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Watkins Glen: World Speed Motorsports race report

World Speed's Cumming Takes Expert Series Class Victory at Watkins Glen On what would be one of the most challenging weekends recently for World Speed Motorsports, Chris Cumming provided the silver lining by capturing the Expert Series class ...

World Speed's Cumming Takes Expert Series Class Victory at Watkins Glen

On what would be one of the most challenging weekends recently for World Speed Motorsports, Chris Cumming provided the silver lining by capturing the Expert Series class victory for the second time in 2008 and increasing his points lead in Round Three of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.

Running at Watkins Glen alongside the Grand Am series during the Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glen race weekend, Cumming would be the first World Speed Motorsports driver across the finish line, finishing eleventh overall in the #16 Enviro Medical Pro Formula Mazda. Teammates Taylor Hacquard and Eric Freiberg would finish eighteenth and twenty-first after incidents in the 20-lap race.

"This has been a tough weekend for the crew and I gave the guys some extra work earlier with an incident in practice so I'm happy to be up here on the podium as the expert class winner at the end of the weekend," Vancouver, British Columbia resident Cumming said. "I have to thank my mechanic Virgil, my Standing Start driver coach Mikel Miller and my race engineer John Olsen for all their hard work. This podium visit belongs to them."

All three World Speed drivers would suffer from practice incidents and unfortunately for Hacquard and Freiberg those troubles would continue into the race.

The weekend initially looked promising for Hacquard, who entered the weekend in sixth place overall in the championship, as he logged the sixth fastest time in the opening test session on Wednesday, but damage to his car during testing on Thursday cut into his practice time and he would line up in the sixteenth spot on the grid. After making a solid start, Taylor's luck would again go away as oil from Scott Rettich's car covered his visor and brought about a spin as the young Canadian struggled for visibility.

"Well the weekend wasn't the best which was a shame as we were initially quite quick in Wednesday's test sessions," reflected Hacquard. "It took me a bit of time just to get back into the swing of things after Thursday's crash; we had lost an afternoon's running so it was a bit of a combination of me and the car not quite being there in qualifying on Friday. The team did a great job to get me back on track though, the guys worked some long hours but it's a shame we didn't get more out of the session."

"I actually made a pretty decent start on Saturday and was challenging for the top-ten until I had my tear-off and visor problems. After that I was probably a bit guilty of over-driving and I was pretty frustrated at myself. Overall I have to look at taking some positives from the weekend. I only dropped a spot in the standings and I've learned how important it is to get focused again after a big crash." Homer Glen, Illinois resident Freiberg also suffered a practice session incident that took some time off the track and would line up in fourteenth spot for the race. Jumping up three spots as the lights went green, Freiberg was looking to climb into the top ten when series newcomer Natalia Kowalska turned into him and damaged his left front suspension.

"I had got a good run going at the start when Natalia made her move into me," Freiberg explained. "The hit damaged my suspension pretty good so I have to thank the World Speed crew for working as hard as they could to replace the bent suspension pieces and get me back out onto the track."

With his class victory Cumming climbs up to eleventh overall in the championship while Freiberg sits in tenth place overall and Hacquard drops one position to seventh place. The series now takes a seven week break until the Portland Grand Prix double race weekend at Portland International Raceway on July 25-27. Round Three from Watkins Glen can be seen on Speed Channel on June 21 at 11:00 AM Eastern Time.

-credit: wsm

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Series PWC
Drivers Mikel Miller , Eric Freiberg , Scott Rettich , Chris Cumming , Natalia Kowalska