Road America: Andersen Racing race report

Andersen Racing's Podium Hopes Evaporate But Krohn Finishes Fourth In Saturday's Star Mazda Race At Road America ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 21 - Andersen Racing's Mikael Grenier, Tristan Vautier and Anders Krohn were all on line to post podium ...

Andersen Racing's Podium Hopes Evaporate But Krohn Finishes Fourth In Saturday's Star Mazda Race At Road America

ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 21 - Andersen Racing's Mikael Grenier, Tristan Vautier and Anders Krohn were all on line to post podium finishes during various stages of Round 11 of the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear Saturday at Road America, but in the end the best result for the Palmetto, Fla.-based team was Krohn's fourth-place finish.

Another one of the team's drivers, Nick Andries, escaped injury in the most spectacular crash in the series so far this year. He barrel-rolled several times and landed upside down in Turn 5 on the white-flag lap after contact with another driver while he was running sixth, putting a violent stop to a drive that would have duplicated his best finish in the series to date.

The fifth driver under the team's tent, Dom Bastien, was in line for his best finish of the year, but instead of winning the Masters class he ended up crashing in the Carousel to bring out the race's only yellow flag with 16 laps down in what turned out to be a 19-lap race. Like Andries, he luckily escaped injury. Bastien, of West Palm Beach, Fla., ended up 15th with his car, which advertises Andersen RacePark in Palmetto, Fla.

Grenier qualified fourth but he had a standing start that most drivers only dream of, as he beat polesitter Conor Daly, Connor De Phillippi and Jorge Goncalvez to grab the lead on the first lap. The 17-year-old from Stoneham, Quebec led the first four laps until the eventual winner, Daly, got around him, but he stayed in second place through lap 12. At that point the shifter cable broke in his car, which is sponsored by Slow Cow relaxation drink, April Super Flow, NAPA Auto Parts, HS Telecom and Desharnais. He ended up 16th in the final rundown.

Vautier, of Corenc, France, ran in fifth place for the first two laps and then passed De Phillippi for fourth. He moved into third place with 13 laps down when Grenier's mechanical problems struck, and held that position through the full-course caution on lap 16 for Bastien's crash. When the race restarted on lap 18 Vautier's car, which is sponsored by Moulin T.P., Cecibon, Circuit du Laquis, Fontanel Promotion and Allied Building Products Corp., developed the same problem that Grenier's car had earlier and he slipped from third to 13th in the final rundown.

Krohn, a native of Stavanger, Norway who also resides in Houston, recorded his second fourth-place finish in a week but this one was even harder than the fourth-place run he recorded at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec on Aug. 15. He qualified second at Trois-Rivieres but he started seventh on Saturday at Road America with his No. 47, which is sponsored by Trallfa Industries, Colosseum Dental and Norse Cutting & Abandonment. He stayed in seventh place until he passed Rusty Mitchell for sixth working lap seven. He moved into the top five when Grenier's problems surfaced and he advanced one more spot due to Vautier's misfortunes, but he couldn't pass De Phillippi to snare the final podium position.

Andries' crash occurred on the restart with 18 laps down, so his mount, which is sponsored by the book "Indy 500: An American Icon;" Team Pelfrey and Andersen Racing's primary sponsor, Allied Building Products Corp., was scored in 14th place in the final rundown. The plucky teen from Pinellas Park, Fla., shook off the accident and competed in a Skip Barber National race at Road America a few hours later.

The team hopes for better luck at the next Star Mazda race, which will be held at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario on Aug. 28, and the season finale Oct. 1 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.

Unofficially Daly now leads the points standings with 457 points to Krohn's 388. Goncalvez, who finished second Saturday, is now third with 341 points. Grenier remains in fourth and now has 336 points. Vautier is still sixth, as he has 332 points to De Phillippi's 335. Andries and Bastien aren't running the full schedule but they're 15th and 19th, respectively.

Andersen Racing continues to lead the team point standings.

Anders Krohn: "We had opposite results so fast; we were P1 in practice and we were looking forward to good results, but we struggled in qualifying on sticker tires and we had to start seventh. From there we made the most of it and came home fourth, but it was a tricky race on a tricky track.

"I feel bad for Nick, who got hit and flipped. I hope something gets done about the driver that caused his accident.

"Rusty Mitchell made a mistake in the Carousel and I was able to pass him before the Kink.

"For me it's another top five. We've been trying to get a win for so long; we'll just try to make it happen at the last two races of the year."

Tristan Vautier: "I got a good start, but I was sandwiched between Mikael and Conor Daly, so I had to brake and I went back to P5. When I went by De Phillippi I locked up my front-left tire and got a flat spot, so it was really hard to drive in the right-handers after that. But I held off De Phillippi and I was P3 but then the gearbox broke. I could upshift to sixth, but that's it. I was right on Goncalvez when it broke.

"I have to thank the team for its hard work. It was a bad day for us, but we look forward to Mosport."

Nick Andries: "We had a good start, and gained one position. I rode there for a while in eighth place. I caught up to Rusty Mitchell in Turn 4 and moved up to seventh. Then Grenier had problems and that put me up to sixth. Then Tristan got stuck in sixth gear. I caught him in the middle of Turn 3. Then one of the Apex cars and Tatiana [Calderon] and I were heading into Turn 5, and Tatiana's right front hit my left rear. I flipped three or four times and ended upside down, but I have no injuries. I'll be racing again in the Skip Barber race here in a couple hours.

"It happened instantly, so I would like to see a video of the crash. My video is gone. I remember dark and sky and I remember being upside down when it was over. I'm definitely thankful that I'm OK. The car did its job and the safety equipment did its job, so that's good.

"We have a torn-up car, but before that we were running in the lead pack in practice and I was within a second of the leaders in the race. This whole Star Mazda deal for me this year is just to learn and get experience. The team is giving me great cars and equipment. I have to thank my sponsors too: the book 'Indy 500: An American Icon,' Team Pelfrey and Allied Building Products Corp. With this crash, which was by far the worst wreck I've had in racing, you realize how lucky you are to even have this opportunity. Lots of other drivers wouldn't have the budget to continue, but we'll repair the car and be at Mosport and Road Atlanta.

"The car is repairable. On a scale of one to 10, it's about a six. All the corners are gone and the roll hoop is broken, but the tub, the engine and the transmission are OK and I'm OK."

-source: andersen racing

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About this article
Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Skip Barber , Mikael Grenier , Rusty Mitchell , Tristan Vautier , Conor Daly , Anders Krohn , Dom Bastien , Nick Andries
Teams HART