Andersen Racing Sets Three of Top Four Times Recorded During Star Mazda Test On O'Reilly Raceway Park's Oval INDIANAPOLIS, May 8 - Andersen Racing's Mikael Grenier, Tristan Vautier and Anders Krohn recorded the second-, third- and fourth-fastest...
Andersen Racing Sets Three of Top Four Times Recorded During Star Mazda Test On O'Reilly Raceway Park's Oval
INDIANAPOLIS, May 8 - Andersen Racing's Mikael Grenier, Tristan Vautier and Anders Krohn recorded the second-, third- and fourth-fastest times, respectively, during a test conducted by the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear Wednesday and Thursday on the 0.686-mile oval at O'Reilly Raceway Park.
The test was in preparation for the series' first appearance at the Night Before the 500 show here on Saturday, May 29, when the Star Mazda set shares the card with the USF2000 National Championship presented by Cooper Tires and powered by Mazda, and the USAC Mopar midgets.
Grenier, of Stoneham, Quebec, is only 17 years old and he has only ever been in one oval-track race. He finished 12th in the Star Mazda race at the Milwaukee Mile last June, but he didn't get to run many laps that weekend due to rain and a crash in practice.
He feels much better about his chances at O'Reilly Raceway Park on May 29 after he set the fastest time of the day on Wednesday and then followed that up with the second-fastest time overall on Thursday with a lap in 20.360 seconds for an average speed of 121.297 miles per hour. That was just 0.173 of a second off the fastest lap run during any of the eight 45-minute test sessions held over the course of the two days. It was also not far off the fastest lap ever recorded on the oval here in the records that are available, which is Jason McCord's 1-lap USAC sprint record of 20.016 seconds (123.381 mph) set in July 2001.
Grenier, who drives the No. 17 sponsored by NAPA Auto Parts, HS Telecom and Desharnais, set the fastest lap of a practice session each day.
One of his teammates, Sebring winner Tristan Vautier of Corenc, France, didn't top any of the charts during the test but he was second in a session each day and one of those laps earned him the third-fastest lap of the test with a time of 20.363 seconds and an average speed of 121.279 mph. His No. 38 is a favorite with kids since it sports a pink octopus, the trademark of one of his sponsors, Cecibon. Other supporters of Vautier's efforts include Moulin T.P., Circuit du Laquis and Fontanel Promotion. Vautier's performance during the two-day test was especially impressive considering it was his first experience driving on an oval track. After he got used to it, he proclaimed that it was a lot of fun.
Anders Krohn, who won that Star Mazda race last year at Milwaukee, posted the fourth-fastest time of the test when he stopped the stopwatches after 20.440 seconds for an average speed of 120.822 mph. The Flying Viking from Stavanger, Norway as well as Houston only tested on Thursday with his blue No. 47, which is sponsored by Trallfa Industries, Colosseum Dental, Norse Cutting & Abandonment, Bring Logistics US Inc., SR Transport, ZATGraphics.com, Rioja Tapas Restaurant, Eagles Canyon Raceway and Repcon Media. He made good use of the time, however, topping one of the four sessions that day.
Nick Andries of Pinellas Park, Fla., ran the team's No. 27 on Wednesday and he was also impressive, posting the fifth-fastest time of the day with a lap in 21.0012 (117.533 mph). He was never out of the top five, and he posted the second-fastest time in the second session that day. Andries is connected to a name familiar to many IndyCar fans, Team Pelfrey. His car also advertised Andersen RacePark and Andersen Racing's overall sponsor, Allied Building Products Corp.
The drivers and engineers will have a little time to think about what they learned during the test before they return for the race on Saturday, May 29, but before that they have another race on May 22 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.
The complete schedule and other information can be found on starmazda.com and andersenracingteam.com.
Andersen Racing has its own 1-mile road course test track at its headquarters in Palmetto, Fla., Andersen RacePark. The team also has an international, national and regional karting team and a Firestone Indy Lights team in addition to its Star Mazda squad.
Post-test quotes gathered on Thursday afternoon follow:
Mikael Grenier: "I did a few laps on an oval at Milwaukee last year but then I had a crash there, so I was starting all over today. But I feel really good. Yesterday we had the fastest time. I don't know where we ended up today yet, but maybe it was second or third, so we got some really good results. I did not worry about setting the fastest lap of the test; I wanted to bring the car back in one piece. I think we'll be in good shape for the race here. I feel I'm a better driver on ovals than I was before this test. I feel like I'm ready. The first lap is strange, but then you get used to it.
"We race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 22. It will be fun to be on a road course. We'll have fun there and then come back to the oval here at O'Reilly Raceway Park on May 29. It will be good."
Tristan Vautier: "This was my first time driving on an oval track. It was cool.
"On the first lap yesterday it was weird; I was feeling sick in my head because it was strange to be turning all the time. But once I got used to it, it was fun because you're always on the edge.
"Yesterday in the last session and at the end of this morning's session I made some big steps forward, but this afternoon I was running on old tires so I ended up lower in the standings than I would have been on new tires. But we know we're quick. I think we might have had the third-fastest time today, and for my first time on an oval I feel very positive.
"The team did a very good job. I think we'll come back and be able to fight for P1. I am looking forward to the race."
Anders Krohn: "I'm very happy. I only did laps today, not yesterday, but the team did a fantastic job to give me a good car. In the last two sessions we ran very good times, so I'm very enthused. I'm excited about the Road to Indy program, and I'm looking forward to coming back here for the Night Before the 500 race. I'm very satisfied with the whole team. Mik, Tristan and Nick did great jobs for being rookies on an oval. I think we should have a strong team.
"I'm flying back to Houston right now because tomorrow I'm hosting the biggest event of my life. It's tomorrow at Grand Sport Speedway, south of Houston. Many of my partners and supporters will be there; about 45 people. Eagle's Canyon Raceway is bringing a Ferrari F430 race car and some other people are bringing their own cars, and we're going to have fun. One of my sponsors, Rioja, a Spanish tapas restaurant, is catering it. It's going to be a great event!"
Nick Andries: "I just ran yesterday. I was on an oval a couple of times in a stock car, but it was nothing like this. I wish I had a bigger budget so I could do more testing, but I'm glad I got to do some laps here. It was good."