Sears Point: MJ Motorsports race notes

Andretti captures first MJ Motorsports podium finish at Infineon Raceway July 17, 2005. Sonoma, California. MJ Motorsports and Marco Andretti battled the blazing heat and forty other hungry competitors to earn their first podium of the season at...

Andretti captures first MJ Motorsports podium finish at Infineon Raceway

July 17, 2005. Sonoma, California. MJ Motorsports and Marco Andretti battled the blazing heat and forty other hungry competitors to earn their first podium of the season at Infineon Raceway. Andretti backed up his podium finish with sixth place finish in a double-header weekend that saw him move his Vonage sponsored machine up to fourth place in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.

"It has been a lot of hard work this season and we've had more than our share of challenges to overcome so we are happy to have this first podium finish and have Marco move up in the standings," Michael James, Team Principle for MJ Motorsports said. "We still have a lot of racing left this season and are still focused on the championship."

Andretti, from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, driving the Vonage/Best Buy/Hersheys MJ Motorsports Mazda, had an inspired drive in the first of two races at Infineon Raceway this weekend, jumping from fifth on the grid to the second position on the opening lap and leading the charge to catch Donoso for much of the event.

"We had to make a guess on the setup for the race as we had missed the final practice session yesterday so to finish up here on the podium feels pretty good," Andretti explained. "I could tell something was wrong with Raphael's car as we came into turn seven on the last lap and we almost hit, but I was able to avoid him and move back into second."

While Andretti was fighting for the victory his teammates Ross Smith and Scott Jenkins were locked in battles themselves, with Ross Smith bringing the Maxwell Paper Products Mazda home 20th in Saturday's race and 15th in Sunday's race while Jenkins would face another tough weekend, finishing 34th on Saturday and 21st on Sunday after having to pit early in the race to replace a broken front wing on his Environmental Fibers International Mazda.

"It has been a tough run of luck for Scott right now after all the success he has had in the series," James said. "Right from the start we noticed that his engine was losing oil pressure. We replaced the engine and the problem returned. Finally we discovered that the oil pickup line in the oil tank had a slight crimp which wasn't allowing enough oil to lubricate the engine. We were happy to find the problem but frustrated that it cost him so much time on track."

The Star Mazda Championship has crossed into the second half of the season and with his 2nd and 6th place finishes Andretti moves to fourth in the championship, while Jenkins falls into a tie for ninth place while Smith sits in twelfth place. The series now moves to Scott Jenkins' hometown of Portland, Oregon, for Round Eight of the championship on July 28-30.

About MJ Motorsports
MJ Motorsports is a new team formed by Michael and Jennifer James from the assets of the 2004 Star Mazda Championship winning factory effort. The team will operate out of their new facility in Gardena, California, and is actively looking at additional candidates to fill out their four car effort. Inquiries regarding MJ Motorsports should be directed to:

-mj-motorsports.com

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About this article
Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Marco Andretti , Ross Smith