SCC: Utah: SpeedSource race notes

The SpeedSource Race Engineering team is as strong and persistent as their Mazda RX-8 race cars. The two-time defending Grand-Am Cup Street Tuner Champion is mounting a strong challenge to repeat for the title in 2007. At Miller Motorsports...

The SpeedSource Race Engineering team is as strong and persistent as their Mazda RX-8 race cars. The two-time defending Grand-Am Cup Street Tuner Champion is mounting a strong challenge to repeat for the title in 2007.

At Miller Motorsports Park in Utah, persistence paid off with a 2nd place on the podium for the No. 70 car's drivers David Haskell and team owner Sylvain Tremblay.

The Mazda-backed team familiarized themselves with the new 4.5-mile, 24-turn track on Thursday's test day and focused on maximizing the set up for their three cars. Their hard work put the No. 70 Mazda RX-8 in the top 10 in both practices.

The No. 70 also netted a 3rd place in qualifying, which moved up to a 2nd place, after post-qualifying inspection. David Haskell started the No. 70, swapping the lead regularly the first half of the race. At the pit stops, SpeedSource changed all four tires on their RX-8, and finishing driver Sylvain Tremblay made a charge on the race leaders. Each lap, the Mazda RX-8 closed in on the lead, and with two laps to go, the No. 70 closed in close. With time running out, Tremblay could not find a way by, and came home with a 2nd place.

"David had a great start. We took on four tires at our stop, which allowed us to maximize the handling performance of the Mazda RX-8 at the end of the race. The whole SpeedSource team is happy for Will and Don for their 1st victory in ST. They were long overdue," stated Tremblay.

In the SpeedSource No. 68, Scott Schlesinger relied on Ken Dobson to fine tune the car on Thursday's test day. Scott qualified in 17th and managed to work his way through the tough traffic, with only a scratch or two. Dobson put in a very solid stint and brought the car home in 10th place. Schlesinger and Dobson's efforts were rewarded with the ST Bernheim Award, for the most positions advanced in the race.

"Due to prior commitments, Scott missed the test day. Despite limited practice, his times were very impressive on a difficult track to learn. Winning the Bernheim Award says a lot about Scott, Ken, and the dedication of the whole SpeedSource crew to get the maximum out of the Mazda RX-8," stated Tremblay.

No. 66 car drivers Marcelo Abello and Nick Fanelli are long-time SpeedSource drivers and continued to mix it up with the competitive Street Tuner field. Marcelo showed his adaptability at learning new tracks by placing 16th in qualifying. Both drivers drove hard, with only a couple of on track incidents induced by fellow competitors keeping them from a top 10. In the end, Abello and Fanelli finished 13th.

The season wraps up at Virginia International Raceway on October 8th with a 6-hour race for Street Tuner cars exclusively.

Going into this last event, the duo of Haskell and Tremblay is only 24 points out of the Driver and Team Championship. Reminiscent of the 2004 season finale, SpeedSource trailed in points going into the final race at California Speedway. The SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 overcame all odds, including loosing a bumper, to secure the championship. And with a 6 hour race at this year's finale, anything could happen at Virginia.

-credit: ssre

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Series GRANDAM