Laguna Seca: Qualifying notes

Adrian Carrio earns pole position for series finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca October 21, 2006. Monterey, California. Championship points leader Adrian Carrio, of Monument, Colorado, took control in this morning's qualifying session to...

Adrian Carrio earns pole position for series finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

October 21, 2006. Monterey, California. Championship points leader Adrian Carrio, of Monument, Colorado, took control in this morning's qualifying session to capture the pole position for Round Twelve of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and all but lock up the championship. Piloting the #14 World Speed Motorsports Rockford Fosgate Mazda, Carrio waited until the closing seconds of the session before unleashing a lap of 1:20.532 (100.045 MPH) around the 2.238-mile circuit to lead the field of forty-one drivers participating in the Star Mazda season finale.

With his sixth pole position of the season Carrio picks up one more bonus point, which barring disqualification or exclusion from the race provides him with an insurmountable lead. "It was a fantastic session, the car was really good for the whole session and I was just digging so hard to get the last tenth out of the car at the end of the session," the seventeen year old explained. "We came in and gave the tires a bleed-down right at the end and put together a great lap. I have to thank the crew at World Speed Motorsports, Rockford Fosgate and a special thanks to Shames Construction for helping me out this weekend."

The final qualifying session of the season was an eventful one with the top three drivers separated by four-hundredths of a second. While Carrio was able to claim the pole both Ryan Justice and Rob Bunker held the top spot for part of the session. Justice, driving the #38 Northwest Autosport World Food Program Mazda, was second quick in the session with a lap of 1:20.557 (100.014 MPH) despite missing the time after making contact with the tire wall in turn six after his car bottomed out in the corner. Bunker, in the #18 AIM Autosport Mazda, continued his strong run in the second half of the season with the third fastest time today at 1:20.572 (99.995 MPH).

"We've felt that we belonged up at the front all weekend and we finally got a chance to show it in qualifying today," the Bridgewater, New Jersey native explained. "We're all really close at the front of the field and it's exciting to know that we'll be right there competing for the victory. AIM Autosport has helped me so much as a young driver working with setup and making me faster and after trying a lot of different things we've found a setup that works for us."

Carrio's championship rival Kevin Lacroix, who had been matching Carrio lap for lap during the practice sessions, struggled a bit during qualifying and could only muster the eighth fastest time in the session at 1:21.189 (99.235 MPH) in the #74 John Walko Racing Uni-Select Auto Parts Mazda. Needing a victory in order to have any hopes of taking the title, Lacroix, who wrapped up the Rookie-of-the-Year title at Road Atlanta, will have his work cut out for him in the race.

Round Twelve of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear is scheduled to roll of the grid at 11:35 AM Pacific Time on Saturday, October 21st.

-credit: star mazda

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About this article
Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Ryan Justice , Adrian Carrio , Kevin Lacroix