Watkins Glen: RLR/Andersen Racing qualifying notes

Romancini Qualifies Tenth, Donoso to Start 14th and Jackson 21st For RLR/Andersen Racing In Saturday's Firestone Indy Lights Race At Watkins Glen WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., July 3 - Although he only had 18 laps of practice at this track before ...

Romancini Qualifies Tenth, Donoso to Start 14th and Jackson 21st For RLR/Andersen Racing In Saturday's Firestone Indy Lights Race At Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., July 3 - Although he only had 18 laps of practice at this track before qualifications, RLR/Andersen Racing's Mario Romancini qualified tenth Friday afternoon for Saturday's Corning 100 Firestone Indy Lights race at Watkins Glen International.

Romancini's tenth of 15 laps recorded in the 45-minute qualifying session was done in 1:38.4725, which resulted in a 123.202 miles per hour average speed for his No. 5 sponsored by Andersen Racing, Revita Recycling, Win Brazil Marketing, Allied Interior Products and Lafarge North America.

That was just 1.2945 seconds off the time James Davison ran to win the pole. It was also just 0.2788 of a second slower than the time recorded by the one-lap record-holder here, Wade Cunningham, who will start just two positions ahead of Romancini on Saturday. Romancini, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, had never driven at Watkins Glen before today, while Cunningham, the series' 2005 champion, has podium finishes in each of his four starts here.

Romancini is second in the point standings heading into tomorrow's race.

One of Romancini's RLR/Andersen Racing teammates, Pablo Donoso of Santiago, Chile, will be in the 14th position when the green flag drops at 1 p.m. tomorrow for 30 laps/102 miles of competition on the 3.37-mile, 11-turn road course. His qualifying time in the Andersen Racing/Allied Interior Products/Donoso LTDA No. 9 was 1:39.5420 for an average speed of 121.878 mph.

A third RLR/Andersen Racing driver, Ali Jackson of Belfast, Northern Ireland, will start in scratch, 21st, tomorrow in the Moyvalley Golf & Hotel Resort/Allied Interior Products No. 6. He missed Friday's action entirely due to travel problems.

His plane from Dublin was late, which caused him to miss his connection in London. He subsequently caught another flight that landed at New York's JFK Airport Friday afternoon. After a lengthy process in customs he's currently enroute by car to his hotel in the Watkins Glen area, where he is expected to arrive sometime Friday night. Hopefully he won't have much jet lag, because he'll have just a half-hour of practice Saturday morning at 9 a.m. before Saturday afternoon's 30-lap race at 1 p.m.

Romancini and Jackson will be making their first starts at the historic New York road course tomorrow. Donoso competed in this race last year with another team.

The race is slated to be broadcast live on indycar.com and on a tape-delayed basis at 11 p.m. Monday on VERSUS, which is a change from the customary 4 p.m. Monday airing of the other races so far this year. All times are Eastern.

After the qualifying session, 17 students from four different universities' Formula SAE programs visited the RLR/Andersen Racing paddock in a program organized by Firestone Indy Lights and the track. The students were from Columbia University, Cornell University, Penn State University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Jonny Baker, Andersen Racing's driver procurement specialist and a key person involved with the team's corporate karting program at Andersen RacePark, pointed out several interesting things to the students using Jackson's car as an example. Ryder Drumm, one of the team's mechanics, also shared some insights with the students, as did the team co-owners, Dan and John Andersen.

"It was neat that we could talk to some of the workers," said one of the students, Daniel Considine of Dallas, Pa., who will be a senior in Penn State's mechanical engineering program when classes resume in the fall. "We asked different questions on set-up, and looked at their tubs and components of their suspensions.

"The whole set-up, like the tools they have and everything, is neat," added Considine, who wants to be involved in racing as a career after graduation. "So are the number of cars they're working on at once."

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.

Post-qualifying quotes follow:

Mario Romancini: "It's difficult to learn a track in just a few laps and then go qualify. I thought we had a good balance with the car in the first practice session and I was optimistic when we were sixth in that session. Now I'm disappointed that we're tenth in qualifying. The practice session tomorrow morning will be very important. Unfortunately we're starting in the back again, but we will do our best.

"I like the track.  It's challenging and very nice.  I'm just disappointed
that we didn't qualify better.  But tomorrow will be another day."

Pablo Donoso: "We improved the car a lot from where we were this morning. It was much better. But we still have some work to do. We will try to make more improvements for the practice session tomorrow and go from there."

-credit: rlr/ar

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Pablo Donoso , Wade Cunningham , James Davison , Jonny Baker , Mario Romancini