Andersen Racing VIR preview

Three Andersen Racing Drivers Set to Tackle VIR In Star Mazda Action This Weekend PALMETTO, Fla., April 22 - Three drivers will represent Andersen Racing in the second round of the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear this weekend...

Three Andersen Racing Drivers Set to Tackle VIR In Star Mazda Action This Weekend

PALMETTO, Fla., April 22 - Three drivers will represent Andersen Racing in the second round of the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear this weekend at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Va.: Conor Daly of Noblesville, Ind.; Denis Navarro of Sao Paulo, Brazil and Mikael Grenier of Stoneham, Quebec, Canada.

Daly, who finished third in the Star Mazda season opener at Sebring, Fla. last month for the Palmetto, Fla.-based team, has to love VIR. He sealed up the 2008 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National championship there last October with a victory and a second-place finish in that series' final doubleheader of the year, earning him a spot in the MAZDASPEED motorsports driver development program. The 17-year-old son of noted racer Derek Daly will also have support from Indeck, Cytomax, College Network and Merchant Services this weekend when he tackles the 17-turn, 3.27-mile road course in the No. 22 Andersen Racing Star Mazda car.

Navarro will be participating in his first race ever at VIR. A Star Mazda rookie like Daly, the 22-year-old drives the Andersen Racing No. 21 sponsored by Navarro Medicines Distribution and Allied Interior Products. He finished third in the South America Formula 3 championship last year with four victories and six pole positions.

Grenier, 16, will be making his first start ever with Andersen Racing, which won the Star Mazda team championship last year. Grenier finished an impressive fourth in the Formula BMW Americas championship last year with another team. Although his first open-wheel race ever was just last year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., he had a distinguished career in karting before advancing to formula cars. This will be his first Star Mazda race, but he tested a Formula BMW car on VIR's south track last year. His Andersen Racing Star Mazda car will be sponsored by NAPA Auto Parts and CAA-Quebec this weekend.

Richard Kent, who won the pole and finished second at Sebring for Andersen Racing, will unfortunately miss Sunday's race, but he plans to return to the competition for Round 3 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah on May 16. Kent, of Clifton Reynes, England, is recuperating from a fall in his native England in which he broke the non-weight-bearing fibula bone in his left leg, right above his ankle.

"If only I had at least a good tale to tell from it!" said Kent. "I was simply crossing the road, and I tripped on the curb. Surprisingly it wasn't hugely painful, and I didn't even have it checked until mid-afternoon of the following day. I considered driving at VIR anyway, but if I damaged the bone any more than I would be sidelined for a lot longer, so I'm trying to be sensible. I'm determined to be better for the race in Utah and make a storming return, that's for sure!"

Another Andersen Racing Star Mazda driver, Joe D'Agostino of Brownburg, Ind., will also miss VIR but hopes to find additional marketing partners so he can rejoin the team soon too.

This weekend's action consists of three test sessions on Thursday, two pract ice sessions on Friday, qualifying on Saturday morning, a Sunday morning warm-up and a 45-minute race at 1 p.m. Sunday. Results will be posted on the series' Web site at starmazda.com.

-credit: ar

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Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Skip Barber , Derek Daly , Joe D'Agostino , Mikael Grenier , Richard Kent , Conor Daly , Denis Navarro