PALE RIDER -- LOUSIANA RACER ALEX ARDOIN 'PULLS AN EASTWOOD' AND, AFTER NOT DRIVING A RACE CAR FOR A YEAR, RETURNS FOR A ONE-OFF AND SCORES A REPEAT VICTORY IN STAR MAZDA GP3R AT TROIS-RIVIERES [IMAGE]GP3R / Trois Rivieres / Quebec (August...
PALE RIDER -- LOUSIANA RACER ALEX ARDOIN 'PULLS AN EASTWOOD' AND, AFTER NOT DRIVING A RACE CAR FOR A YEAR, RETURNS FOR A ONE-OFF AND SCORES A REPEAT VICTORY IN STAR MAZDA GP3R AT TROIS-RIVIERES
[IMAGE]GP3R / Trois Rivieres / Quebec (August 15, 2010) -- If Clint Eastwood were ever to star in a racing movie, this is the script he'd have picked. Louisiana racer Alex Ardoin did his very best 'Pale Rider' impression in repeating his 2009 Trois-Rivieres victory driving a one-off race for Team GDT in today's Round 10 of the 20th Anniversary Star Mazda Championship at the 41st annual GP3R. Following him across the finish line for his third podium of the season was Venezuelan racer Jorge Goncalvez in the #9 Team Apex / Wabash Capital Investments Mazda, followed by pole-sitter and championship leader Conor Daly in the #22 Juncos Racing / INDECK / The College Network / Merchant Services Ltd. Mazda.
Finishing first in the Expert Series (drivers 30-44) was Texan J.W. Roberts in the #65 Team GDT / General Data Tech Mazda; Roberts is the owner of Team GDT and the man responsible for Ardoin being in the team's spare car. The leading Master Series driver (45 and older) was Puerto Rican racer Carlos Conde in the #31 Team GDT / Pronto-GMT / Olympus Securities Mazda. Altogether a great weekend for Team GDT, winning the main race (the team's first-ever main-event victory), as well as both the Expert and Master Series events that comprise the race-within-a-race that are part of every Star Mazda Championship race.
"A week ago I had no idea I'd be here, much less winning the race, so this just goes to show how things can happen to you in life," says Ardoin, who, although a three-season veteran of Star Mazda competition and previous race winner, hasn't driven a race car in almost a year. "Paul Mata and the Team GDT crew gave me both a tremendous opportunity and a great car. I got a great start and was battling with Conor Daly and Anders Krohn at the start, but then there was a yellow flag that bunched up the field and I was able to move up a place on the re-start and then finally passed both Anders Krohn and Conor for the lead. He and I were pretty much nose-to-tail for the rest of the race and I feel it was a real accomplishment to win this race and give my career a shot in the arm right when it needs it most. J.W. Roberts and I have been friends and competitors since the tube-frame Formula Mazdas back in 2003, and I'm delighted to be part of this historic weekend for the team."
The high-profile hard-luck story of the weekend came in the form of the local hero, Quebec racer Mikael Grenier who finished 4th in this event last year, scored his first Star Mazda Championship win several weeks ago at New Jersey Motorsports Park and arrived at Trois-Rivieres with the hopes and expectations of Quebec race fans riding on his young shoulders. A malfunctioning fuel pump in qualifying left him starting from 7th on the grid, and he didn't make it halfway around the first lap before contact with another car knocked off the nose of his #17 Andersen Racing / Slow Cow / April Super Flow / NAPA Auto Parts / HS Telecom / Desharnais Mazda and he had to pit for repairs; Grenier was ultimately credited with a 10th-place finish.
All the various dramas, however, left the championship battle relatively unchanged since Ardoin was in as a one-off and thus not eligible for points. Conor Daly's 3rd-place finish left him leading the championship with seven poles, five wins and 409 points. Norwegian racer Anders 'The Viking' Krohn, who started alongside Daly on the front row in his #47 Andersen Racing / Norse Cutting & Abandonment / Trallfa / Colosseum Mazda, remains second in the championship with 351 points, one pole, five podiums and a top-5 finish in every race so far this season. Brazilian racer Caio Lara, who drove his #19 JDC Motorsports / MLD / ATW Mazda to is first-ever victory in Race 1 / Round 6 at New Jersey Motorsports Park, finished 6th today but remains third in the championship with one win, three podiums, a top-10 finish in every race this season and 320 points.
The aspect of the points situation that needs particular explanation is the situation of 2nd-place finisher Jorge Goncalvez; in looking at the points chart, the #1 appears by his name under the Trois-Rivieres event. Because Ardoin was entered as a one-off and not eligible for points, the full 44 points awarded to a race winner accrued to Goncalvez -- even though he finished 2nd -- because he is a full-time competitor in the series. That being the case, he moves up from 8th to 7th in the championship battle with 301 points.
-source: star mazda