Four of Five AWR Drivers Are in Top Six In Star Mazda Qualifying at Road America ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 20 -Four of Andersen Walko Racing's five drivers entered in Saturday's Star Mazda race at Road America qualified in the top six in the...
Four of Five AWR Drivers Are in Top Six In Star Mazda Qualifying at Road America
ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 20 -Four of Andersen Walko Racing's five drivers entered in Saturday's Star Mazda race at Road America qualified in the top six in the 34-car field Saturday morning in preparation for Saturday afternoon's race.
The event, which is presented by Goodyear, supports the Generac 500 American Le Mans Series headliner on Sunday.
AWR's Robbie Pecorari of Aston, Pa. will start second. He qualified just 0.011 of a second behind polesitter Raphael Matos. Both drivers did their best lap on their fifth circuit in the 45-minute qualifying session, with Matos doing a lap at 115.622 mph for the 4.048-mile road course to Pecorari's 115.612 mph lap in the SAI Hydraulics No. 23.
James Hinchcliffe qualified third but three AWR drivers were right behind him. Graham Rahal of New Albany, Ohio qualified fourth with a 2:06.318 (115.366 mph) in his No. 12, which is sponsored by The Bobby Rahal Automotive Group, Bosch, Renier Construction and Norwalk Furniture. Mike Andersen of Green Pond, N.J. was fifth in the Andersen Interior Contracting No. 15 with a 2:06.628 (115.084 mph). Pablo Donoso of Santiago, Chile will start sixth in the Cristal Beer No. 22 by virtue of his best lap in quals of 2:06.632 (115.080 mph), which came near the end of the session.
Jonathan Klein of Long Grove, Ill., who will start college on Monday at the University of Dayton (Ohio) with a business leadership major, qualified 14th with a 2:07.917 (113.924 mph). His No. 26 is sponsored by Nexus Distribution Corp., Midwest Steel & Services, Ironclad Performance Wear and ProStar.
The 45-minute race is slated to get the green flag at 3:45 p.m. this afternoon.
Pecorari (Pikes Peak), Donoso (Infineon) and Rahal (Portland) already have victories in the series this year, while Klein and Andersen will be looking to join them on the list of 2005 race winners in a few hours.
Going into this afternoon's race Pecorari is second in points, Rahal is fourth, Donoso is fifth, Klein is ninth and Andersen, who has only been in one other pro Star Mazda race so far this year, is 39th.
Pecorari will miss his first week of classes at Delaware Valley Community College in a few weeks while he competes in the next race, which is slated for Mosport Int'l Raceway in Canada Sept. 1-3.
Robbie Pecorari: "It was good. The car was the best in qualifying that it's been all weekend. I have no complaints. I tried to get in a draft, but I couldn't get that to happen. It should be a battle in the race."
Graham Rahal: "Our car was pushing. Fourth is good, but I'm disappointed because I think we easily had the car to win the pole. We made a decision to come in so we could save our tires for the race. I'm not worried about that because I don't think anybody can beat us on old tires, but that was the decision we made as a team. We basically gave the pole away and that hurts because we need the point, but we did that in order to try to win the race. We can still do all right. The straightaways are so long here, there's room to pass."
Mike Andersen: "Well, the car runs now; we can go over 50 mph. We had some problems yesterday, but the car was pretty good in qualifying today. Yesterday afternoon we were OK but yesterday morning we only ran about five fast laps total. We didn't run well on the test day on Thursday either. But yesterday afternoon we ran OK and that gave us an idea of where we needed to go today."
Pablo Donoso: "After three poles in a row, sixth place is not good. We had too much brakes in the rear. We had a problem with the engine on Thursday, and a problem with the gearbox yesterday. Now we have a problem with the brakes, and I'm sixth. But I can still do well from there. There is room to pass here."
Jonathan Klein: "I'm not happy. We just don't have enough speed. I don't know what else to say. We're working on it."