Klein and Andersen Get Their First Star Mazda Race Under Their Belts Saturday LEXINGTON, Ohio, June 26 - Jonathan Klein and Mike Andersen both had their moments Saturday as they and Andersen Walko Racing made their debut in Star Mazda...
Klein and Andersen Get Their First Star Mazda Race Under Their Belts Saturday
LEXINGTON, Ohio, June 26 - Jonathan Klein and Mike Andersen both had their moments Saturday as they and Andersen Walko Racing made their debut in Star Mazda competition at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Klein, who had never driven at this challenging track before, ended up 18th in the 41-car field. Andersen, who has driven this course many times and has many victories here in other forms of the sport, had a problem with a lapped car and finished 37th.
With 42 cars entered in the event, it was one of the largest Star Mazda fields in history.
Andersen, of Green Pond, N.J., qualified 12th in the #98, which carried the decals of Pi Research. Klein, of Long Grove, Ill., qualified 13th in the #97, which is sponsored by Kalfact Plastics; Fettes, Love & Sieben; Nexus Distribution Corp.; Midwest Steel & Services; Ironclad Performance Wear and ProStar Group.
The start and the first few laps ended up being Andersen's shining moment, as he went from 12th to seventh in a heartbeat. "I just used the right side and I think I picked up four spots right at the start," he said afterwards.
He dropped back one spot to eighth a little later, where he had a nice battle with Nick Steele and Tom Nastasi.
Then trouble struck on lap 16 in the form of a lapped car.
"My problem came when I caught a lapped car in turn one," Andersen related. "There were three cars with me. I got stuck behind the lapped car, and everybody got a run on me. I was totally wedged in the middle of four cars, and then the guy in the lapped car broke way too early. I had to brake to miss hitting him, and Brian Frisselle hit me in the rear in a chain-reaction kind of accident.
"My left-rear suspension was damaged pretty badly, so I just parked it," he explained.
Klein's main goal was to bring the car home in one piece, which he accomplished.
"I wasn't too aggressive at the start," he said. "With the big field and this being my first Star Mazda race, I wanted to be conservative and avoid any trouble."
Klein dropped back to 15th initially and ran in 16th for awhile. He was just starting to pick off some of his rivals when he spun, which dropped him back to 19th. He moved up one more spot before the checkered flew on lap 28.
"I got a little wide in turn one once and spun," he said. "After that the motor overheated due to grass in the radiator, and basically I just nursed it home from that point on.
"At least I didn't hit anything; the car is in one piece. Overall, I still had fun," he added.
Both drivers said their cars' handling changed throughout the event.
"My car's handling changed at least three or four times in the laps I did," Andersen said. "I played with the bars and the traction control, but it was strange."
This race is scheduled to be shown on the SPEED Channel on July 11 at noon Eastern time.
Michael McDowell won the race over Scott Jenkins and Daniel Di Leo.
Now the series, which is presented by Goodyear, moves to Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. for a race on July 3. Two other races are on the schedule that month: Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. on July 17 and Portland Int'l Raceway in Portland, Ore. on July 24. The schedule shows an Aug. 7 show at Mosport Int'l Raceway and an Aug. 21 date at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. too. The final three races are slated for Road Atlanta Sept. 24; on the oval at Phoenix Oct. 2 and at Mazda Raceway in Monterey, Calif. on Oct. 16.
AWR is based in Fairfield, N.J. and North Versailles, Pa.
For more information see www.andersenwalko.com.