Andersen Racing's Daly Finishes Second While Team's Other Drivers Are All in Top Seven In Friday's Star Mazda Race at Road Atlanta BRASELTON, Ga., Sept. 25 - Andersen Racing's Conor Daly finished second to record his sixth podium finish of the...
Andersen Racing's Daly Finishes Second While Team's Other Drivers Are All in Top Seven In Friday's Star Mazda Race at Road Atlanta
BRASELTON, Ga., Sept. 25 - Andersen Racing's Conor Daly finished second to record his sixth podium finish of the season while his teammates all finished in the top seven Friday at Road Atlanta in Round 12 of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.
The other three drivers representing the Palmetto, Fla.-based team were Joel Miller, who finished fourth; Richard Kent, who placed sixth; and Denis Navarro, who was seventh after 33 trips around the 2.54-mile road course in the 45-minute allotted time span.
Polesitter and point leader Peter Dempsey led every lap. With only one early yellow, Dempsey enjoyed a healthy margin of victory over Daly, who registered his second consecutive runner-up finish despite several tussles with lapped traffic.
Daly, a MAZDASPEED Motorsports-backed driver who hails from Noblesville, Ind., started second and ran in that position the entire distance in his No. 22, which is sponsored by Indeck, Cytomax, College Network and Merchant Services. Daly had a 3.434-second advantage over the third-place finisher, Adam Christodoulou, at the checkered.
Miller, of Hesperia, Calif., started third in the Andersen Racing No. 2, which is sponsored by Fader Higher Productions, eSoles Custom Footbeds, Doug Mockett & Co., Burns Truck & Trailer and Brazos Bend Energy Services. He ran in third place for most of the race, but dropped to fourth with just 8 minutes remaining when Christodoulou got around him with 26 laps in the books. Miller stayed in fourth place the rest of the way to post his eighth top-five finish of the season.
Kent, of Clifton Reynes, England, started fourth in the Andersen Racing No. 33, which is sponsored by Traka and Allied Interior Products. Christodoulou got around him on lap one but he passed him back to regain fourth with three laps completed.
Kent was able to maintain fourth place from that point until unlucky lap 13, when an altercation with a lapped car sent him through a gravel trap off Turn 3. Christodoulou and Alex Ardoin were both able to get by him while he was off course, relegating him to sixth place with 20 minutes gone, and that's where the two-time winner went on to finish in Georgia.
Although he'd never even seen Road Atlanta until testing started on Tuesday, Denis Navarro of Sao Paulo, Brazil came from 14th to finish right behind Kent in seventh place with his No. 21, which is sponsored by Navarro Medicines Distribution and Allied Interior Products.
Navarro vaulted from 14th to 11th on the first lap when Anders Krohn and David Ostella ran into problems and he was also able to pass Michael Furfari. Navarro broke into the top 10 for the first time with three laps down when both he and Rick Rosin passed Jorge Goncalvez. That put Navarro behind Rusty Mitchell, whom he followed for seven laps until he passed him with 10 laps and 15 minutes gone to advance to ninth.
Passing Rosin was his next goal, and he accomplished that about 11 minutes later with 18 laps down to take eighth place. At that point Caio Lara was between Navarro and his teammate, Kent. Navarro passed his fellow Brazilian with 10 minutes remaining in the race and 24 laps complete to move into seventh, and that's where he finished in the 20-car field.
Dempsey set the fastest race lap but Daly set the second-fastest lap on lap 10 with a time of 1:20.681 and an average speed of 113.335 miles per hour. Kent had the fourth-fastest race lap on lap 18; Miller posted the sixth-fastest lap on lap 12 and Navarro had the seventh-fastest lap on lap 22.
Unofficially the driver point championship is now down to just Dempsey and Christodoulou at the season finale Oct. 10 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. Again unofficially, Dempsey would become the driver champion with a sixth place or better finish even if Christodoulou would win the pole and the race.
Again unofficially, the top 11 in driver points are Dempsey (444 points), Christodoulou (429), Daly (382), Miller (370), Ardoin (361), Kent (347), Krohn (343), Lara (339), Furfari (302), Goncalvez (297) and Navarro (292), with 45 points up for grabs at the season finale.
JDC Motorsports has a 19-point edge over Andersen Racing in the unofficial team standings, 330 to 311.
Post-race quotes follow:
Conor Daly: "Peter's car was very good; I just couldn't quite get him today. I tried to pull a gap on the cars behind me, which I did, but I couldn't get Peter.
"Traffic was really irritating today. It was also very hot; I don't think I've ever perspired that much in my life, but I felt OK throughout the race.
"I like the track. I'm really thankful to the team; they worked very hard and gave me a good car, and I'm glad we were able to finish on the podium."
Joel Miller: "Adam got by me going into Turn 1 when I had a lapped car ahead of me. He was faster than I was so it was only a matter of time, but I kept him behind me for quite a while.
"My car was well-balanced, especially at the start, but I believe we had a fourth-place car this weekend, and I did the best I could with what I had. Now we'll just move on to Laguna."
Richard Kent: "I was in fifth place on lap one and then after the safety car got off I was able to get Adam back in Turn 3. I was about three car lengths behind Joel at that time, and we were able to run like that for quite a while.
"Later the lapped car of Walt Bowlin turned into me and I went off into a gravel trap in Turn 3. I was very lucky not to spin out completely. I just went off and on the course, but it was enough to let Adam and Alex get by. From that point on I just played catch-up."
Denis Navarro: "It was a fun race. The car was as good as it had been all week; I just wish we'd qualified better. There was no sign of the fuel pump problem we had in qualifying, so that was good."