Team GDT’s Méndez Finishes 11th at Iowa Speedway
NEWTON, Iowa — Rookie Andrés Méndez of Bogotá, Colombia almost got a top-10 finish in the Iowa Speedway Foundation Star Mazda 100 Saturday, as he placed 11th in his second oval-track race ever in Team GDT’s No. 53 sponsored by DataFile Internacional S.A. and Grupo Kriterion.
The race, held on Iowa Speedway’s 0.894-mile oval, ended under yellow nine laps short of its scheduled 100-lap distance due to lightning in the area and then rain. It was round six of the 2012 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.
Mendez qualified 13th and he ran in that position for most of the race, as the No. 53 settled in between Ashley Freiberg’s No. 91 and Camilo Schmidt’s No. 21 on the scoring pylon.
Mendez moved up two positions late in the race due to attrition. Jack Hawksworth hit the outside wall in Turn 4 on lap 79 while running third to bring out the yellow flag. Gustavo Menezes, who was running fifth, reportedly ran over debris from Hawksworth’s accident which caused a blown engine in his car.
Méndez qualified with a time of 22.710 seconds for an average speed of 141.717 miles per hour.
His fastest race lap was lap 13, which he did in 22.945 seconds.
Polesitter Sage Karam led every lap of the race. Martin Scuncio finished second and Connor De Phillippi placed third.
Méndez finished 12th in his first oval-track race ever last month at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.
“We were getting better and better in the last practice session,” Mendez said late Saturday night. “Qualifying was good, but not as good as I thought it would be.
“We lost the first practice session due to a problem and we lost other practice time due to rain. I think we just needed more time to work on our set-up. But I finished my second oval race, and that is good. We’re getting closer and closer to a top-10 finish. I want to thank my sponsors, Mazda, Goodyear and Team GDT for their hard work.”
Saturday’s race will be shown on Discovery’s Velocity Channel at noon Saturday, July 28. It will also air at various times on ESPN International and on Rogers SportNet in Canada.
The series now heads to Canada for the Honda Indy Toronto July 6-8. Méndez will have two teammates there: Ryan Tveter of Oyster Bay, N.Y. and Corey Lewis of Nazareth, Pa.
Rogers TV is partnering with Tveter for a special promotion where fans who live in Ontario, Canada can win a behind-the-scenes experience with Team GDT at that event. An entry blank and more information are posted on RogersTV.com/indy.
Fans can learn more about Team GDT on its Facebook page or through Twitter @TeamGDT. Méndez also has a Facebook page, a Twitter account (@AndresMendez53) and a Web site (AGMéndez.com).
About Team GDT:
Team GDT is a multi-car professional race team headquartered in Dallas that is owned by businessman and racing driver J.W. Roberts. The team focuses on the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, part of the IZOD IndyCar Series’ Mazda Road to Indy, and the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge.
In 2011 Team GDT won its second Star Mazda Expert Series championship in a row with Roberts behind the wheel. The Expert Series is a race-within-a-race and a championship-within-a-championship for drivers 30 and older. Roberts won the Expert title driving his Team GDT/General Data Tech Mazda No. 65 with a total of five class victories.
Team GDT is also well known for nurturing rising stars, including Motorsport Ireland “Young Racing Driver of the Year” Patrick McKenna and multi-Star Mazda race winners Alex Ardoin and Richard Kent. Fans can learn more about Team GDT on its Facebook page or through Twitter @TeamGDT.
Photo Credit: Star Mazda photo by Eric McCombs
Source: Restart Communications