AFTER A 'TWILIGHT ZONE' SESSION IN THE MORNING STAR MAZDA PRACTICE, THE NORMAL ORDER OF THINGS RE-ASSERTS ITSELF -- PRETTY MUCH -- IN THE AFTERNOON Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca / Oct. 17 -- With the first practice session of the morning delivering...
AFTER A 'TWILIGHT ZONE' SESSION IN THE MORNING STAR MAZDA PRACTICE, THE NORMAL ORDER OF THINGS RE-ASSERTS ITSELF -- PRETTY MUCH -- IN THE AFTERNOON
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca / Oct. 17 -- With the first practice session of the morning delivering a shock to the system for everyone on the grid in the form of a total newcomer setting fast time his first time in the car -- Richard Kent, an English karting champion with a background in the European Formula Palmer Audi series drove the #77 Andersen Racing / Traka / Allied Building Supplies Mazda to a fast lap of 1:21.074.
In the warmth of a hazy, somewhat humid afternoon, however, the normal order of things re-asserted itself -- more or less -- with American Joel Miller turning the best time, a 1:21.661 in the #20 JDC Motorsports / Mazda / K&N Air Filters Mazda. Miller is the 2007 Skip Barber Pro Series Champion and is racing in the 2008 Star Mazda Championship courtesy of the MAZDASPEED Motorsport Driver Development Ladder scholarship.
"This morning was a mess with red flags, yellow flags, slow cars putting around, and that pretty much accounted for the way the times worked out," said Miller. "The track was slower this afternoon, but we got some good runs and showed our true colors. The track is a bit strange; every corner feels different and it isn't really 'rubbering up' from the ALMS cars. Its just a matter of feeling our way around, finding out what the car wants and not throwing it off trying too hard."
Setting second-fast time, less than a tick behind, was championship points leader, and four-time race winner, American John Edwards. He turned a 1:21.676 in The #7 AIM Autosport/ Mobil 1 Mazda. In third was another 4-race winner, Irishman Peter Dempsey, currently third in the championship battle. He turned a lap of 1:21.761 in the #21 Andersen Racing/LotusWorks/ Center Jewellers.ie/Quayside.ie/ Allied Building Products Mazda.
Down in fourth, still a stellar effort from a first-time Star Mazda driver, was the morning's quick guy, Richard Kent with a lap of 1:21.964. Rounding out the top-5 was last year's winner of this race, Louisiana racer Alex Ardoin, who turned a 1:22.109 in the #51 Mundill Racing / Oral & Facial Surgery Center / Twister Trailer Mazda