Rusty Mitchell Looking to Shake off Disappointing New Jersey Weekend with a Strong Oval Run in Milwaukee (Millville, NJ) --Rusty Mitchell was hoping that with some previous experience on the track, some strong recent test outings, and a balanced...
Rusty Mitchell Looking to Shake off Disappointing New Jersey Weekend with a Strong Oval Run in Milwaukee
(Millville, NJ) --Rusty Mitchell was hoping that with some previous experience on the track, some strong recent test outings, and a balanced set-up on his Motorola-liveried Star Mazda machine, that the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear double header race weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park would be a good place to post some strong results.
And as the race weekend got underway, those hopes were well-founded. Mitchell's times on the opening promoter test day had him close out the day with the fourth-fastest time in the ultra-competitive formula car category, which boasted 26 entries for the New Jersey race weekend. On Friday, Mitchell was once again fast no matter what the conditions were, posting the 8th quickest time despite the wet conditions on the 2.25-mile track, and then backing it up with the 6th fastest time once the track dried.
But come Saturday, the weekend took a turn for the worse as qualifying didn't see Mitchell score the spot that his speed had shown, and then his weekend got even tougher as the race provided a disappointing outcome.
"We decided to just use the one set of tires in qualifying due to the way the weekend was set up with two races, and that meant that even though I was 4th on the board when I finished my qualifying run, the other guys went a lot quicker on the newer tires," said Mitchell. "So that put me deep in the pack for the first race. I was disappointed, but I'd also had a great start at Miller and had passed a lot of cars at the start, so that was the plan for Jersey."
That deep in the pack start saw Mitchell look to make up ground as the green flag flew with the HDNet cameras bringing the race live to a nationwide audience. But with such a tightly-packed group of hungry competitors, Mitchell was forced off the line and further back in the pack. But his Motorola Mazda was still fast, and he set about making up ground before the weekend took a true turn for the worse.
"I came around the corner and there was a car going really slowly that just pulled out right in front of me and I had no place to go at all," said Mitchell. "It launched the car 10 feet! I have no idea what he was thinking pulling out right in front of me like that."
With a second race yet to run on the weekend, it was time for Mitchell Motorsports to kick into action and show their own speed. Which they did, working through the night to repair the car in time for Mitchell to be ready to go for the qualifying session.
"Those guys did an awesome job and I really wanted to repay their effort with a great qualifying result, but we just missed it a little bit so I ended up on the 7th row," said Mitchell.
Starting that deep in the pack once again saw a hectic race start, one that unfortunately once again ended the day for Mitchell as a turn 6 spin ended his race early.
"It was a frustrating and disappointing weekend because when you have a car like we did this weekend, you really want to make the most of it and that didn't happen this weekend," said Mitchell, who will look to rebound with his paved oval racing debut this Saturday at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin.
"We've found some speed with the car, and I think it comes down to me being more confident with the car, and more so how well I'm able to relay what the car is doing to the engineer. The testing has also paid off with the car being so quick, and now hopefully we can have a better weekend at Milwaukee because we were fast in the test, and it'd be great to bank a strong result before heading back home to Texas."
The Milwaukee race weekend will see the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear part of the NASCAR Nationwide Series event weekend as the series stages the first of two oval events for the 2009 season.