Trois-Rivieres: Velocity Motorsports race notes

Velocity Motorsports takes to the streets of Trois-Rivieres Prospect Hill, N.C. - The Velocity Motorsports team crossed the Canadian border for the 2nd time in 2006 to compete in the Grand Prix de Trois- Rivieres in Quebec, Canada. This would...

Velocity Motorsports takes to the streets of Trois-Rivieres

Prospect Hill, N.C. - The Velocity Motorsports team crossed the Canadian border for the 2nd time in 2006 to compete in the Grand Prix de Trois- Rivieres in Quebec, Canada. This would be the 8th round of the Star-Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. The team would be represented by John Pew, North Palm Beach, FL driving the #15 car, Logan Gomez, Crown Point, IN driving the #23 car, and Jep Thornton, Orlando, FL driving the #60 car. This historic venue would be the first time for the team and drivers Pew and Gomez. Thornton has raced on the circuit before. With limited track time, the Velocity crew and drivers got down to business on the street of Trois-Rivieres.

Ken Erb, Team Principal Quotes:
"This was the team's first trip to Trios-Rivieres. The town, track and fans are as passionate about racing as any we have raced in front of. Being the feature race made it even more special. Logan was pretty quick out of the box. This is getting to be a pattern we could get used to but John seemed to be off his game a bit. After analyzing the data, Fred noticed that John's acceleration was not what it should be. After chasing several electrical and mechanical gremlins with John's car since his big crash at Montreal, we reached the conclusion that the motor was definitely DOP (down on power). I guess the motor internals didn't really like that sudden stop after the fifteen or so feet of altitude. An amazing one hour and forty seven minutes later, the new engine was in and running, a new Velocity motor swap record. Meanwhile Jep Thornton, who cut his teeth at the previous Star Mazda event during the Montreal Formula One race, enjoyed his prior Trios-Rivieres track experience by quickly adapting to the open wheel rotary rocket on the circuit."

"The second session was halted after a few laps because of a sudden rain storm. However, the six laps John would complete proved invaluable as we verified that the new motor was working well. John was able to knock almost a second and a half off his prior session time to place him closer to the front of the grid, where we are used to seeing him."

"During qualifying, Logan really stepped up to secure the third position just five one hundredths' of a second out of second place and just slightly more than a tenth of a second off the pole position. This was our best qualifying effort to date. John continued his work towards the front, dropping another two and a half seconds off his fastest practice time for an impressive 1:03.6. He unfortunately joined four other drivers missing the checkered flag which resulted in loosing two spots on the grid. Jep ran lap times consistent with his practice sessions and started the race in 29th place."

"I was as excited and optimistic as I have ever been because Logan was really coming on strong and we finally got rid of all the problems with John's car. I hope that we never have a crash like the one we did in Montreal again. But if we do, we will make more wholesale changes to the systems of the car. I know that Logan and pole sitter Ryan Justice talked before the race and Logan's plan was to stay behind Ryan and follow him through the first few turns until everybody settled in. Unfortunately for Logan, Ryan didn't get the best start and several cars were able to get around the two of them leaving Logan in 6th place early on. Logan settled in and ran some pretty quick laps and eventually was collected by the spinning car of Mark Wilkins. After a quick nose change in the pits, Logan was able to fight back to 16th place. While we were disappointed to finish so far back after a tremendous qualifying effort, the race results later revealed that Logan had set the fastest lap of the race which is now the track record for Trios-Rivieres. We would suffer more disappointment as Jep would be run over by a car that lost its rear wing. John Pew, who was running as high as 9th place at one point, was involved in a crash that would prematurely end his race as well."

Logan Gomez, Driver car #23 Quotes:
"Driving at Trois-Rivieres was a lot of fun. Throughout the Star Mazda season, I have gotten the chance to compete at many tracks that have a vast history and this is another track that I can proudly add to the list."

"After two practice sessions which were used, in my case, to learn the track for the first time, I became comfortable with the track. Leading up to the session the team and I had talked and planned out the session step by step. Having the likes of Price Cobb and Oswaldo Negri offering their experience, which they had gained by driving the track in the past, was a very big help. The team did a great job of finding me space on the track and enabled me to string together a few very good laps. This had me sitting a respectable 3rd place at the end of the session."

"The fans at Trois-Rivieres were great. They were all very enthusiastic and we obviously enjoyed the great weather and a good weekend of racing. The start of the race at turn 1 has been proven to be the dangerous corner at any track that Star-Mazda races at. Since there is only one good line through turn one, my plan was to stay in behind the pole setter, Ryan Justice, and try to block out 2nd place. This plan did not work out as the pole setter decided to brake 100ft early into the corner even though we weren't going as fast as normal because of the rolling start. This enabled 4 drivers from the outside row to simply drive around us like we weren't even there. Going from 3rd to 6th was not my idea of a good start but it was still better than being in an accident. Throughout the race there were numerous wrecks which at most tracks would cause a red flag but not in Canada. Racing through double yellow flags and blind corners and heading through the arch turn after 26 laps, I saw a car stopped in the wall on line. The driver in front of me spun resulting in my planting my nose into his transmission. With no nose and bent steering, I hustled the car back to the pits to get a new nose and continued the race. After the race I was very disappointed but surprised that I ended up having the quickest lap of the race. I have yet to confirm whether it was with or without the bent steering linkage."

John Pew, Driver car #15 Quotes:
"Trois-Rivieres is one of Star Mazda's best venues of the year. It's a fun track and the fans are unbelievable. The race started well for me as I got around some cars and a crash on the first lap. It continued to go well for 23 laps. Unfortunately, I was hit in the rear and taken out in 9th place on the 23rd lap going into turn three by another driver. I was having a great race with Doug Peterson and was waiting for a good opportunity to pass him when I was hit."

"I feel bad for my mechanic, Steve Levinsohn, and the Velocity team who gave me a fantastic car and worked very hard to change my engine in record time before the last practice session less than two hours. Steve and the Velocity team did a great job. The car was handling great. I'm confident we'll have a good car for Road America and I am looking forward to it."

Jep Thornton, Driver car #60 Quotes:
"I had a blast at the Trois-Rivieres race weekend. The town really knows how to entertain us racers."

"The race started well for the #60 car. I was able to move up several positions in the first few laps. One of the cars that was involved in an incident on the track lost his rear wing and ended up in front of me during the next caution. In the restart, I knew that I needed to get by him as he was struggling with the lack of down force. I moved to pass him in turn 5 but, in the brake zone which is the highest speed brake zone of the track, his lack of down force caused him to slide into my left rear, causing me, in turn, to hit the wall on my left ending my day."

"The team at Velocity was awesome as always and the car was the best it's ever been. I want to thank everyone on the team including the other drivers, John Pew and Logan Gomez as well as Mark Patterson for allowing me to race his car during the two Canadian races. A special thanks to Ken Erb... Ken, your team rocks."

The team while not posting a top finishing spot due to track altercations came away from the event in high spirits. Logan Gomez would set the fastest lap of the race at a 1:02.523, averaging 86.368 mph. Gomez is currently in 8th place in the overall drivers points championship and 5th place in the rookie of the year championship. Pew sits in 16th place in the overall drivers championship and is in 4th place in the masters series championship. The Velocity Motorsports team is in 8th place in the team championship.

-credit: www.velocitymotorsports.com

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About this article
Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Price Cobb , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Jep Thornton , Mark Wilkins , Ryan Justice , John Pew , Mark Patterson , Logan Gomez , Doug Peterson