Michael McDowell Records Back-to-Back Victories July 3, 2004. Lakeville, Connecticut. Building on the momentum of his victory at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course one week ago, Michael McDowell pulled away for his second victory in a row in Round...
Michael McDowell Records Back-to-Back Victories
July 3, 2004. Lakeville, Connecticut. Building on the momentum of his victory at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course one week ago, Michael McDowell pulled away for his second victory in a row in Round Three of the Star Mazda Series North American Championship at Lime Rock Park.
McDowell, driving the Drive4USA/Sparco/Star Race Cars Mazda, had to fend off his hard driving teammate, and winner of the opening round at Sebring, Dan DiLeo, who recorded his third straight podium in his first three races of the championship. The youth movement on the podium was completed when another rookie, 16-year-old CR Crews III, recorded his first podium in only his second event.
"When it comes right down to it I really have to give the credit to the guys at Star Race Cars," McDowell said. "These guys are the hardest working crew out there. They are the first to show up and the last to leave and each race they have given me a car that can run at the front of the field."
McDowell led for the entire 44-lap event, but was under constant attack from DiLeo, who wasn't going to let their friendship off the track keep him from trying to work his way to the front. "We are teammates and friends but when we are out on the track he is just another competitor," Toronto, Canada resident DiLeo commented. "After the first restart I made a move to the inside going into turn one and we actually touched but I was able to back out and he kept the car under him. He's got a couple of wins in a row now so now it's my turn to run off a couple."
The event was broken up by two full course caution periods, the first coming on lap 7 when Marco Andretti, making his series debut for G&W Motorsports, made contact with Tom Nastasi as the two battled for position into turn one. "Coming onto the front straight it appeared that Andretti had lost some momentum and I moved to the inside," explained Nastasi. "Ryan Justice moved to the inside of me and Andretti, on the outside as we entered the corner got into my sidepod and I got into Justice."
"There was so much oil on the track from Tom Nastasi that the first few laps after the restart were like driving on ice," stated McDowell, "it was hard to have the confidence to push the car but with Dan (DiLeo) on my gearbox and filling my mirrors I had to forget about the oil and drive laps as hard as I could."
Round Four of the Star Mazda Series North American Championship presented by Goodyear will be held with the American Le Mans Series event at Infineon Raceway on July 15-17. The Lime Rock Park round of the championship will be broadcast by Speed Channel on July 18 at 2:00 PM Eastern Time.