Devin Cunningham of St-Bruno, Que., and AIM Autosport returned to the Star Mazda Championship podium on Saturday, notching a second-place finish in the penultimate race of the season. Weather conditions played havoc with car setup for many ...
Devin Cunningham of St-Bruno, Que., and AIM Autosport returned to the Star Mazda Championship podium on Saturday, notching a second-place finish in the penultimate race of the season. Weather conditions played havoc with car setup for many competitors, but the intermediate setup on Cunningham's No. 33 Discovery Channel Canada Pro Formula Mazda worked well.
He started sixth on the 26-car grid after qualifying in one minute 19.635 seconds on the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta road course in Braselton, Ga. Avoiding incidents that took six cars out of the race, he worked steadily forward to secure second place.
"It was a tough race starting out in somewhat wet conditions; it was sort of a crapshoot of what to put on the cars. The start of the race went to plan and then it was just picking guys off and figuring out where they were making mistakes. Huge thanks to the Discovery Channel AIM Autosport team -- it was just a fantastic race," he said.
"The car obviously wasn't perfect because we had an intermediate setup, but once we got in front, our car was better and we just took off. It was a great race, a fun race."
The 45-minute race ended under caution, but Cunningham was confident of how it would have finished with just one more green-flag lap: "I would have come first!"
AIM Autosport also fielded the No. 38 Mazda for rookie Robert Thorne of Sherman, Conn. He qualified seventh (1:19.691) for his first Star Mazda race, but was caught in a multi-car crash that took him out on the first turn of the first lap.
"We were really pleased that Robert came on board," team co-owner Keith Willis said. "He proved a lot of people wrong -- in one session, he qualified third and made everybody look up [and say], 'Hey, this kid's really good!'
"We didn't want him to be timid on the start. He was aggressive right away, but he got caught with another driver checking up a little bit going into corner one. Unfortunately, he touched the back end of him, spun him around and got collected. He said it was the shortest race he's ever been in. Hopefully, he'll be able to look at competing in the series next year."
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