Laguna Seca: Dane Cameron preview

-- NEXT STEP, SHARPER TOOLS -- Rising open-wheel racer Dane Cameron heads into his second Atlantic Championship race this weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Rising open-wheel racing star Dane Cameron heads to Round Two of the 2008 Cooper Tires...

-- NEXT STEP, SHARPER TOOLS --
Rising open-wheel racer Dane Cameron heads into his second Atlantic Championship race this weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Rising open-wheel racing star Dane Cameron heads to Round Two of the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda with a sharper set of tools and a powerful determination to improve on his 11th-place finish in the season-opener at the Long Beach Grand Prix.

He qualified 11th in the #19 Genoa Racing / MAZDASPEED / Finlay Motorsports Swift 016.a, and finished where he started in a race that was largely a single-file parade with only one yellow flag and little passing. He turned times on par with the race leaders and brought the car home unscathed, a respectable performance for a young driver making his first start in a highly-professional, highly-competitive racing series

"I'd hoped for something a little more spectacular to start my first season in Atlantic, but both the team and I learned a lot, so it was a success in that respect," says the 19 year-old native of Somona, California. "But Laguna Seca will be a whole different story because I have a set of much sharper tools available to me that I didn't have at Long Beach, including experience; I started on the pole and finished second here in the Star Mazda Championship season finale last year. And I was fastest in both days of Atlantic series pre-season testing at Laguna. So I know the track, the sight lines, braking points and turn-in markers. And I know that we'll have a good baseline setup when the car rolls off the truck. I'm also now familiar with the procedures of both the Genoa team and the Atlantic series, so I'm overall much better prepared for this weekend."

Cameron, the 2007 Star Mazda champion who won sponsorship for his move up to Atlantic courtesy of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder, drives for Genoa Racing, a team with a rich heritage in many forms of motorsports. Founded by successful San Francisco-based businessman Angelo Ferro in the early 1980s, the team began competing in the famed CanAm Championship, moved to the Atlantic series in 1990 and graduated to Indy Racing League competition in 1997-98 as Thomas Knapp Motorsports/Genoa Racing with driver Greg Ray, a period highlighted by Ray's front-row qualifying run for the 1998 Indianapolis 500."We'll be going all-out in qualifying at Laguna, because one of the things we learned at Long Beach is how important starting position is in the Atlantic Championship," says Cameron. "The Atlantic cars are all very equal, even more so than the Star Mazda Championship where I raced last year and there are a lot of good, experienced drivers who don't make many mistakes. When you've got 15 guys running within a second of each other, that's a really high level of competition, but I'm confident the Genoa Racing team and I have what it takes to run up front."

Round Two of the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship Series Powered by Mazda takes place at the historic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca May 16 -- 18 during Grand-Am's Rolex Series RumBum.com 250 weekend.

Atlantic on-track action at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca begins with a 9:00 am practice session on Friday, May 16. The first qualifying session is set for 2:00 - 2:45 pm that afternoon, with the results determining one of the two cars to start on the front row. There is a second practice session 8:30 - 9:15 am Saturday, May 17, with final qualifying to set the other front-row starter and the remainder of the starting grid scheduled for 12:40 - 1:15 pm that afternoon. The 1-hour Atlantic race is scheduled to take the green flag at 1:00 pm Sunday, May 18. Dates and times for the television broadcast of the event have yet to be determined; check www.champcaratlantic.com for further information.

-credit: cm

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Greg Ray , Dane Cameron