Guy Cosmo grabs thrilling Sears Point victory. May 18, 2002 - Sonoma, CA. Coming out to California, New York native Guy Cosmo knew he'd have his work cut out for him if he hoped to win at the challenging Sears Point Raceway. Cosmo rose to the...
Guy Cosmo grabs thrilling Sears Point victory.
May 18, 2002 - Sonoma, CA. Coming out to California, New York native Guy Cosmo knew he'd have his work cut out for him if he hoped to win at the challenging Sears Point Raceway. Cosmo rose to the challenge and came to grips with the track and the rest of the field as he pulled out a tight victory over Sebring winner Scott Speed in Round Two of Star Mazda Series North American Championship.
"It's incredible," an excited Cosmo said afterwards. "The race was action packed and sometimes when you're in the car you can get nerve wracked but I was able to stay calm and was telling myself I could win this race. I could see that Scott (Speed) was having a bit of trouble coming out of the carousel and I was able to take advantage of his problems. This is my first win since about 2000 and am happy for myself, my sponsors KC Baggers and everybody at Racers Edge Motorsports"
Speed, the series points leader following his flag to flag victory at Sebring, led the field to the green flag for the second consecutive race with World Speed Motorsports driver Michael McDowell on the outside of row one after an impressive qualifying session in his first formula car start after moving up from the karting ranks. The front of the field was shuffled quickly as McDowell missed a shift, allowing Speed, Cosmo and Smith to get past as the field motored up to turn two. "I made a huge rookie mistake at the start as I missed a shift and fell back to fourth, I was hoping that we could catch up to the leaders later as they started battling," McDowell said afterwards.
McDowell's missed shift also caught out fourth place qualifier Tom Nastasi, who actually bumped McDowell and suffered damage to the nose of his #23 MACTank Mazda. "I felt helpless watching the inside line of cars move past," Nastasi said. "Fortunately I only damaged the fiberglass of the nose and not the wings so I wasn't forced to pit for a new nose. Instead I just got a little extra air-conditioning through the front of the car."
As the middle of the field was sorting itself out, Speed and Cosmo were able to get some room, first with Speed appearing to have the advantage and then Cosmo as he started to close on Speed. The question of who would be faster was delayed when the first full course caution flag flew as Tom Mabey and John Faulkner got tangled up in turn ten when Mabey's car swapped ends on him. "I was catching up to the car in front of me as we approached ten and I lifted when I thought I would hit him," Mabey explained. "When I checked up the car came around on me and as the dust cleared John was right there with nowhere to go."
Safety crews set to work clearing the track and when the race restarted on lap nine Cosmo was able to take advantage of a mechanical bobble on Speed's car that would cut the engine out for a fraction of a second and then catch again. The resultant loss of momentum was enough to open the door for Cosmo as the cars raced up into turn seven. Speed explained his troubles, "At the start of the race the car was perfect but around lap three I felt a mechanical gremlin that would slow the car. I figured out how to compensate with the throttle but it wasn't enough to hold off Cosmo."
While the battle for first was heated, the battle for third was even more intense as Moses Smith and McDowell raced side by side and traded places several times over the 18 lap event before McDowell was able to take the position on the final lap by nine-thousandths of a second. "That last lap was intense and I didn't think I had a shot at third but Moses went a little wide in turn eleven and I was able to stick my nose in there and we had a drag race to the checker. Moses gave me room to race and I'm excited to place on the podium in my first formula car race"
Smith, who entered the weekend as the West Coast Championship points leader complimented McDowell on his clean racing as they battled for the podium. "I was initially worried as I battled with McDowell, with him being a rookie, but he gave me plenty of room to race and he was just a bit stronger coming out of turn eleven. Once again Ron Roland and the R-Sport team put a setup on the HASA Pool Products Mazda that could run at the front of the field."
The final caution covered the field on lap thirteen as Brian Thienes also had a heavy impact with the turn ten tire wall, bunching up the field for a two lap shootout once the track was cleared. Thienes, participating in his first Star Mazda Series event, was uninjured and quickly out of his damaged machine.
In Masters Championship battle Doug Peterson, who is also the current point's leader in the Ferrari Challenge Championship, displayed his skill as he fought his way to a strong eighth place finish, directly behind Lightspeed Motorsports teammate Tom Nastasi. "Once again Mike Burress and Tom Semik at Lightspeed have given me an awesome car to race," Peterson said. "We were able to pick up a few spots today and I'm pleased with my top eight finish."
Reigning Masters Champion Scott Kusy put on an impressive display, gaining the most positions during the race over his qualifying position, as he was able to bring his JZ Racing Mazda up eleven spots to fourteenth overall after suffering several mechanical setbacks during the weekend.
Scott Speed, who picked up one bonus point for his pole qualifying effort, holds on to the North American Championship points lead over Guy Cosmo, while in the West Coast Championship Moses Smith extends his lead over Mike Anderson, who himself charged up eight positions in the race to finish fifth overall after having his on track time limited early in the weekend due to gearbox troubles.
The North American Championship now heads to the one mile oval at Pikes Peak Raceway as a support race for the Indy Racing League on June 14-16 while the West Coast Championship moves to Thunderhill Raceway Park for a Memorial Day Weekend doubleheader. Round Two of the Star Mazda Series North American Championship will be televised on SPEED Channel on June 15 at 8:30 PM Eastern Time.
For more information about the Star Mazda Series North American Championship please visit www.starmazda.com