Laguna Seca: Qualifying notes

SERIES CHAMPION DANE CAMERON SCORES HIS SIXTH POLE OF THE SEASON Dane Cameron, who already clinched the 2007 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear in Round Eleven at Road Atlanta, this morning added an exclamation point to his season...

SERIES CHAMPION DANE CAMERON SCORES HIS SIXTH POLE OF THE SEASON

Dane Cameron, who already clinched the 2007 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear in Round Eleven at Road Atlanta, this morning added an exclamation point to his season with his sixth pole position of the year. Driving his #19 JDC Motorsports/ Finlay Motorsports Mazda to a lap of 1:20.491 (100.096 mph) around a treacherously damp Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, he will start from the inside of the front row for this afternoon's season finale Round Twelve.

"The track was half wet and half dry, so it was a case of the driver who wanted the pole the most was going to get it; and I wanted it the most," says the native of Sonoma, California who turned 19 on Thursday. "Partly its a response to my Road Atlanta race where I won the championship with an 8th-place finish. It was a difficult weekend, though we had a good car for the race and actually set fastest lap, but I just did what I had to do and took no chances. This weekend, I wanted to make it clear to everyone that 8th is not representative of what the team and I can do, and we're out to do today what we've done several times this year -- win from the pole after leading every lap."

Cameron has won three races so far this season, and started from the pole on airport circuits, street courses and natural-terrain tracks. He has only finished out of the top-4 twice and has already signed with the Sierra Sierra/ProWorks team to compete in the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.

Starting on the outside of the front row will be Round Eleven winner Lorenzo Mandarion, who also stood on the top step of the podium at Round Four in Salt Lake City. Mandarino, driver of the #15 Team F.FRO/Newway Forming Mazda been fast all weekend and topped the time sheets in the final practice session on Friday afternoon. His qualifying lap was a 1:20.505 (100.078 mph).

Starting third will be the spectacular Alex Ardoin of Lafayette, Louisiana. He has thrilled the fans in the latter part of the season with his sprint-car style approach to driving, and it seems to be paying off in better results as well. He turned a lap of 1:20.586 in the #51 Mundill/Oral and Facial Surgery Center Mazda.In fourth is the real shocker of the weekend, first-time Star Mazda Championship driver Max Chilton of Reigate, England. A 16 year-old student who has spent five years karting in Europe and a year in British Formula 3, he came to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca intending to drive in the American Le Mans series race but was not allowed to enter because of his age. He quickly found a seat with the Velocity Motorsports Star Mazda team and turned a lap of 1:20.775 (99.744) in the #77 Velocity Motorsports/Benfield Group Mazda.

Rounding out the top-5 on the grid for the start of this afternoon's race are Aussie rocket James Davison, who won Round Ten at Mosport. He turned a lap of 1:20.775 (99.739 mph).

Phil Fogg Jr. of Portland, Oregon, qualified first in the Expert Series for drivers 30 to 44 years of age with a lap of 1:24.894 (94.904 mph) in his #29 Northwest Autosport/Consonus Health Services Mazda. Top qualifier in the Master Series for drivers 45 and over was class champion Steve Hickham of Dallas, Texas. He turned a lap of 1:26.961 (92.648 mph) in his #17 Maxwell Racing/HB Turbo Mazda.

The 45-minute Round Twelve season finale of the 2007 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear will take the green flag at 12:30 pm Saturday.

-credit: www.starmazda.com

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Series PRO-MAZDA