Three Andersen Racing Cars Are in the Top Four After Star Mazda Qualifying Thursday At Road Atlanta BRASELTON, Ga., Sept. 24 - Oil, not water, complicated qualifications for the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear Thursday afternoon at...
Three Andersen Racing Cars Are in the Top Four After Star Mazda Qualifying Thursday At Road Atlanta
BRASELTON, Ga., Sept. 24 - Oil, not water, complicated qualifications for the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear Thursday afternoon at Road Atlanta, but Andersen Racing drivers still nabbed three of the top four spots in the starting line-up for tomorrow's 45-minute race that is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time.
The session was held under sunny skies instead of the heavy rains that have plagued Atlanta recently, but oil dropped by one of the competitors' cars shortened the top half of the field's qualifying session from 23 minutes to only 10. That put an end to the usual qualifying strategies, as the drivers and teams had to go as fast as possible as quickly as possible.
Peter Dempsey, who has been the driver to beat in practice, wound up on the pole, but Andersen Racing's Conor Daly, Joel Miller and Richard Kent were second, third and fourth, respectively. A fourth Andersen Racing driver, Denis Navarro, who had never even seen the track before Tuesday's test sessions, will start 14th in the 20-car field.
Daly, of Noblesville, Ind., was just 0.048 of a second off Dempsey's qualifying time to earn a spot on the front row for his No. 22, which is sponsored by MAZDASPEED Motorsports, Indeck, Cytomax, College Network and Merchant Services.
Miller, of Hesperia, Calif., will be right behind Dempsey for the standing start with his No. 2, which advertises Fader Higher Productions, eSoles Custom Footbeds, Doug Mockett & Co., Burns Truck & Trailer and Brazos Bend Energy Services.
Kent, of Clifton Reynes, England, will be on the outside of the all-Andersen Row 2 in his No. 33, which is sponsored by Traka and Allied Interior Products.
Navarro, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, will be on the outside of Row 7 in his No. 21, which promotes Navarro Medicines Distribution and Allied Interior Products, for the standing start.
Kent and Daly finished first and second in the series' most recent race. Daly is third and Miller is fourth in the point standings going into this event, the next-to-last race of the 2009 season. Kent is sixth and Navarro is 11th. Daly, Miller and Kent are all still in the running for the driver championship.
Post-qualifying quotes follow:
Conor Daly: "It was weird how short it was. I was hoping for more time, but once we went out I just focused on going as fast as possible as quickly as possible. Our car is really comfortable. It's really good down the straightaways. I think we can get Peter tomorrow."
Joel Miller: "We've gone faster in terms of position every session. I had a good qualifying session; I just got nipped at the end. Two things happened on the last lap that made me lift. But I'll start third and go from there. I'm confident we have a good car for the race."
Richard Kent: "We made some changes in qualifying that weren't the right way to go, but we're in the right area. I'm confident that we have a fast car for tomorrow's race. It's sunny now, but there is a chance of thunderstorms for tomorrow."
Denis Navarro: "This is my first time here; I didn't get to test here. The first time I was on the track was Tuesday. But I like the track; it is very nice.
"We had a little problem with the fuel pump. We are working on it, and we should be fine tomorrow."