O'Neill Keeps West Coast Win Streak Rolling at Mazda Grand Prix Guasch, House, and Kohls also take home trophies from Portland July 28, 2008. Portland, Oregon. The Star Mazda West Coast Championship rolled into Portland to join forces with the...
O'Neill Keeps West Coast Win Streak Rolling at Mazda Grand Prix
Guasch, House, and Kohls also take home trophies from Portland
July 28, 2008. Portland, Oregon. The Star Mazda West Coast Championship rolled into Portland to join forces with the national Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear for the Mazda Grand Prix of Portland and San Rafael resident Patrick O'Neill came away with his West Coast Championship win streak intact, recording victories in both rounds of the doubleheader weekend at Portland International Raceway.
Driving the black #64 O'Neill Construction Pro Formula Mazda that carried Dane Cameron to the Star Mazda Championship title in 2007, O'Neill would finish seventh overall on Saturday to claim the top West Coast Series spot ahead of Michael Guasch and Dave House and would back that up Sunday with a seventeenth place finish overall to lead Stan Kohls and House onto the podium.
"It was a lot of fun racing as part of the main series this weekend and to finish on top of the podium in both West Coast races," O'Neill commented. "My mechanics Brent and Jeff and my driver coach Tom helped me throughout the weekend so my thanks go out to all of them. I also have to congratulate Michael (Guasch) for getting the chance to climb onto the main series podium as the Master Class race winner. He entered the main series in the morning and ended the day with a bottle of champagne so that was pretty cool."
Guasch was equally thrilled to be able to partake in both podium ceremonies on Saturday, "Patrick drove a great race to finish seventh overall but I was right there waiting to pounce in case he made a mistake," Guasch explained. "Finishing eleventh overall in the main event was pretty exciting and I had entered the main championship just before qualifying on Saturday morning as I really wanted to have a chance to join the main podium. I had to battle with Gerry Kraut and Chuck Hulse and worked my way to the front of the class to take the win. Sharing the podium with some of the promising up-and-coming drivers was an awesome experience."
Sunday's competition was tight with the highest driver finishing seventeenth and the lowest finishing only eight spots lower in the twenty-fifth position. Under the pressure of close competition former West Coast Champion Stan Kohls would chase O'Neill to the finish while keeping an eye out for a determined Dave House.
"Without any full-course cautions the field in today's race spread out a bit and I was trying to drive consistent laps in case something happened to Patrick out ahead of me," Kohls, pilot of the #28 World Speed Motorsports Mazda, said. "He drove a solid race though and I couldn't end his win streak. I knew Dave was back there behind me hoping to catch me if I slipped up as well so I was careful to avoid doing anything that might cost me the position."
With eight of the thirteen rounds complete O'Neill has a stranglehold on the championship with a perfect 360 points. Guasch sits in second place with 299 points while Kohls holds onto third place with 262 points. Kevin Woods, who didn't participate in the event, sits in fourth with 176 points while House jumps from tenth to fifth with 156 points overall. Frank McCormick climbs from eighth to sixth with 154 points and Michael Gesser, who made his first Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear appearance this weekend, moves up one position into eighth place overall with 149 points.
The Star Mazda West Coast Championship competitors now look ahead to the return to Infineon Raceway on August 31-September 1 as part of the Molecule Formula Mazda Challenge weekend.