AT SPEED IN THE DESERTS OF NEW JERSEY -- With a podium and four top-5s in the last six races, rising open-wheel star Dane Cameron is looking forward to a level -- if dusty -- playing field Rising open-wheel racing star Dane Cameron is on a roll.
AT SPEED IN THE DESERTS OF NEW JERSEY -- With a podium and four top-5s in the last six races, rising open-wheel star Dane Cameron is looking forward to a level -- if dusty -- playing field
Rising open-wheel racing star Dane Cameron is on a roll. After a remarkable run of three top-5 finishes in a row, he scored his first Atlantic podium at Road America, and then followed it up with another top-5 at Trois Riviere's in the #19 MAZDASPEED/Finlay Motorsports/Lynx Racing machine fielded by Genoa Racing. With three races remaining in the 2008 Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda season, Cameron is looking forward to this weekend's event because it presents a level playing field -- this is the first time the Atlantic series has visited the New Jersey Motorsports Park.
"I went to the Grand-Am race there two weeks ago to get a feel for the facility and a look at the track, and it should be interesting," says Cameron, who is currently 6th in the Atlantic Championship battle. bAny time a car dropped a wheel off it would raise a huge cloud of dust, affecting both visibility and traction. It seems like a good surface with a fair amount of grip, and the Daytona Prototypes didn't seem to be bothered much. Atlantic cars are much lighter, though, and I think it's going to be a slippery race with lots of offs, spins and yellows. The layout itself looks fast, though there aren't many hard braking zones, so passing will be challenging and where you qualify will be important. But everyone will be racing under the same conditions, and nobody has the advantage of having raced there before, so we should be able to put together another good finish."
And the playing field will actually tilt a bit in Cameron's favor for the remainder of the Atlantic Championship season. Not only is NJMP a track nobody has ever raced on before, the Atlantic Championship has never competed at either of the two tracks hosting the final races of the season - Miller Motorsports Park and Road Atlanta. However, these are tracks Cameron knows well. He ran both tracks in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear last season, finishing 4th at Miller -- and also ran the final race of the Rolex Series season in the Ganassi Racing/Finlay Motorsports Daytona Prototype. At Road Atlanta, Cameron won the Star Mazda championship -- one race ahead of the season finale and only the second rookie in the history of the Star Mazda Championship to win the championship in his first year.
"It'll be interesting to see how things change going to a track where no one in the series has ever raced before; that will be a real battle of the engineers in figuring out a fast setup as quickly as possible," says Cameron. "And our engineers are among the best, so between that and the fact that I've had experience at the final two tracks, I'm feeling confident that we can bring home a couple more podiums, and hopefully a win, before the season is over."