Andersen Racing's Hall Dominates at the Glen, Takes Lead in Star Mazda Championship WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., June 7 - Andersen Racing now has victories in all three series in which it is competing this year. After finishing second in the first two...
Andersen Racing's Hall Dominates at the Glen, Takes Lead in Star Mazda Championship
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., June 7 - Andersen Racing now has victories in all three series in which it is competing this year.
After finishing second in the first two races this year in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, Charles Hall won Saturday's inaugural Star Mazda race at Watkins Glen International to further bolster Andersen Racing's lead in that series' team point standings and also propel him into first place in the drivers' championship.
Andersen Racing is also currently first in the F2000 Championship Series with three victories, and third in the Firestone Indy Lights Series' team standings with one victory. The F2000 set will hold a doubleheader at the Glen next weekend, while the Firestone Indy Lights contingent will do the same here July 5.
On Saturday Hall started second in the Palmetto, Fla.-based team's No. 77, which is sponsored by Blimpie, AccentBanking.com, Pardoes Solicitors and Allied Interior Products. He took the lead from polesitter Alex Ardoin on the first lap and then never looked back, leading every lap of the 20-lap contest on the Glen's 3.4-mile, 11-turn road course despite two restarts that closed the field.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the first race held on the streets of Watkins Glen, but it was the first Star Mazda race ever run here. Hall, of Sheffield, England, said he researched the track on the Internet to get some idea of what he'd face. "There is so much history here, and so many great drivers have won at this track, that it's a real honor for me to score my first Star Mazda win here," Hall said. "Right now this feels like the best day of my life."
Peter Dempsey started fourth and finished fourth in the Andersen Racing No. 21, which is sponsored by Center Jewellers.ie, Quayside.ie, Allied Interior Products and a new marketing partner, Trojan Complete IT Solutions (see Trojan.ie). Dempsey, of Ashbourne, County Meath, Ireland, leaped into third on the first lap by passing Joel Miller, and then got second on lap five when he got around Ardoin. He ran in second place behind Hall for the bulk of the race, but dropped two spots on the last restart on lap 16 when Miller and Ardoin repassed him.
Dempsey is currently third in the point standings.
Two other Andersen Racing Star Mazda drivers, Tom Gladdis and Juliana Gonzalez, were not able to complete here due to state laws prohibiting participation by drivers under the age of 18. In order to be fair to the young drivers who can't compete at the Glen, the series officials announced that only the best 11 of each driver's finishes in the 12-race series will count towards the point championship.
Jonny Baker, one of Andersen Racing's F2000 drivers, stepped into Gonzalez's car for this race. He finished in the same position he started, ninth. Baker, who hails from Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire, England, ran in ninth place for the first 12 laps, dropped to tenth for five laps, and then rebounded for ninth again at the end. In addition to the top-10 finish, he also gained valuable track time for his F2000 efforts here next weekend for his sponsor, Allied Interior Products.
The Watkins Glen race is slated to be broadcast at 11 a.m. Eastern time on Saturday, June 21 on SPEED.
The Star Mazda competitors now travel to Portland International Raceway in Portland, Ore. July 26-27 for one of two doubleheaders on their schedule.
Post-race quotes follow:
Charles Hall: "From the first test session, the car has been perfect all week. The car got even better with every change we made. We missed the pole by a tenth, but we felt confident that we had the best car for the race.
"Both Alex [Ardoin] and I got a good start. I followed him through the first turn, but I got the lead going into the Bus Stop on the first lap.
"When it was green I was able to pull out a lead, and I was able to hold onto the lead despite the restarts.
"I'm so happy! We're now leading the driver championship by two points. I want to thank everyone at Andersen Racing, the series, the track, just everybody!"
Peter Dempsey: "It went pretty well. We probably should have had a one-two finish, but the last seven or eight laps the tires were going away, and I had to let up a little. But at least we know that we were both on the pace throughout the race.
"It's a little disappointing not to get second, but I really enjoyed racing here. The track is really good; I think everyone in the series enjoyed it.
"I want to thank everyone at Andersen Racing, Center Jewellers.ie, Quayside.ie, Allied Interior Products and my new sponsor, Trojan Complete IT Solutions. They're the people who make it happen!"
Jonny Baker: "It was a solid run; nothing too spectacular, but it should help me be in good shape for the F2000 races here next weekend, which is my primary focus this year.
"It was good for the team to get the win; they worked hard and they deserved it.
"I'm really looking forward to next weekend, and I want to thank Andersen Racing for the opportunity to get some laps in here and to drive a Star Mazda car again. Hopefully I'll get the chance to do it again sometime!"