David Ostella was at New Jersey Motorsports Park a week ago as the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear contested its first doubleheader event of the season at the Mazda Motorsports Festival. The Canadian steadily found time through a...
David Ostella was at New Jersey Motorsports Park a week ago as the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear contested its first doubleheader event of the season at the Mazda Motorsports Festival. The Canadian steadily found time through a pair of sessions on Thursday and Friday, but was unceremoniously thumped from the field in turn one on Saturday afternoon. Right back at it a day later, Ostella and his AIM Autosport team had their first problem-free run of the season in finishing seventh.
"Overall it was a good event in the end," Ostella said upon his return home. "Of course Saturday wasn't the greatest because I was taken out, but Sunday was good since I finished and was back inside the top ten."
In two promoter test sessions on Thursday, Ostella ran just outside the top ten before moving into the top ten on Friday morning and qualifying there Saturday. The eighteen-year-old was content with his effort, noting just how tight the Star Mazda field can be.
"I was getting better every session but it was hard to move up since so many cars were within a tenth," Ostella said after the first qualifying run. "Then the race was just a very unfortunate situation for me. I had made a good start to get right beside Rusty Mitchell and then I got taken out from behind. The team and I had talked about the start and just getting through turn one, but it was a racing incident. I tried to continue, but I couldn't because the car was just too damaged."
The field was stacked again on Sunday as one second covered the first twelve cars coming from qualifying. Ostella qualified ninth, the second of four cars qualifying at an identical 1:16.7 seconds. Race two proved a much more satisfying affair, coming in part due to a change in approach overnight.
"Trying to be careful going into turn one obviously didn't pan out so we decided to just go all out and be more aggressive on Sunday," Ostella said of the start to race two. "And the start was great! I was really happy about it. I got to eighth running through turn one and got another spot in turn seven."
Ostella then inherited sixth when another car pitted for a new nose cone, then held the spot running through the first ten laps. The next segment saw him lose one position, and in the late stages the sophomore driver was in a defensive mode in maintaining seventh, a finish that matched his best of the season to date.
"The car started to fall off for me, just like a lot of other drivers," Ostella said afterward. "I was getting a lot of rubber buildup on the front tires which was making it really hard to handle, but I continued to get a good run out of turn ten every lap so I was able to stay where I was. In the end, it was a good race!"
The races at New Jersey brought an end to the first half of the 2010 season, one which Ostella will have little problem forgetting as he heads into the second half. After a promising start to the year in Florida, the next four races proved disastrous as he brushed the wall in both oval runs, was left on the line with a broken half-shaft at Laguna Seca and was knocked out in New Jersey. Race seven led to P7, and now the schedule heads to a back-end six that includes Canadian starts at both Trois-Rivieres and Mosport.
Qualifying has been much more satisfying, as Ostella has been inside the top ten in every start to date, and the focus in the second half of the season will be in taking a quick car and converting to race trim. Races eight and nine will be the second pair in back-to-back doubleheaders as the teams return to Chicago's Autobahn Country Club. Ostella will compete in all with support from Global Precast Intercontinental, Alpinestars, Masters Insurance, Pro Green Demolition and RAW Integrated Ltd.