AWR's Prendeville Retakes Points Lead With Fourth-Place Finish Sunday at Infineon; Pecorari Places Fifth SONOMA, Calif., July 18 - Andersen Walko Racing's Andrew Prendeville retook the points lead in the Cooper Tires Formula Ford Zetec series...
AWR's Prendeville Retakes Points Lead With Fourth-Place Finish Sunday at Infineon; Pecorari Places Fifth
SONOMA, Calif., July 18 - Andersen Walko Racing's Andrew Prendeville retook the points lead in the Cooper Tires Formula Ford Zetec series with a fourth-place finish in Sunday's race at Infineon Raceway.
His teammate, Adam Pecorari, who set a new track record here in qualifying, finished fifth in the 17-lap contest.
The event was held on the same 2.53-mile road course that hosted the American Le Mans Series earlier in the day.
England's Jay Howard won the race followed by Wade Cunningham and Jason Bowles.
Prendeville, of Monroeville, Pa., started fourth in the Andersen Walko Racing/Racelink/Roos Racing School Van Diemen Ford No. 25.
Pecorari, of Aston, Pa., started third in the SAI Hydraulics/Andersen Walko Racing Van Diemen Ford No. 28.
Prendeville was one of three drivers going three-wide up the hill into turn one at the start. He fell back to fifth or sixth on lap two, but meanwhile Pecorari was coming on strong and got back to third.
Two cars crashed and partially blocked the course working lap three, causing a full-course yellow. The green waved again on lap five. By lap six Prendeville was back in fourth and Pecorari was fifth.
By lap eight the two AWR teammates were battling each other and Cunningham for third through sixth places while the leaders, Ian Lacy and Howard, had a little advantage up front.
Cunningham passed Pecorari for fifth on lap nine. With seven laps to go Prendeville was in fourth and Pecorari was in sixth, although lapped traffic was opening up opportunities and making it hard for anyone to keep track of who was running where.
Cunningham got by Prendeville by darting to the inside of him in turn 11 for fourth on lap 11, but Prendeville was not about to give up. They were side by side going up the turn one hill on lap 12.
A series official pointed out that the best battles going on at the lap 13 mark both involved the AWR drivers, as Pecorari was dicing with Bobby Wilson and Prendeville was busy with Bowles on that lap. At that point Howard and Lacy made contact, with Howard going on to win and Lacy ending up in the tire barrier in turn 11.
Pecorari was able to get by Wilson in that same turn on that same lap, although there was unintentional contact between the two and Wilson had to drop out.
Prendeville was in third place with two laps to go, but Bowles passed him working lap 16 so he finished fourth with Pecorari fifth.
The series now travels to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Aug. 8. The AWR drivers placed first and second in the last FF Zetec race there. Events at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. on Aug. 22 and in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Oct. 10 round out the schedule.
Driver quotes follow:
Prendeville: "It was probably the most exciting race of the year. I couldn't tell you how many lead changes there were. I was up to third at one point. There were battles everywhere.
"I didn't spin or anything, but Ian Lacy and I touched wheels at one point.
"We had a restart where I jumped up to fourth from about sixth. Then [Jay] Howard and [Ian] Lacy had contact, and that moved me up to third I think.
"Then Wade Cunningham got by me. [Bobby] Wilson was leading at that point, but for some reason he fell back. He didn't finish the race, so that helps me with the points.
"Jason Bowles got around me and I battled with Adam [Pecorari] for awhile. There was battle after battle with everyone; I can't remember them all. It was a really exciting race.
"Jay Howard won; Wade Cunningham was second and Bowles was third.
"I just knew I had to finish the race. I'm ahead in points again now, with and without the drops. It's still close though.
"The Andersen Walko guys did a great job. I'm leaving here still in the points lead and we're heading back to Mid-Ohio where we've done well before, so we're feeling pretty good."
Pecorari: "We didn't find anything with the car after yesterday's race; I think the tires were just shot.
"Today my car was decent. It came in at the end of the race.
"I had a bunch of incidents. I hit [Jay] Howard's rear wheel once.
"I tried but I couldn't get by Andrew [Prendeville]. I went off a little bit trying to get by him, and [Wade] Cunningham went by me.
"I was catching them, but then [Bobby] Wilson and I hit. I hit him, but it wasn't intentional. It was just a racing incident. There were lots of them in this race.
"That was the race. It was a fun, fun race. Fifth is still good for points, so I'm happy."