Trois-Rivieres: Andersen Racing qualifying notes

Andersen Racing's Dempsey Sets New Track Record In Star Mazda Qualifying Saturday At Trois-Rivieres TROIS-RIVIERES, Que., Canada, Aug. 16 - Andersen Racing Star Mazda driver Peter Dempsey is on fire, both literally and figuratively. The ...

Andersen Racing's Dempsey Sets New Track Record In Star Mazda Qualifying Saturday At Trois-Rivieres

TROIS-RIVIERES, Que., Canada, Aug. 16 - Andersen Racing Star Mazda driver Peter Dempsey is on fire, both literally and figuratively.

The 22-year-old from Ashbourne, County Meath, Ireland is so hot that his car actually caught on fire Friday during the second practice session on the street circuit in downtown Trois-Rivieres. Repairs were made by the Palmetto, Fla.-based team and on Saturday morning Dempsey set a sizzling new track record in winning the pole for Sunday's race.

Dempsey won the most recent event in this series, which is presented by Goodyear, last weekend in Wisconsin. On Saturday morning he knocked 0.318 of a second off Ryan Justice's two-year-old Trois-Rivieres track record to win this year's pole with a lap in 1:01.788, averaging 88.619 miles per hour for the 1.506-mile, 10-turn, twisty and tight street circuit. Dempsey is sponsored by LotusWorks, Center Jewellers.ie, Quayside.ie, Motorsport Ireland, Allied Interior Products and Trojan Complete IT Solutions.

The fire on Friday was dramatic but minor by all accounts. It may have been caused by debris on the exhaust header. Dempsey was able to bring the car into the pits, where the blaze was quickly extinguished.

Andersen Racing, which is leading the team point standings in this series as well as the F2000 Championship Series, has three other drivers in this race too. Tom Gladdis of the Isle of Wight and Gibraltar qualified seventh with his Marrache & Co. No. 5. Natalia Kowalska of Biesiekierz, West Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland, recorded her first top-10 qualifying result with her Natan Developers-sponsored car. Points leader Charles Hall of Sheffield, England, who was involved in an accident at the start of Friday afternoon's practice session, will start 12th tomorrow with his No. 77, which is sponsored by Blimpie, AccentBanking.com, Pardoes Solicitors and Allied Interior Products. He was fastest in the first practice session on Friday.

Tomorrow's 55-minute race is scheduled to begin at 11:15 a.m. Eastern time. The action then moves to Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario next 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.

Sunday's race is expected to be broadcast on SPEED at noon Eastern on Saturday, Aug. 30. The latest TV schedules are posted on starmazda.com and speedtv.com.

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-qualifying quotes follow:

Peter Dempsey: "It was brilliant; things are going really well! There are lots of people here. It's a great show; people are asking for autographs and everything; it's cool.

"My fastest lap came on my last lap. I got about three clear laps, and then I sat on pit lane hoping nobody would go faster, and they didn't. The car was brilliant.

"Lots of people from home supported me for this race; my usual list plus Motorsport Ireland as well. To give you the complete list of people who have helped this year would be too much for your press release.

"We had a small fire in one of the practices yesterday. We needed new sidepods for the car because the heat shield came away. It wasn't a huge problem; it was fixed by this morning."

Tom Gladdis: "It's going OK. I never raced on a street course before, but we're chipping away at it. P7 isn't too bad on the grid. We're just looking to get points tomorrow to keep our championship hopes alive. I want to thank my engineers, mechanics, the whole Andersen Racing team, Mazda and Goodyear."

Natalia Kowalska: "It's going pretty well. This is my first time on a street course. The first session was pretty good; in the second session we struggled a little with the set-up. We were in the second half of the field for qualifying but I was P1 in my group, which we thought was pretty good. It's my first top 10 in qualifying, so we're pretty happy. There are some turns I think we can improve on; we think we can go faster tomorrow."

Charles Hall: "We were P1 in the first practice, but then I made a mistake in the afternoon practice shaking down the car, and now we will start 12th on the grid.

"The car is fine now; the accident had knocked the steering out.  It's a
shame but no big deal.  We'll just try our best tomorrow."

-credit: ar

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Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Charles Hall , Ryan Justice , Tom Gladdis , Peter Dempsey , Natalia Kowalska