Dempsey Posts First Victory in America; Hall Is Third and Gladdis Places Fifth For Andersen Racing Saturday at Road America ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 9 - Andersen Racing's Peter Dempsey was not to be denied Saturday at Road America. The ...
Dempsey Posts First Victory in America; Hall Is Third and Gladdis Places Fifth For Andersen Racing Saturday at Road America
ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 9 - Andersen Racing's Peter Dempsey was not to be denied Saturday at Road America. The 22-year-old from Ashbourne, Country Meath, Ireland became the third driver from the Palmetto, Fla.-based team to win a race in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear this year when he posted a 0.516-second victory over polesitter John Edwards in Round 6 of 12 events.
Dempsey started second and took the lead on lap three the first time. He was able to build up big advantages only to have them disappear when full-course yellows waved, but he was able to withstand all threats during each restart - except for one. In a real heart-stopper for the team and the companies that sponsor Dempsey - LotusWorks, Center Jewellers.ie, Quayside.ie, Allied Interior Products and Trojan Complete IT Solutions - Edwards edged ahead of him to lead the white-flag lap. Dempsey got him back on the final circuit, however, to post his first victory in America.
Dempsey set the fastest lap of the race when he was timed in 2:07.557 (114.245 miles per hour) on lap 12 of the 16 circuits of the 4.048-mile road course that were completed during the event's 45-minute time limit. That was almost a full second faster than the best lap of the second-fastest driver in the race, Edwards.
Another Andersen Racing driver, Charles Hall of Sheffield, England, who was the winner at Watkins Glen, N.Y. on June 7, finished third Saturday in the No. 77 that carries the colors of Blimpie, AccentBanking.com, Pardoes Solicitors and Allied Interior Products. He started fifth in the 24-car field. He was as high as second on lap four, but then dropped to fourth on the following circuit when both Edwards and Joel Miller got around him. He slipped to fifth on lap 11 when Alex Ardoin did the same, but he got Ardoin back on the next lap to regain fourth. Ardoin advanced from fifth to third on the next-to-last lap to push Hall to fifth, but then Miller had problems and Hall was able to repass Ardoin for the final podium spot on the last lap.
Andersen Racing's Tom Gladdis, who hails from the Isle of Wight and Gibraltar, started third and finished fifth with his Marrache & Co. No. 5. Gladdis, who won the first half of the Portland doubleheader on July 26, dropped to eighth on lap three but then passed Scott Rettich and Caio Lara and ran in sixth place for most of race. He advanced one more spot on the last lap to become the third Andersen Racing driver in the top five Saturday.
Natalia Kowalska, who was making her first start ever with the team, started 11th, immediately moved into ninth, but then dropped back to 11th on lap four. She passed Billy Goshen on lap eight to move back into the top 10, but then dropped to 18th on lap 12 when she and Ernesto Otero made contact. The young lady from Biesiekierz, West Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland pitted for repairs and then returned to the fray, advancing five spots in the last two laps to finish 13th with her No. 33 that is sponsored by Natan Developers.
Unofficially Hall has regained the point lead over Alex Ardoin, 211 to 202. Miller is third; Dempsey is fourth and Gladdis is fifth. Each driver's best 11 of 12 finishes count for the championship.
Again unofficially, Andersen Racing leads the team point standings with 190 points to JDC Motorsports' 141.
The Road America race, which supported the Generac 500 American Le Mans Series race, will be televised on SPEED on a tape-delayed basis. The latest TV schedules are posted on starmazda.com and speedtv.com.
Now the circuit moves to Trois-Rivieres, Quebec for a race next Sunday, Aug. 17. Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario follows on Saturday, Aug. 23. A doubleheader at the brand-new New Jersey Motorsports Park Sept. 13-14, a race at Road Atlanta Oct. 3 and the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Oct. 18 round out the 2008 schedule.
Andersen Racing is sponsored by Allied Building Products Corp. It is the official development team of Rahal Letterman Racing. For more information see andersenracingteam.com, andersenracepark.com and starmazda.com.
Post-race quotes follow:
Peter Dempsey: "It was brilliant! I took the lead in Turn 5 on a restart. Edwards passed me at the end, but I got him back on the last lap.
"I've never led a race where I was able to build up such a big lead. I'd pull away and look back, and there wasn't anybody close behind me. I thought, 'My, this is easy!' Then the yellow would come out and they'd be right behind me again.
"It's great to get a win though. The team worked so hard to change the engine before qualifying, so I really want to give a huge thank you to everyone at Andersen Racing. Roger and the crew worked so hard, and the car ran perfect. I want to thank my sponsors too, as well as Mazda and Goodyear."
Charles Hall: "I got third, but it feels like I won. I had a good car in practice, and then we had the problem with the wing in qualifying. Today I just tried to keep my nose clean. It paid off, and now we have the points lead again.
"Joel Miller had some sort of a problem near the end; I don't know what happened, but he dropped back. Then Alex Ardoin made a mistake and I was able to pass him on the outside in the Carousel."
Tom Gladdis: "It was OK. There was a lot of blocking going on. I'm not entirely happy because I thought we could do better than fifth today, but we'll keep chipping away at it."
Natalia Kowalska: "My car was pretty good. I had an incident with Ernesto Otero; it broke my front wing while we were battling for P7. I pitted for that, and luckily a full-course caution came out so I didn't lose a lap. Then I came back to finish 13th. I advanced five positions in the last two laps, so I thought that was good.
"It was my first time ever at Road America. It has a lot of high-speed turns, which I like."