Fourth place finish by rookie Joel Miller at Laguna Seca results in a runner-up position in title chase MONTEREY, CALIF. (October 21, 2008) -- JDC MotorSports concluded its season of Star Mazda Championship competition on October 18 with ...
Fourth place finish by rookie Joel Miller at Laguna Seca results in a runner-up position in title chase
MONTEREY, CALIF. (October 21, 2008) -- JDC MotorSports concluded its season of Star Mazda Championship competition on October 18 with a runner-up finish in both the driver and team title fights. Series freshman Joel Miller just missed out on the championship with a fourth place result at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, while Chuck Hulse's eighth Masters Series win helped the Minnesota-based outfit secure second in the team standings when combined with Chris Hundley's 18th place finish and Gerry Kraut's 24th place result.
For Miller, the season finale in Northern California was all about winning the 2008 series title. Entering the event sitting second in the title chase, the MAZDASPEED Driver Development program race pilot was poised to achieve his season-long goal, consistently posting times among the top-two in testing and practice. Unfortunately, come race day, the balance on his No. 20 MAZDASPEED/K&N Air Filters/Sparco/Redline Oil/JDC MotorSports car appeared to not be quite right. Despite the setback, Miller qualified a strong fourth for the Saturday afternoon race. While the talented driver from California showed the speed and racecraft that had made him a title contender all season long, he just could not work his way into the race lead. When the checkered flag waved to end the 26-lap race, Miller was fourth, resulting in a second place overall finish in the driver standings, a mere 16 points back of the newly-crowned champion.
"I tried driving around the issue the car had today, but it wasn't enough," stated Miller. "We needed to be perfect to win with the close competition this weekend, but it was not meant to be. This season has been one to remember. With the help from Mazda and the MAZDASPEED Driver Development Program I was able to compete this year. The people behind the program are remarkable, and I thank them for the opportunity that they gave me. Also, I was able to learn so much from Rick Cameron and the JDC Motorsports crew, which allowed me to raise my performance to the next level. I also have to personally thank my sponsors for believing in me this season which include Mazda, K&N Air Filters, Mockett Company, Classic Stone Distributors, Sparco, Sportsdrink+, DreamCars, Burns Truck and Trailer, Oakley, as well as the HSUS program which was so fun to be involved in."
With the Masters title secured prior to the race at Laguna Seca getting underway, the weekend goal for Chuck Hulse was to finish among the top-10 in an effort to help JDC clinch second place in the Team Championship standings. As he has all season long, the Californian got steadily quicker with each session on-track. Come the start of Round 12, the driver of the No. 12 Silicon Salvage/Redline Oil/JDC MotorSports car was positioned to achieve his goals. Turning fast and trouble-free laps from start to finish, Hulse scored his third class win in four races via a 10th place finish overall, the fourth time he had achieved that feat.
Two weeks after making his Star Mazda Championship debut, Chris Hundley returned to the cockpit of the No. 4 Limousine Connection/Redline Oil/JDC MotorSports entry. The Californian proceeded to improve every time he got behind the wheel, saving his fastest pace for the race. Advancing six places in the 45-minute race, Hundley finished a respectable 18th in his second-ever series race.
As one of the team's co-owners, Gerry Kraut entered the final race of the 2008 campaign seeking to extend his Masters Series win streak to three. Having turned some quick times in practice and qualifying, the No. 55 Dougherty & Co./Dougherty Funding LLC/Redline Oil/JDC MotorSports race pilot appeared headed towards this goal when the racing action got underway. Unfortunately, Kraut's race and season came to early end, when a slight error resulted in a trip into a gravel trap on lap 10 and a subsequent 24th place finish.
"I want to thank Barry Mumm for helping me in the last third of the season,' stated Kraut. "His engineering and data acquisition skills resulted in faster lap times for me. Unfortunately, that didn't prevent me from overshooting a corner and ending my season in the Laguna Seca gravel."