JWR Tangles with Mother Nature at Mosport TRAFFORD, PA (September 3, 2007) - The second leg of the trip to Canada for John Walko Racing brought the team to Mosport for the tenth leg of the Star Mazda Championship Series, the Mosport Grand Prix.
JWR Tangles with Mother Nature at Mosport
TRAFFORD, PA (September 3, 2007) - The second leg of the trip to Canada for John Walko Racing brought the team to Mosport for the tenth leg of the Star Mazda Championship Series, the Mosport Grand Prix. For Walko, it was a trip he looks forward to each year.
"I love Mosport, it is one of those tracks that when we go there I want to drive. The fans are great, they love our racing, know our history - it is a fantastic event. It's an amazing track as well; they just don't build them like this anymore."
The team was coming off of an exhausting weekend at Trois Rivieres the previous week where everything that could possibly happen, did happen. While the weather created plenty of work, changing set-ups back and forth from wet to dry, both Charles Anti and Russell Walker did their part to keep the crews happy.
"Charles was somewhat conservative this weekend after Trois Rivieres, writing a car off and dealing with those consequences, and it probably paid off for him. He kept his nose clean and consistently gained speed regardless of conditions."
"On the other hand, Russell started out quick, leading the first session from his very first lap out. He was on top of it the whole way through and showed great speed in the wet."
Each step along the way provided a new obstacle in terms of weather from rain to drying conditions in the middle of a practice session to dry conditions for the start of qualifying to every possible weather condition in the race, the teams had to constantly adjust to conditions.
"It was wet and dry all weekend, rarely was it ever one consistent weather session so it was challenging in that respect. It usually seemed to be changing throughout a session too compounding issues. We never saw a dry track until qualifying actually."
The race proved to be the biggest weather hurdle. Despite starting out dry, conditions changed drastically shortly after the green flag fell and then back again to near dry conditions by the end.
"The race went from pouring on the second lap to dry by the end. I made the call to go to wets when we did because as wet as it was everyone was tiptoeing around on slicks. It was definitely the call to make at that very moment. Had the yellow not come out a lap later, benefiting a few drivers who stayed out and were able to pit under yellow, then we would have been in great shape."
Anti soldiered on for a tenth place finish in the trying conditions while teammate Walker ended the day in 20th after sliding off track with a handful of laps remaining.
"Both drivers ended up out of sequence so the best we could hope for was to run at the front of that group which they did. Charles ran about third in the group and did a great job in the race. He drove really, really well, picked up some positions, went forward and kept the car under him - a nice job."
"Russell made his only mistake of the weekend in the race and unfortunately stuck his car in the gravel trap off of turn five. Up to that point though he was not only among the fastest on his sequence but was one of the fastest cars on the race track."
While Walko was hoping for better results in the final standings, it was an event where there were still plenty of positives to be found.
"It was a really clean race with the only yellow being the one that cost us the lead lap. It was good to load two cars on the trailer in one piece at the end of the weekend. Both Charles and Russell ran really well this weekend. If you take that one yellow flag out of the mix, we may be talking about our best finish of the year as a team. After the last few weeks it will be good to get back to the shop and get everything sorted out to make a strong run at the final two races."
Drivers wishing to join JWR for upcoming tests or races should contact John Walko Racing as soon as possible.
"It was a solid, clean weekend but we just never seemed to get fully on-track. The new car worked well and I was comfortable within a few laps. The changing conditions all weekend made it difficult to get in to much of a flow though. It was a strange race too, starting dry and then raining on the second lap. We actually had to make a green flag tire change pit stop which was kind of cool. The yellow came out though right after and all the cars that didn't pit when we made the call had a lap on us. From that point on it was just a matter of finishing the race near the front of the group on our lap which we did."
"The whole race was pretty crazy. Pitting under green to change tires unfortunately cost us a lap. It was frustrating as we were really fast in the wet, making up spots, but we were a lap down so we could only move up so far. It's another one of those races, frustrating, but we'll just move on to Atlanta and look for that first win. We've been fast there in testing and it is almost like a home track for me so I'm really looking forward to being there."
Steve Dreizler, Engineer for Charles Anti:
"It's not often we have to deal with pit stop strategy but we did this week. Looking back at where we were though, given the conditions, we made the right call. Unfortunately the yellow came out before everyone pitted and it ended up costing those of us that did a lap. From Charles' stand point, he toned it down for the conditions this race and did exactly what he needed to do. He was clean every session, went faster each session and drove well in the race. He did as much as he could have done under the circumstances with the yellow and losing a lap."
Eric Langbein, Engineer for Russell Walker:
"Russell had a better weekend than the results showed. He was P1 in the first session, demonstrating his speed in the wet once again. In the race he was turning some of the very fastest laps of the race before his off. If there was one thing that we came away with from Mosport it was that we need to maybe adjust our intensity - Russell needs to push harder earlier in the event, which will allow us to improve the package more for the race, and leave a little more room for error in the race. He continues to be very, very fast so it just comes down to a little fine tuning now to put him on the podium."