New Track and Hometown Crowd Greets Hearn Motorsports at San Jose SAN JOSE, Calif., July 26, 2006 -- The San Jose (Calif.) Grand Prix is a homecoming for Hearn Motorsports. While the Richie Hearn-owned team is based in Las Vegas, both ...
New Track and Hometown Crowd Greets Hearn Motorsports at San Jose
SAN JOSE, Calif., July 26, 2006 -- The San Jose (Calif.) Grand Prix is a homecoming for Hearn Motorsports. While the Richie Hearn-owned team is based in Las Vegas, both drivers Ryan Phinny (Carmel Valley, Calif.) and Jules Duc (Los Gatos, Calif.) are from Northern California and will have major support on site from family and friends at this weekend's two-race Formula BMW USA Series. For Hearn, a native Southern Californian, it is a return to the Champ Car Series as his first year Formula BMW team will support the open wheel series on the streets of San Jose. Hearn competed in the Champ Car World Series from 1996 to 1999.
Due to its temporary nature, no teams have tested on the 1.448-mile, 11-turn street course which traverses the city streets and parking lots of the San Jose Convention Center. That puts the Hearn Motorsports team on equal footing with the longstanding Formula BMW USA Series teams for the first time this season. That same "advantage" for Hearn will carry over to the next venue at Denver as well. Hearn will cut his team back from the three-car effort it ran at the last two race weekends (the Canadian and United States Grands Prix), to the two Hearn started with this year. It is anticipated that the third car will make a return at an upcoming event.
The season has been one of learning and patience for the six-time Indianapolis 500-starter and his team which has spent the last two seasons in the Formula Star Mazda Championship. Phinny, driving the No. 16 Baja Cantina/Eagle Air Conditioning/Hearn Motorsports BMW has the top honors thus far for the team in 2006 having taken a top-five in the second of two races during the Canadian Grand Prix weekend in late June and a second row starting spot and sixth-place finish in race two at the United States Grand Prix (USGP). He is currently ranked 12th in the championship chase with two race weekends (four events) remaining after San Jose in his rookie season. Duc has also been making much progress in his second season of Formula BMW in the No. 12 Duc Housing Partners/Hearn Motorsports BMW. He is currently listed 24th in the driver standings and enjoyed his highest qualifying effort at Indianapolis' USGP in July taking the green flag from 11th on the grid.
"As a team we're excited about going to San Jose," said Hearn about the weekend. "No one [the Formula BMW teams] has been there before so everyone is on the same learning curve. Ryan has proven to be a quick learner of the tracks so we expect him to run well right out of the box. Jules has been improving on his qualifying, as was the case at Indianapolis. This being a home race for him he will have some extra motivation to do well in front of family and friends. We're looking forward to going to the street courses and racing with Champ Car. The atmosphere is a lot of fun."
Practice for the two events (Rounds Nine and Ten on the 14-race Formula BMW USA schedule) will be held on Friday, July 28 at 8 AM (PT). Qualifying for round nine will take place at 4:45 PM Friday. The first race will start at 1 PM, Saturday, July 29 while race two will take the green flag at 3:50 PM on Sunday.