NA-F2000: AWR Road America round 15 race notes

Pecorari Posts Third Straight FF Zetec Victory at Road America Saturday as Andersen Walko Racing Clinches Team Title ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 21 - One Andersen Walko Racing driver was glad and another one was mad after Saturday's SCCA Formula...

Pecorari Posts Third Straight FF Zetec Victory at Road America Saturday as Andersen Walko Racing Clinches Team Title

ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 21 - One Andersen Walko Racing driver was glad and another one was mad after Saturday's SCCA Formula Ford Zetec race at Road America, the event where the team clinched the overall team point championship for this Cooper Tires series.

The happy driver was Adam Pecorari of Aston, Pa., who posted his third straight series victory and became the winningest driver in the series so far with four triumphs when he took the checkered 0.143 of a second before Bobby Wilson did in the 12-lap, 48-mile, 30-minute race.

Things didn't go as well for the team's other driver, the current leader in the driver point standings, Andrew Prendeville of Monroeville, Pa. After an engine change Friday night he was back under full power and he was in fourth place with three laps down when unfortunately there was contact between his Van Diemen and the one driven by Jason Bowles. Prendeville ended up in the concrete wall for a very unusual DNF and a 33rd place finish overall in the 35-car field.

The drivers' points battle was close before but it's even closer heading into tomorrow afternoon's season finale. Prendeville had a 10-point lead going into Saturday's race but going into Sunday's event now he has only a two-point lead over Wilson, 304 to 302. Pecorari is still third with 289 points now. Bowles is out of the championship hunt after Saturday's race, so one of those three drivers will be crowned the 2004 champion tomorrow afternoon. And, in a true testament to Andersen Walko Racing, two of those three drivers race with AWR.

In the team standings, Andersen Walko Racing clinched the team championship Saturday over Cape Motorsports, JDC Racing and Aiken Motorsports. No matter what happens Sunday, the team from North Versailles, Pa. and Fairfield, N.J. has already earned enough points to claim the honors as the best team in the entire series.

The driver point standings and all the different scenarios that could occur is a statistician's joy and reporter's nightmare. If either Prendeville or Wilson win tomorrow, either one wins the title no matter what the other one does.

That's the easy part. If Pecorari and Wilson finish one-two tomorrow like they did today, Prendeville would have to finish third and lead the most laps to win the championship.

For Pecorari to win the title he needs to win tomorrow's race and lead the most laps, and for Wilson to finish fifth or worse and Prendeville to finish sixth or worse.

Those are just some of the scenarios which could occur. But that's all in the future, albeit less than 24 hours away.

In Saturday's race Pecorari started on the pole due to his new track record in qualifying with his Grand Prix Distributing/SAI Hydraulics/Andersen Walko Racing Van Diemen Ford #28. Both Wade Cunningham and Ian Lacy got around him at the start, however.

Prendeville started fifth but moved to fourth on lap two, putting the two AWR teammates in perfect position to draft with each other.

It wasn't to be, however, as Bowles was right on Prendeville's rear wing. Prendeville stayed ahead of him until about two-thirds of the way down the straightaway before turn five, when Bowles ran over the nose of Prendeville's Racelink/Roos Racing School/Train Collectors Warehouse Van Diemen Ford #25. Bowles went on to finish fifth, but the contact knocked out Prendeville's steering and brakes and sent him into the concrete wall. Luckily he wasn't hurt.

Lacy and Pecorari both got by Cunningham by the end of that lap, and Lacy led for five laps before Pecorari passed him in Canada Corner. The Penn State student was never again headed. ' Wilson got around Lacy for second on the next lap, and the top five positions remained the same for the remaining two laps with Pecorari winning over a fast-closing Wilson followed by Lacy, Cunningham and Bowles.

Tomorrow's 12-lap season finale on the 12-turn, 4.048-mile road course gets the green flag at 4:15 p.m. after the ALMS headliner. The top 10 in the starting line-up, which is being determined by the fastest race laps recorded Saturday, will be Wilson, Pecorari, Cunningham, Lacy, Chris Guerrieri, Bowles, Gerald Kraut, Niki Coello, Steve Welk and Prendeville.

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Driver quotes follow:

Pecorari: "I said it was going to be a dogfight, and it was. At the start Wade came up and I got squirrelly off turn one. Really for the first two or three laps I was a little squirrelly, but I played with the bars and I found the sweet spot about four or five laps in.

"I had to really drive defensively. I caught Ian in Canada Corner. I saw Bobby was coming, and I was just trying to be smooth and keep him behind me because I knew he'd be strong. The race was only 12 laps, and you just have to do what you can do in that amount of time. It was a dogfight all the way.

"I just hope Andrew can bounce back and win the championship tomorrow."

Prendeville: "He [Bowles] came across me and ripped off my nose, and I lost my steering and brakes and I went right into the wall. It was a stupid move. We weren't even near the braking zone. It happened two-thirds of the way down the straightaway to turn five; I didn't even get to turn five. In my opinion it was a dirty move, but I guess that's for the officials to decide.

"Before that my car was awesome. I had a decent start. The motor was good. The team did a hell of a job changing the motor last night and a hell of a job all weekend.

"We're still two points ahead. We're starting tenth tomorrow and we have our work cut out for us, but it's still racing and anything can happen, which has been proven the entire weekend."


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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Andrew Prendeville , Adam Pecorari , Steve Welk , Wade Cunningham , Jason Bowles , Bobby Wilson , Ian Lacy , Niki Coello
Teams HART