Hearn Motorsports Enjoys Most Successful Weekend Yet LAS VEGAS, Nev., August 10, 2004 -- Hearn Motorsports had the most successful weekend of its short existence at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. The Richie ...
Hearn Motorsports Enjoys Most Successful Weekend Yet
LAS VEGAS, Nev., August 10, 2004 -- Hearn Motorsports had the most successful weekend of its short existence at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. The Richie Hearn-owned, two-car Star Mazda North American Championship team won its first career pole position and its first podium finish in the open wheel, formula car series. Hearn, himself a standout open wheel driver with an IndyCar Series victory, pole position and Toyota Atlantic Championship on his resume, foresaw the success coming to the team. However, the progress of the two-car effort in such a short period of time has impressed even the most cynical observers. The Las Vegas-resident oversaw the No. 70 Showtime/ Samsung/ Skip Barber Mazda driven by Raphael Matos of Belo Horizonte, Brazil to his first pole position and the No. 77 Thienes Engineering Mazda of Brian Thienes, Huntington Beach, Calif., to his first top-12 with the team. The Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport weekend marked only the fifth race for Hearn as a team owner and only his second race managing two cars. The event proved to be a major step-forward for the team as they look to the remaining four races on the Star Mazda schedule as excellent opportunities to win their first race.
No. 70 Showtime/ Samsung/ Skip Barber Mazda, qualified: 1st, finished: 3rd -- Matos hovered near the top of the speed charts before going into qualifying. However, even the team was somewhat surprised when the 2003 Formula Dodge National champion put up the fastest time in qualifying (a lap of one minute, 14.685 seconds) earning his first pole but his fifth top-four start of the season. Getting a quick start in the 45-minute race, the series rookie brought the white Showtime/ Samsung/ Skip Barber Mazda across the start-finish line first on lap one. He maintained the lead until a rear tire blister started to force the likeable Brazilian into the clutches of his followers. Matos made several valiant efforts to make a second charge for the lead late in the race but, due to the ongoing blistering problem, was forced to settle for third within sight of the leaders. The result was the Hearn Motorsports' and Matos' highest series' finish to-date.
Richie Hearn: "We're extremely pleased and relieved that we finally got it put together. We qualified on the pole in nice fashion on the last lap of the session. We had a good start but we had a tire blistering problem that hit pretty early on. Raphael just had to hang on and those other guys were just a little bit faster. Third-place is good for us because it's our first time on the podium. Raphael never put a wheel wrong all weekend. So, all-in-all, it was good for us. This takes a little off our back. This is the first step, getting on the podium. But, winning the pole is a big boost. And, Raphael did that himself. We were third fastest until the last lap and he just put one together. So, I think that will carry a lot of weight going into Road America. Raphael is one of the three best drivers out there and we are going to just keep pecking away at it. He was running with those guys but he was in a position to challenge. I'm disappointed we didn't get the win but I'm happy that we got on the podium. That's the first step and we should do well going into Road America."
No. 77 Thienes Engineering Mazda, qualified: 17th, finished: 12th -- Brian Thienes moved to Hearn Motorsports prior to the most recent round at Portland International Raceway. There, he was eliminated early in the event and suffered substantial damage to the red and white No. 77. Hearn Motorsports completed work on the car prior to Thursday's test days at Mosport and Thienes immediately found speed in the repaired Thienes Engineering entry. Qualifying 17th, Thienes began making his way up through the pack of cars on the treacherous Mosport facility. While passing is difficult at Mosport due to the spec Mazda rotary engine supplying nearly identical power in every car, the second-year Star Mazda driver made-up several position ending his day in 12th.
Richie Hearn: "Brian was recovering from his crash at Portland but he qualified and finished pretty well. He was pretty happy with that. We are slowly getting him a little faster and faster and I think that by the end of the year he'll be running consistently in the top-ten. That will be pretty good. This track is a tough track to make a pass on. He held his own and that was a good finish for us. We rolled both cars on the trailer and that is good. I think Road America is going to be a very good event for our team."
The Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport Star Mazda race can be seen on SPEED, at 2pm (EDT), August 29.
For more on Hearn Motorsports and its 2004 Pro Formula Mazda Series' effort please visit www.richiehearn.com. To learn about Raphael Matos, visit his bilingual site at www.rafamatos.com. More on Brian Thienes can be found at www.thieneseng.com. For information on the Star Mazda Series, please visit www.starmazda.com.