Hearn Motorsports Overcomes Last Minute Changes, Puts Two in Top-20 BRASELTON, Ga., Oct. 4, 2005 -- Hearn Motorsports overcame a series of last minute changes leading into the Petit Le Mans-round of the Star Mazda Series North American ...
Hearn Motorsports Overcomes Last Minute Changes, Puts Two in Top-20
BRASELTON, Ga., Oct. 4, 2005 -- Hearn Motorsports overcame a series of last minute changes leading into the Petit Le Mans-round of the Star Mazda Series North American Championship presented by Goodyear to put its two entries into the top-20 of the strong formula car field. The Richie Hearn-owned team rallied to place longtime Star Mazda racer Mike Anderson (Anza, Calif.) into 11th at the end of Friday's 45-minute race. It was Anderson's first time driving for the team owned by open wheel driving standout Richie Hearn (Henderson, Nev.). Regular driver Brian Thienes (Huntington Beach, Calif.) ran the No. 77 Thienes Engineering/ Hearn Motorsports Star Mazda to 19th at the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta facility. It marked the second appearance for the team, and both drivers, at the Atlanta, Ga.-area track this season. In April, Matt Jaskol placed the No. 70 third on the podium. The weeks since the team's first Series victory at Mosport International Raceway (Mosport) have been a rollercoaster for the second-year operation with last minute driver changes. However, in true-to-form fashion for the team that takes its spirit and direction from Hearn, they quickly overcame the setbacks and earned two top-20 finishes.
Richie Hearn, owner: "Overall, I think we could have had two top-10 cars with a little different luck. It's a little disappointing but we can load both cars up which is a big thing at a track like Road Atlanta. We're really excited about our plans for expanding in 2006 but we're also very focused on the last race of the season. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is a great track so I am looking forward to going there to closeout the year."
No. 42, Mike Anderson -- Hearn Motorsports Mazda
Qualified: 8th (1:21.697), Finished: 11th
After winning the most recent Star Mazda-round at Mosport, the team's first Star Mazda victory, Hearn was to have Jay Howard (England) back in the No. 70 as teammate to Thienes for Road Atlanta. However, a last minute change by Howard left the IndyCar and Champ Car driver looking for a new pilot for his Las Vegas-based Star Mazda. Good fortune smiled on Hearn and Mike Anderson as the two found each other just days before the event. Hearn changed the number of his car from the traditional No. 70 he has run the last two years to Anderson's familiar No. 42. The two worked well together with Anderson gaining throughout the weekend to earn one of his best Star Mazda finishes.
Richie Hearn, owner: "It was pretty last minute that we found out we wouldn't have a driver for the car. The good thing was that we hooked-up with Mike and were able to put this together pretty quickly. He did a good job for his first time in our car. He gained a lot of speed throughout the weekend and finished just outside of the top-10. He fell in between groups on the track. No one gained on him but he wasn't able to catch anyone either. That makes for a pretty long day. Considering how this all came together, I'd say it went better than could be expected."
No. 77, Brian Thienes -- Thienes Engineering/ Hearn Motorsports
Qualified: 13th (1:21.934), Finished: 19th
Brian Thienes qualified three one-hundredths of a second out of the top-10 for Friday's race. That miniscule amount would impact his race greatly. Once in the second-ten cars, Thienes was not able to close the gap to the top-10. He would fall back from there to end the race on the lead lap (30 laps total) in 19th-place. Thienes is 21st in drivers points with one race remaining in the season. He continues to hold third in the Expert Series for Star Mazda drivers between the ages of 30 -- 44 just two points out of second-place.
Richie Hearn, owner: "Brian had a tough time in the race. We have to look over the car. If he had qualified a tenth better, and started in the top-10, it would have made all the difference in his race I think. This series runs in packs and if you get caught in the slower pack it's pretty hard to get out of it. Brian has run up closer to the front so we know he can do it. Unfortunately, this weekend he just didn't get out of the slower pack once he started back there."
The SPEED Channel will broadcast the Petit Le Mans Star Mazda race on November 6 at 1 PM (EDT).
Hearn Motorsports will roll out for the final time of the 2005 Star Mazda season on October 15th at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
For more on Hearn Motorsports please visit www.RichieHearn.com. More on Brian Thienes can be found at www.ThienesEngineering.com.