Series Millville rounds 4, 5 preview

STAR MAZDA TURNS UP THE CHAMPIONSHIP HEAT WITH A DOUBLE-HEADER, 29 CARS AND LIVE TV IN THIS WEEKEND'S MAZDA FORMULA X EVENT AT NEW JERSEY MOTORSPORTS PARK Fast Facts -- Rounds 4 and 5 of the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear in...

STAR MAZDA TURNS UP THE CHAMPIONSHIP HEAT WITH A DOUBLE-HEADER, 29 CARS AND LIVE TV IN THIS WEEKEND'S MAZDA FORMULA X EVENT AT NEW JERSEY MOTORSPORTS PARK

Fast Facts -- Rounds 4 and 5 of the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear in the Mazda Formula X at New Jersey Motorsports Park, June 12 -- 14

* Mazda Formula X returns to New Jersey Motorsports Park, with the Mazda ladder series highlighting the weekend's racing activities on Thunderbolt Raceway, including Star Mazda, Atlantic, Skip Barber, MX-5 and IMSA Lites; also featured, Time Attack and Drifting exhibitions, tuner car and audio show.

* All the weekend's races will be broadcast live on HDnet. There will be a live three hour broadcast each day from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm EDT. The broadcast team will be led by veteran commentator Rick Benjamin and legendary race-driver Elliott Forbes Robinson.

* The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear is the college baseball of Indy-style auto racing, a high-speed training ground for future stars of the sport. Graduates of the series include Indy-car stars Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal and Raphael Matos, as well as hot NASCAR newcomer Michael McDowell. The prize fund is $1.5 million.

* It's a double-header weekend for the Star Mazda Championship with races on both Saturday and Sunday. Last year's Saturday winner, American John Edwards, went on to win the championship and is racing in the Atlantic Championship powered by Mazda at NJMP this weekend with sponsorship from the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder.J * Hot drivers to watch include current points leader Adam Christodoulou who has won two of the three races so far this year; Conor Daly, son of F1/Indy Car/Sports Car legend Derek Daly; Peter 'The Irish Steamroller' Dempsey who won on Sunday here last year and is back to try again; and the unique brother/sister team of Kristy and J.C. Kester.

* The Star Mazda Championship features a race-within-a-race for Expert (ages 30 -44) and Master (45 and older) Series drivers; company presidents and entrepreneurs in high-speed, wheel-to-wheel battles with top young drivers from around the world. Chris Cumming of Vancouver, B.C. is leads the Experts while California Mike Guasch is the top-scoring Master.

New Jersey Motorsports Park (June 8, 2009) -- The tight battle for the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear heats up this weekend with a double-header during the Mazda Formula X event at Miller Motorsports Park. Leading the pack, with two wins in the first three races and a total of 119 points is English racer Adam Christodoulou. The 2008 U.K. Formula Renault champion won from the season-opener at Sebring and scored from the pole in Round 3 at Miller Motorsports Park; he has topped the time sheets in most pre-race testing sessions, including the most recent series test on the Iowa Speedway Oval. He drives the #11 JDC Motorsports / Molecule Mazda.

In hot pursuit is Peter 'The Irish Steamroller' Dempsey (left), who won Round 2 at Virginia International Raceway with a last-lap Hail Mary pass that had the fans on their fee. Dempsey, a second-year competitor in the Star Mazda Championship, earned his nickname with four wins during the 2008 season, including the Sunday race at New Jersey Motorsports Park.JHe has 114 points in the 2009 championship and is a true by-your-bootstraps story, raising money one event at a time to fund his ride in the #3 AIM Autosport / Motorsport Ireland / Queyside.ie Mazda.

And bump-drafting Dempsey in the championship points with 106 is American Joel Miller, driver of the #2 JDC Motorsports / Fader Higher Productions / eSoles / Doug Mockett & Co. Mazda. Miller was the 2007 Skip Barber champion and won his 2008 Star Mazda drive courtesy of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder. As his car number indicates, he finished second in the championship and is funding his effort this year by selling off 2-inch sponsorship squares on his car. He has scored two podium finishes so far, and in this event last year won the pole and finished on the podium.

Other hotshoes with previous experience at this event include Alex Ardoin, a third-year driver currently running fourth in the championship with 98 points and a podium finish in Round 2 at VIR; in the 2008 NJMP event he had a disastrous first race, finishing 20th, but rebounded to finish 2nd in Round 2 on Sunday. Californian Billy Goshen returns this year at the wheel of the #82 Goshen Motorsports / Baker Commodities / GPSTrackit / OTTO Mazda after finishing 10th and 6th in 2008; Taylor Hacquard, a second-year driver from Vancouver B.C. finished 8th and 10th in 2008, changed teams between seasons and now drives the #15 Kester Racing Team 3G / Wolfe Auto Group / Texas World Speedway Mazda.

Also returning for a second go at the highly-rated New Jersey Motorsports Park Thunderbolt road course is Brazilian racer Caio Lara at the wheel of the #19 JDC Motorsports / MLD / ATW/ Molecule Mazda and the unique brother/sister team of J.C. and Kristy Kester. J.C. finished 7th and 8th last year driving the #24 Kester Racing Team 3G / Texas World Speedway / Motul Oil Mazda while his sister scored a pair of 11th-place finishes in the #48 Kester Racing Team 3G / Texas World Speedway / Motul Oil Mazda.

There will also be some highly competitive racing in the Star Mazda Championship's unique race-within-a-race format for Expert (drivers aged 30 -- 44) and Master (drivers 45 and older) Series. Vancouver B.C.'s Chris Cumming, the reigning 2008 Star Mazda Expert Series champion, is currently leading the 2009 Expert battle with one class win and two class podiums in the #16 Kester Racing Team 3G / Texas World Speedway / Motul Oil Mazda; at NJMP last year he finished on the class podium on Saturday and won his class on Sunday. In the Master Series, the current leader is California Mike Guasch (right) with two class wins and one class podium driving the #91 JDC Motorsports / Molecule Mazda. He finished on the podium in both races here last year.

Star Mazda Championship on-track action begins with a 'promoter test day' on Thursday, June 11; there will be three sessions -- 9:40 -10:20 am, 1:35 -- 2:20 pm and 5:00 -- 5:40 pm. Official practice begins on Friday, June 12 with a session at 8:00 -- 8:45 am and another at 1:00 -- 1:45 am. Qualifying for Saturday's Race 1 takes place 5:30 pm -- 6:15 pm. The standing start for Race 1 on Saturday, June 13 will get the green light at 2:00 pm. Qualifying for Race 2 takes place Sunday morning 9:20 -- 10:00 am, followed by the race at 2:00 pm.

This weekend will mark the second annual Mazda Formula X weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park, with five different Mazda ladder series highlighting the weekend's racing activities on Thunderbolt Raceway, including the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, the Atlantic Championship powered by Mazda, the Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda, the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup and the Mazda-powered IMSA Lights, as well as Time Attack, drifting exhibitions and a tuner car and audio show.

-credit: mazda

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Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Graham Rahal , Michael McDowell , Skip Barber , Marco Andretti , Derek Daly , Mike Guasch , Doug Mockett , John Edwards , Chris Cumming , Billy Goshen , Caio Lara , Joel Miller , Kristy Kester , Adam Christodoulou