car was reasonable at the start, but it got loose as the race progressed. I tried to drive it at its limit, but that limit was so finite today that it was hard. I went wide in Turn 2 and slid off, and that's when I lost those positions. I did it on my own; I didn't have any contact with anybody.
"Some of the things we did to make the car better for this race seemed to make it worse. It was on edge a lot more today than it was yesterday. I struggled to keep my speed up over the bumps.
"Still, it's a top 10. I had big expectations though. I really want to win one of these races. It could be worse though. If I went off when I wasn't really trying hard it would be different, but I went off when I was really trying to catch somebody."