RLR/Andersen's Mechanics and Engineers Take the Spotlight at Watkins Glen WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., July 5 - The Corning Duels were sort of a draw for RLR/Andersen Racing Saturday at Watkins Glen International. The Palmetto, Fla.-based team's...
RLR/Andersen's Mechanics and Engineers Take the Spotlight at Watkins Glen
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., July 5 - The Corning Duels were sort of a draw for RLR/Andersen Racing Saturday at Watkins Glen International. The Palmetto, Fla.-based team's engineers and mechanics had the starring roles, as they had to repair both of the team's Firestone Indy Lights cars after two separate accidents in order for them to compete in two races in one day, a first for the series.
J.R. Hildebrand was involved in an accident in the first race and placed 19th in that one. The team was able to repair his car so he could compete in the second race a few hours later, and he rewarded them by advancing 10 positions in the second 29-lapper to finish a strong ninth in the nightcap with his Allied Building Products No. 25.
Andrew Prendeville's mechanics and engineers had to repair the Best Friends Animal Society No. 5 after he was involved in an accident in qualifying on Friday. Prendeville rebounded nicely on Saturday to finish every lap of both races for his Racing Laps for Best Friends program, crossing the finish line in 11th and 13th places.
Saturday's races were the eighth and ninth events in the 16-race series. Hildebrand, a native of Sausalito, Calif., who lives in Indianapolis, is now fifth in the overall point standings. Prendeville, a transplant from Chatham Township, N.J. who now lives in Las Vegas, is 11th.
Hildebrand started fifth in the first 29-lapper, but he spun with two laps down and then was tagged by Bobby Wilson, forcing him out and the RLR/Andersen crew into action.
With the DNF in the first race, Hildebrand had to start 19th in the nightcap. He got a great start initially, advancing five spots, but then he dropped back a couple of positions until he was able to start going forward again on lap five. He vaulted from 15th to 12th with seven laps down. He continued his march forward to ninth place by lap 12, and that's where he ended up at the checkered. His drive was even more impressive considering it was done with a damaged front wing due to contact early in the race.
After the accident in qualifying, Prendeville had to start 20th in the first race on Saturday. He advanced to 13th with three laps down, and then got one more position on lap nine. He stayed in 12th or 13th for the bulk of the race, caught up in a torrid battle with Jonny Reid. They both moved up at the very end, with Reid placing tenth and Prendeville 11th.
Prendeville got to start 11th in the second race, since the starting line-up was based on the finishing positions from Race 1 with the exception of the first six finishers being inverted. He got tenth at the start and stayed in tenth or 11th until he had to pit for a new nose for his car with eight laps down after unavoidable contact with another driver. The RLR/Andersen Racing crew got it changed quickly, he didn't lose a lap, and he was soon back in another battle with Sean Guthrie and Brent Sherman. He got as high as 12th with four laps to go, but then Mitch Cunningham repassed him and he ended up 13th.
Raphael Matos won the first race over Richard Antinucci and Jeff Simmons. Antinucci won the second race over Matos and Ana Beatriz.
Race 1 post-race quotes:
Andrew Prendeville: "The Best Friends Animal Society car was good.
"I had a close call in Turn 10 about three laps after the last restart. The car got loose. I jumped through the grass and then through a gravel trap. I lost two spots. That was the closest call. Later I passed Mitch Cunningham and got one of those spots back.
"It was good racing. Eleventh isn't the greatest, but I'm pleased with the result. Most of all I'm pleased with the level of racing. The drivers were mostly clean and smart. That's important, because now we all get to go into the second race. They're inverting six for the start, so Logan Gomez has the pole.
"Jonny Reid and I were battling almost the whole second half of the race. We were the two who were coming back up through the field.
"Will [Paul] and Seb [Jubelin] did a fantastic job. We wouldn't have made the race after the crash in qualifying without all their hard work. They deserve all of the credit right now."
J.R. Hildebrand: "I spun out in the toe of the boot. We went out on new tires, and with all the early yellows I guess there wasn't enough heat in them. I went into the corner, had no grip, and just lost it. I spun to the inside of the track, but I didn't hit anything.
"I was a sitting duck at that point. From where I was stopped, I don't think Bobby Wilson could see me, and I got tagged. The left-side wheels and the left-side suspension were damaged, but the RLR/Andersen crew is great and they're working on it."
Race 2 post-race quotes:
J.R. Hildebrand: "The Allied Building Products car started out OK, but I was having a lot of trouble with the brake bias. I couldn't brake late, I couldn't turn in late, and I was losing time because of that. That made it difficult to pass guys.
"I was able to pick some guys off, but with what I was dealing with, some turns I had my hands full just getting through them myself. My front wing was broken most of the race because I had contact with the 17 car [Bobby Wilson] early on. Later I had contact with the 6 [Daniel Herrington]. He just turned in on me.
"But the RLR/Andersen guys have done a really good job all weekend. We started off promising, but it ended up sort of a weekend to forget. Now we have to play catch-up, but hopefully we'll have better luck in the races coming up."
Andrew Prendeville: "I had to pit for a new nose after another driver hit mine.
"But we did end up finishing all the laps for the Racing Laps for Best Friends program, and I want to thank everyone who made donations to Best Friends or bought Bertil Roos Racing School raffle tickets at racinglapsforbestfriends.com.
"I also want to thank the RLR/Andersen team for all their hard work. It was a disappointing weekend, but the guys really worked their tails off."