Andersen Racing's Kent Finishes Third While Miller and Daly Nab Top-Five Finishes In Nightcap of Star Mazda Doubleheader Sunday at Autobahn Chicago JOLIET, Ill., July 27 - Andersen Racing's Richard Kent followed up his fourth-place finish on ...
Andersen Racing's Kent Finishes Third While Miller and Daly Nab Top-Five Finishes In Nightcap of Star Mazda Doubleheader Sunday at Autobahn Chicago
JOLIET, Ill., July 27 - Andersen Racing's Richard Kent followed up his fourth-place finish on Saturday with a third-place finish on Sunday in the second half of a Star Mazda doubleheader that was part of the Harrah's Grand Prix presented by Mazda at the Autobahn Country Club.
Two of his teammates took the checkered flag right behind him after 40 minutes of competition on the bumpy, 3.56-mile, 21-turn road course. Joel Miller recorded his best finish as a member of the Palmetto, Fla.-based team by finishing fourth, while Conor Daly held off all comers to nail down fifth place in the non-stop, 18-lap race that was carried live on HDnet.
A fourth Andersen Racing driver, Denis Navarro of Sao Paulo, Brazil, passed the most cars of the quartet to come from 14th to 11th.
Kent, of Clifton Reynes, England, dramatically earned the third starting spot at the last possible moment during qualifying Saturday night, and then followed polesitter Peter Dempsey and second-place starter Adam Christodoulou throughout Sunday afternoon's race in his No. 33, which is sponsored by Traka and Allied Interior Products.
Miller, of Hesperia, Calif., followed Kent the whole way, as he started and finished fourth with his No. 2, which advertises Fader Higher Productions, eSoles Custom Footbeds, Doug Mockett & Co., Burns Truck & Trailer and Brazos Bend Energy Services.
Daly, a MAZDASPEED Motorsports driver development driver from Noblesville, Ind., started sixth on Sunday in his No. 22, which is sponsored by Indeck, Cytomax, College Network and Merchant Services. He passed the fifth-place starter, Michael Furfari, on lap one and then followed Dempsey, Christodoulou, Kent and Miller for 17 more laps. The best battle of the race was the one Daly won for fifth place, as he held off repeated challenges from Furfari, Alex Ardoin and David Ostella even though his car's handling was seriously compromised due to a tire issue.
After the race the team discovered that an employee for the firm mounting tires at the track for all the teams had made an unintentional human error and provided a mislabeled tire for Daly's car's right-front wheel. Instead of the road-course compound, it was a very hard, experimental oval-track tire. The error was definitely not the team's fault, and it made for a frustrating race for everyone involved with the No. 22, and especially Daly. He did a great job to not spin out while driving with the incorrect tire, let alone hold off all challengers and place in the top five.
Navarro had a busy race too. He got a good start with his No. 21 sponsored by Navarro Medicines Distribution and Allied Interior Products. He had already advanced two spots to 12th by lap two, but then he dropped to 16th while taking evasive action when another driver spun in front of him.
He quickly regrouped. He passed Kevin Toledo for 15th on lap four, Michael Guasch for 14th on lap five, Ashley Freiberg for 13th on lap six, and then got 12th when Rusty Mitchell spun ahead of him working lap nine. He passed Anders Krohn for 11th on lap 14, and safely brought his car home in that spot at the end.
Team co-owner Dan Andersen noted that Navarro had the third-quickest race lap until the very end of the race, when Miller nabbed that distinction.
The series now travels to the Trois-Rivieres street course in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec for a race on Aug. 16, the first of four remaining races for 2009. The rest of the schedule can be found at starmazda.com.
Going into Trois-Rivieres, Dempsey leads the driver point standings with 342 points. Christodoulou is second with 323. Andersen Racing drivers are third and fourth, as Daly has 280 points and Miller has 275. Kent is currently seventh and Navarro is 11th. Andersen Racing is currently second in the team point standings with 221 points to JDC Motorsports' 251.
Allied Building Products Corp. and Lafarge North America sponsor Andersen Racing, the development team of Rahal Letterman Racing. The team's Web site is located at andersenracingteam.com. Information on the team's 1-mile road course test track at its headquarters in Palmetto, Fla. can be found online at andersenracepark.com.
All four Andersen Racing Star Mazda cars sported the logo of Best Friends Animal Society as a salute to that not-for-profit animal welfare group, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this month. The donated signage drew attention to Best Friends' quarter century of service to the welfare of abused, abandoned animals at its 3,700-acre sanctuary in southwestern Utah, and for its on-going campaign work across the United States. Best Friends' No More Homeless Pets program includes national campaigns in key American cities to address the problems of saving pit bull dogs, speaking out against puppy mills, addressing the problem of cat overpopulation and striving that one day there will be no more homeless pets. More information on the organization can be obtained at bestfriends.org.
Post-race quotes follow:
Richard Kent: "It was a long race. It didn't seem to want to end, just sitting in third place the whole time. It's difficult when you're pushing as hard as you can and you just see the guys in front of you edging away from you each time.
"But we got some good points; that's the most important thing. We're back on the podium, which is good, considering the last two events we had.
"I didn't get a blinding start like yesterday, but I got a clean start. I just couldn't catch Peter [Dempsey] and Adam [Christodoulou] today. It was just a question of keeping the car on the track and bringing it home. I started third and just sat there the whole race.
"The track didn't seem to change much from yesterday. We changed the car a little bit from yesterday but I'm not sure we went the right way. But it was OK; not too bad.
"I want to thank my sponsors, Traka and Allied Interior Products, as well as our team, Andersen Racing, and of course everyone at Mazda and Goodyear. It's a very bumpy track, but my Goodyear Eagles were perfect - they were very consistent all weekend."
Joel Miller: "I got off normal and fell into fourth right there behind Richard and just kind of paced it there the whole race.
"At the beginning all of us kind of took different paths via the set-up. In the beginning we tried a few different things which didn't really work, and in the middle of the race we went back to something that I knew would work plus tried something else with the front bar, and after that it started laying down really consistent 13 flats. On my last lap I was able to pull down a 12.9, so I was able to find pace in the car late. I nearly caught Richard on the last lap, but here you just can't really get around anybody. I thought lapped traffic would work to my advantage, but it didn't really.
"Yancy and I are making improvements on the car. They have some things to work on at the shop that I know they'll fix. I'm happy to move forward to Trois-Rivieres. I was fourth there last year, and I'm definitely looking forward to improving on that and getting on the podium there."
Conor Daly: "It's always unfortunate when you have to be on the defensive the whole race. By the second or third lap the top four were already gone.
"My car would turn right fine, but on all the left-hand turns I got a massive understeer. Apparently a mistake was made by the company that mounts the tires at the track, and our team was given the wrong compound for my right-front tire. It was an even harder compound than the oval-track tires we run. It was just very unfortunate.
"I'm still pleased with fifth. With something unusual like that happening, fifth is really more than I could hope for. I just had to get off the corners and take care of the major passing zones as best I could.
"I'm looking forward to Trois-Rivieres. It will be my first true street-course race ever."
Denis Navarro: "My car was very good. One guy spun right in front of me and I went to the left and I lost about five positions to avoid him.
"I tried to pass some people. I just started too far back. But it was still a good race for me. My lap times were very good."