AWR's Prendeville gets on the Podium, Pecorari Brothers are in Top 10 Saturday MONTEREY, Calif., May 1 - A few hours after a Pennsylvania Thoroughbred galloped into history by winning the 130th Kentucky Derby, three race car drivers from ...
AWR's Prendeville gets on the Podium, Pecorari Brothers are in Top 10 Saturday
MONTEREY, Calif., May 1 - A few hours after a Pennsylvania Thoroughbred galloped into history by winning the 130th Kentucky Derby, three race car drivers from Pennsylvania representing a Pennsylvania-based team all recorded top-10 finishes for the Cooper Tires Championship Series' record books at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca here Saturday.
Andrew Prendeville of Monroeville, Pa. finished third in the 13-lap Formula Ford Zetec race while the Pecorari brothers, Robbie and Adam of Ashton, Pa., were fifth and tenth, respectively, driving cars based out of the Andersen Walko Racing stable in North Versailles, Pa.
Prendeville was third in the point standings going into this weekend's doubleheader, and after Saturday's race he's unofficially tied for second in the point standings.
Although nobody gave him any roses or a multi-million-dollar bonus for it, he finished where he started and he was happy to be on the podium. "I picked up points on [Jason] Bowles and some on [point leader Bobby] Wilson," noted the driver of the Racelink/Roos Racing School Andersen Walko Racing Van Diemen Ford No. 25.
The race was won by Ian Lacy with Wade Cunningham second. Wilson was fourth but Bowles went off course and placed 20th.
Prendeville said he was hampered at the initial start and on the various restarts because it took about three laps for his tires to really come in. After a false start, the front-runners were three abreast on the first lap before Wilson and another front-runner went off course.
"I gave them room, but they went off," Prendeville said. "By the third lap my tires started to come in, but there were a lot of yellows, which didn't help."
Prendeville's tire situation made the event's two-lap dash to the checkered even more of a challenge.
"Bobby [Wilson] tried the inside of me in turn one on the last restart," Prendeville said afterwards. "I gave him room, but I stayed ahead of him. Then in the exit of the last corner he tried again and we touched. It got me loose but I still got third. Robbie [Pecorari] almost got fourth because of that," he noted.
Sixteen-year-old Robbie Pecorari was making only his second start ever with the team, which has offices in Fairfield, N.J. "John Walko [co-owner of the team along with Dan Andersen] asked me if I wanted to drive Mike Andersen's car at Laguna Seca last Sunday night," he said of his last-minute ride.
"I started seventh, and when a couple of the cars ahead of me went off, I got up to fourth," he related. "I hung with the front group, but on one of the restarts Wilson went under me in the corkscrew and I went from fourth to fifth.
"Then with two laps left we had another restart," he explained. "My tires cooled down, but near the end of the last lap they warmed up and I started catching the leaders. I pulled alongside Wilson at the checkered, and just lost fourth by about 0.003 of a second."
His older brother, Adam, has been struggling since he arrived at the 2.238-mile road course and needs some better luck tomorrow.
"We can turn a fast lap, but we haven't had the luck here yet," he said. "I didn't get much practice. In one session a suspension piece broke. In the first qualifying session I was third after three laps, but then something broke in the transmission.
"I started 11th in the race, and I was up to seventh by the end of the first lap," he continued. "Then I had contact with Ron White in the corkscrew, and I got my nose cut off. It was bent in and hurting me aerodynamically and it was also blocking my radiator, so the car was getting hot. I got tenth, but I hope we can do better tomorrow."
The schedule has been a little fluid this weekend. There is now a qualifying session slated for Sunday morning to set the field for Sunday afternoon's race.
For more information see www.andersenwalko.com and www.cooperseries.com.