Robbie Pecorari captures first Star Mazda Victory at Pikes Peak July 3, 2005. Fountain, Colorado. Rookies ruled the day at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Round Five of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear with eighteen year old...
Robbie Pecorari captures first Star Mazda Victory at Pikes Peak
July 3, 2005. Fountain, Colorado. Rookies ruled the day at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Round Five of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear with eighteen year old Robbie Pecorari leading the way to edge out his sixteen year old Andersen Walko Racing teammate by 0.038 to earn his first Star Mazda Championship victory. Rounding out the rookie sweep of the podium was Sean Guthrie who would finish 0.409 seconds behind Pecorari in today's 75 lap event at the one-mile oval.
Taking advantage of a late race caution period that would lead to a three lap shootout to the finish, Pecorari would dive past Rahal with two laps to go and hold off his teammate in the run to the finish. "My car would work really good on cold tires so when the caution flag came out I knew I would be able to make a run," Pecorari said. "I knew if I went inside I could get by and just worked on the timing. I still like road course best but like ovals a little bit more."
The dash to the finish would come about when Scott Jenkins, who entered the event fourth in points, spun and hit the wall in turn four on lap 68. Rahal, who had found a bit of breathing space, would thread the needle to get through the incident but watch the gap he had built up evaporate. "That last caution came out at the worst time, " a disappointed Rahal would comment. "I had some breathing room for the closing laps, but once the gap was gone I knew that Robbie would be right there because he has been strong all weekend. It's frustrating to be so close to victory only to have it slip away, but at least it was a teammate that got the checkered flag."
After a difficult start to the season, sixteen year old Sean Guthrie would rebound in a big way this weekend, running towards the front of the field from the start and driving his way up from fifth on the grid to earn his first podium of the season. "While this was my first race on a paved oval I grew up driving karts on dirt ovals so that definitely helped this weekend," Guthrie said. "I had a great car this weekend and was able to work my way through traffic smoothly, and it feels great to be up ont he podium."
Fourth place would belong to another series rookie, James Hinchcliffe, who would start the event from pole position in his AIM Autosport Mazda. Hinchcliffe would dominate the majority of the race, leading the first 60 laps before fading in the closing laps. "I'm crushed because everyone at AIM Autosport really wanted this podium today," Hinchclife said. "The car was really strong but in the closing laps the front end lost something and I would drift up the track as we went into the corners."
While the top four were lurking at the front of the field all day the fifth place finisher, Michael Potekhen, was the busiest man on the track, working his way up from the last spot on the grid as he replaced Brian Thienes in the Hearn Motorsports car. "The Hearn Motorsports car was incredible today and was definitely capable of winning," Potkhen said. "It's been about six months since I've raced anything and I only had a few laps yesterday to shake off the dust but having a car this good really helped get me back into the flow. I have to thank Richie Hearn and Brian Thienes for putting me in the car and if it weren't for the caution flag at the end we could've made the podium."
Championship points leader Raphael Matos, who came into the weekend having won the first four rounds, would struggle in today's event, finishing twelfth overall. As the series approaches the halfway point in two-weeeks time at Infineon Raceway, Matos continues atop the championship with 203 points. Sitting in second place is Robbie Pecorari with 175 points while Graham Rahal drops a position to third with 172 points.
In the expert series championship, for drivers aged 30-44, Golden, Colorado resident Micky Gilbert would earn the victory and maintain his first place in the championship with 87 points to Mike Anderson's 67 points. In the Masters Championship, for drivers aged 45 and older, John Faulkner would bring his Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda at the front of the field and moves into second place in the championship with 74 points to championship leader John Pew's 80 points.
The series now heads towards Infineon Raceway for a double-header weekend on July 14-17 as part of the American LeMans Series activities at the Sonoma roadcourse.