James Hinchcliffe victorious in second race of weekend at Infineon Raceway July 17, 2005. Sonoma, California. Wrapping up an intense double race weekend at Infineon Raceway, James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, captured Round Seven of...
James Hinchcliffe victorious in second race of weekend at Infineon Raceway
July 17, 2005. Sonoma, California. Wrapping up an intense double race weekend at Infineon Raceway, James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, captured Round Seven of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear this afternoon in his Emexis Racing AIM Autosport Mazda to earn his first series victory, edging out Raphael Matos by 1.033 seconds at the end of the 25 lap event. Joining Hinchcliffe and Matos on the podium was round seven polesitter, and winner of the first race of the weekend, Pablo Donoso.
Hinchcliffe, who posted the second fastest time in Sunday's qualifying session, was penalized one starting position when he missed the pre-race driver's meeting, but shot into the lead on the opening lap, diving inside Donoso and Matos as the green flag came out. "As we took the green flag it looked like Pablo was focused on protecting his position from Raphael and I was able to slide through ont he inside to take the lead," Hinchcliffe explained. "I had really wanted to start on the outside, as that sets you up for the inside of turn two, so losing the second starting spot motivated me at the start of the race."
As Hinchcliffe was jumping into the lead, Matos was able to take his Ocean Tomo Racing Mazda into second place ahead of Donoso as they came into turn two. He would pursue Hinchcliffe for the remainder of the event but could not gain any ground. "James drove a great race today and was able to keep a consistent gap between us throughout the race," Matos said. "My car started out well but got loose as the race went on as the rubber from the different series ahead of us today, as well as the heat, made the track a little different from yesterday's race."
Donoso, in the Cristal Beer Andersen Walko Racing entry, captured the pole positions for both races, setting a new track record for Sunday's race, but was disappointed to not be able to bring the car home in the top spot once again. "After winning yesterday I really wanted to win again so a third place finish is not what I hoped for," the Santiago, Chile-native explained. "Yesterday my car had understeer which I prefer, but today the car would oversteer through turn six and I wasn't able to attack for position."
Finishing just off the podium was SAI Hydraulics Andersen Walko Racing driver Robbie Pecorari, who was also battling a loose car during the race. "Early in the race the leaders were able to open up a gap to me and I had some space behind me but the car was really loose," the Aston, Pennsylvania-resident said. "I tried different settings with my sway bars and worked on different lines through the corners to see if I could gain a tenths of seconds anywhere around the track."
Making his first top five finish in the series was the youngest driver in the series, Adrian Carrio. The sixteen-year old from Monument, Colorado, driving the Rockford Fosgate World Speed Motorsports entry would move up from seventh on the grid to the fifth spot. "This was my first top-five but it won't be my last," explained an excited Carrio. "I was running on my own for a lot of the race and just had to focus on hitting my marks and keep running fast laps to see if the opportunity to move up would happen. I have to thank my parents, sponsors and everyone at World Speed Motorsports for all their work this weekend."
Round Seven marked the opening of the second half of the season and James Hinchcliffe hopes this victory will start a run to the championship. "It feels great to have the victory under our belts and it seems like AIM Autosport has picked up momentum lately with their first pole position at Pikes Peak, podium finish here yesterday, and today we have our first victory," he stated. "There's a lot of racing left and this series has so many competitive drivers that that we have to stay focused on our goals for the season but a win is nice."
With seven of the twelve rounds complete Matos remains in first place with 277 points, Pecorari holds onto second place with 241 and Hinchcliffe sits in third with 234 points. In the expert series championship, for drivers aged 30-44, Micky Gilbert captured the victory in his Eurosports Racing Mazda and continues to lead the championship with 123 points while Mike Anderson is currently second with 97 points.
In the Masters Championship, for drivers aged 45 and older, Doug Peterson would come out on top in his 3-Dimensional Services Mazda to earn his third Masters class victory of the year. John Pew would finish third on the day in his Velocity Motorsports Mazda to keep his place atop the championship with 110 points, while John Faulkner sits second with 106 points and Peterson third with 101 points.
The series now heads north to Portland, Oregon, for Round Eight of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, joining the American Le Mans Series for the American Le Mans Series Portland Grand Prix on July 28-30. Round Six from Infineon raceway is scheduled to be broadcast on Speed Channel on August 7th at 2 PM Eastern Time while Round Seven will be aired one week later on August 14th at 1:00 PM Eastern Time.