St. Pete: Rusty Mitchell preview

Rusty Mitchell Ready for St. Petersburg Assault (St.Petersburg, FL) 25 March 2010--The same way that golfers have their favorite clubs, football players have their favorite stadiums, and swimmers their favorite pools, racing drivers have their...

Rusty Mitchell Ready for St. Petersburg Assault

(St.Petersburg, FL) 25 March 2010--The same way that golfers have their favorite clubs, football players have their favorite stadiums, and swimmers their favorite pools, racing drivers have their favorite tracks.

And while this weekend's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg marks the debut appearance for Rusty Mitchell and the Star Mazda presented by Goodyear Championship on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary road circuit in Florida, it is already a leading contender in Mitchell's book of favorites.

The Texan, who stormed to a record-setting pole position and debut podium appearance the last time the series raced on a street circuit--the famed Trois Riveres course in Quebec--has never seen the track in St. Pete, but he's got a feeling that he's going to like it.

"I've watched some in-car footage from an Indy Lights car, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun this weekend," said Mitchell, who stayed in Florida following the Sebring race opener last weekend to prepare for this Sunday's race. "I'm not sure why it is, exactly, but I've just been able to excel on the street circuits so I'm really looking forward to the race. There are a few different surfaces that we are racing on every lap, but I think it's going to be a fun challenge."

The St. Petersburg weekend marks round two of the 13-race Star Mazda Championship season. The event will be the first time that race fans will have the chance to take in races from every rung of the "Road to Indy" ladder. Mitchell, who carries the Motorola colors on the No. 66 Formula Mazda machine, is looking to shake off a disappointing opening round event last weekend and thinks that this could be the perfect place to do just that.

"I'm happy we get to race right after Sebring because I was really frustrated with how that race went," said Mitchell. "We had a great car and even though there was just one yellow, we made up a lot of positions so you hate to think of what could have happened if we didn't get the penalty. So to get the chance to turn around and go race the very next weekend is great. I just want to get a good feel for the track and hopefully we can build some speed through the weekend."

The opening round of the 2010 Star Mazda presented by Goodyear season saw Mitchell pass more cars than any other racer in the field. Unfortunately, the charge through the pack wasn't one that put him at the top of the podium. Mitchell was forced to the rear when he was called in to the pits after officials deemed he had rolled a fraction of a second too early at the start of the race, which utilizes a standing start to kick off the 45-minute sprint events. The call was a disappointing one for the Midland, Texas, youngster, who was among the top five runners as the weekend testing opened up.

But knowing that a new track and constantly changing conditions could make for a wide-open race weekend, Mitchell is hoping that he'll have another reason to add the track to his favorites as he looks to score another Star Mazda podium this weekend.

-source: rusty michell racing

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Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Rusty Mitchell