F-MAZDA: WS: Phoenix season finale summary

Mike Hill Captures Winter Series Crown at Phoenix International Raceway John Walko Racing driver Mike Hill kicked off the new year on a positive note, sweeping Round Five and Six of the 2007-2008 Star Mazda Winter Series presented by Standing ...

Mike Hill Captures Winter Series Crown at Phoenix International Raceway

John Walko Racing driver Mike Hill kicked off the new year on a positive note, sweeping Round Five and Six of the 2007-2008 Star Mazda Winter Series presented by Standing Start at Phoenix International Raceway to claim the inaugural championship. Billy Goshen wrapped up second place in the championship with Taylor Hacquard finishing third.

"The Winter Series was a great opportunity to develop race craft and to test in a competitive medium. Even thought there was not as much competition as there will be this year in the 2008 Star Mazda Series it still provided a competitive environment and demanded my absolute focus," Hill explained. "I have already competed in six races with my team; I understand how they operate and how they expect me to operate and communicate so we are now on the same page as we head to Sebring. It feels great to head into the 2008 season with this much momentum from my success on the track and with my team."

Hill's team owner John Walko was equally enthusiastic about the results, "The Star Mazda Winter Series was absolutely wonderful. The series was an excellent way to prepare for the 2008 season and good way to keep busy during a slow time of the year. The experience of competing in the car is far superior to that of a private testing program which would run about the same cost. All teams entered into the 2008 Championship should consider participating in the Winter Series next year; we are planning on it. Heading into the 2008 season with Mike, I feel confident that he will excel having gained valuable experience in a competitive environment; as always, we will see what happens at Sebring."

Hill has been racing for more than seven years beginning in quarter-midgets before progressing through the karting ranks and eventually in to formula cars. Hill achieved success early and often in karting including several wins and championships along with a fifth place finish at the Rotax Grand Nationals in 2005. In 2006 Hill advanced to Formula Fords, dominating the regional standings and setting track records in National SCCA events. The Gilroy, California based driver moved to Formula BMW in 2007 with Team KMA, finishing fifteenth in the final points standings. Joining John Walko Racing just prior to the start of the championship, Hill quickly made his mark by sweeping the opening weekend of the championship at Buttonwillow Raceway Park. He backed up those results with podium finishes in the both races at Firebird Raceway before closing out the season with the double victories at Phoenix International Raceway.

Hearn Motorsports driver Goshen claimed a victory in Round Four at Firebird Raceway and wrapped up the season with one pole position and podium finishes in five of the six events while World Speed Motorsports driver Hacquard drove to victory in Round Three of the championship and earned the pole position for every event he entered. "School obligations kept Taylor from participating in the final weekend of the championship but everyone at World Speed Motorsports is looking forward to working with him in the upcoming 2008 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear," World Speed Motorsports Star Series team manager John Olsen explained. "He's been fast at all the tracks and with the winter series now has some additional race experience as we make a run for the championship."

Star Mazda Championship veteran Chris Emanuel concluded the season in fourth place, recording third place finishes in the final two rounds of the season after missing rounds three and four, while World Speed Motorsports driver Dave House finished fifth overall, recording a third place finish in the season opener at Buttonwillow Raceway Park. Frank McCormick captured a second place finish in his only event of the season at Buttonwillow Raceway Park to finish sixth overall. In the Standard Formula Mazda class Sean Prewett claimed the crown with class victories in the first two rounds of the championship.

At the close of the 2007-2008 championship details have already been released for the 2008-2009 Star Mazda Winter Series with the championship set to get underway on November 9th at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California, followed by two double race weekends at Phoenix International Raceway in December of 2008 and January of 2009.

-credit: www.formulamazdachallenge.com

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About this article
Series Road racing
Drivers Billy Goshen , Taylor Hacquard , Dave House