SMWCS-Winter: Phoenix rounds two, three summary

Star Mazda West Coast Series Rounds Two and Three Wheel to Wheel in the Middle of the Corner and the Middle of Winter Phoenix, AZ - The Star Mazda West Coast Series spent this past weekend at the Phoenix International Raceway road course....

Star Mazda West Coast Series Rounds Two and Three
Wheel to Wheel in the Middle of the Corner and the Middle of Winter

Phoenix, AZ - The Star Mazda West Coast Series spent this past weekend at the Phoenix International Raceway road course. Billy Goshen who was leading the championship coming into the weekend showed well with two pole positions overall and a regional win against Formula Atlantic cars and unlimited sports racers. The weekend included a regional and a national SCCA race, and the group featured fifteen racecars. Goshen left PIR even further ahead in the points lead.

Mike Hill the 2008 Star Mazda Winter Series champion came out for the weekend and won Sunday's national event. "It was great to see Mike and Billy battle it out this weekend," noted Ben Hettema series official. "These drivers are getting racing experience and practice during the time of year when many of the other Star Mazda drivers are snowed in and practicing on their game systems. Like my friend Marvin used to say 'Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby.'"

Mark Felsen rounded out the Pro Formula Mazda podium in both races. The father and son team of Tom and Lucas Barnett were entered in their Standard Formula Mazdas. "This was the first weekend that Lucas was old enough to race," mentioned the elder Barnett. Lucas was very competitive and finished ahead of his more experienced teammate in Saturday's race. Vince Gaddini and Renny Damon, who own Pro Formula Mazdas and ran in the 2008 Molecule Formula Mazda Challenge, were in the same race group competing in their Stohr WF1 sportscars.

The Star Mazda Winter Series finale will take place on the same course January 16th-19th. "Drivers who want to get in a warm up for the 2009 regular season should really consider this event," stated Ben Hettema. "The first race of the 2009 Molecule Formula Mazda Challenge will be less than a month after the Phoenix finale, and the opener for the Star Mazda Series will be in March at Sebring."

In 1964, when Phoenix International Raceway was carved out of the foothills of the Estrella Mountains, it was intended to be a new jewel in the crown of American open wheel racing. Drivers like Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones and the Unsers soon came to love the track with the unique bend in the backstretch. They really loved coming to Phoenix, where the tourism industry was just starting to grow and its Western-style hospitality was second to none. It wasn't until 1988, however, when NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing came to PIR, that auto racing in Phoenix really became a major sporting attraction for the "Valley of the Sun." New racing legends and legends-in-the-making like Davey Allison, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace and the rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup stars found out firsthand what their open-wheel brethren had known for years: Phoenix International Raceway is truly a great place for racing, for drivers and fans alike.

-credit: www.formulamazdachallenge.com

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