SpeedSource Mazdas Take Four Top-Tens in Two Races During SpeedSource's trip to Barber Motorsports Park in late July, the Mazda-backed Street Tuner class team took three top-ten finishes in the Grand-Am Cup race. Team owner Sylvain Tremblay had...
SpeedSource Mazdas Take Four Top-Tens in Two Races
During SpeedSource's trip to Barber Motorsports Park in late July, the Mazda-backed Street Tuner class team took three top-ten finishes in the Grand-Am Cup race. Team owner Sylvain Tremblay had hoped for a better finish at the Birmingham, Alabama track, but threatening thunderstorms caused race officials to shut down the race before the designated time limit.
The No. 70 Mazda RX-8, driven by David Haskell and Tremblay, started third and ran up front during the race but due to the car's fuel range, SpeedSource could not take advantage of the first early yellow. The No. 70 drivers held an excellent position on the competition for most of the race, but a green flag stop and a red flag later on, left the team in 5th place when the imminent storm brought out the checkered flag.
Scott Schlesinger and Ken Dobson moved up eleven positions to finish their No. 68 Mazda RX-8 in 7th place. Schlesinger and Dobson have shared a great season as co-drivers with this, their 4th top-ten finish. Other top-ten finishes for the pair include races at Daytona, Phoenix, and Lime Rock.
Ray and Rob Huffmaster of the No. 65 car took 9th place in their first Grand-Am Cup race at Barber Motorsports Park. The father-son duo took their first top-ten finish of the season at Laguna Seca and SpeedSource owner Tremblay was very pleased with their success this year.
"Ray and Rob had a great run at Barber. For running a shorter season in their first year of Grand-Am Cup competition, they have done very well," stated Tremblay.
After recovering from an early penalty, the No. 66 Mazda RX-8 of Marcelo Abello and Jep Thornton was able to move up five spots from their starting position. Abello and Thornton took 19th place in the ST class.
During the festivities at the Barber race, SpeedSource was visited by the Georgia Region RX-8 Club. Tremblay enjoyed having the group as part of the team for the weekend.
"It was great having them with us for the weekend especially at a track that really suits the nature of the RX-8," said Tremblay. "We appreciate the support of Mazda fans and enjoy showing them the cars up close."
Following the Barber race SpeedSource left for Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, and the split class street race, the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivieres. SpeedSource has maintained a strong history at the track, and looked forward to the race and its abundance of fans. However, an early red flag during the competition caused SpeedSource to alter their game plan.
"We have always been very strong at Trois-Rivieres and it is a track at which we have historically done well. Every practice session we improved and qualified well. We planned for a two hour race and set up our brake strategy accordingly. With the red flag we lost almost 39 minutes of the race. That definitely hurt us," stated Tremblay.
Unfortunately, the No. 68 SpeedSource Mazda was caught up in the red flag incident that hospitalized another driver.
"Scott was an innocent bystander to the accident early in the race. One car hit another, then ricocheted across the track, and connected with Scott pretty hard. Scott was OK after the incident but was mostly concerned with the status of the No. 76 driver who took a very hard hit. The No. 68 car was badly damaged but we are very fortunate that Scott did not get hurt," stated Tremblay.
Haskell qualified the No. 70 car in 4th place, putting the car in excellent position for the start. With the caution falling so early in the race, Haskell and Tremblay needed a later opportunity for their pit stop and driver change.
"We pitted when we felt the opportunity was right for our car and stuck to our pre race plan. We had a good pit stop and were the 3rd car in line behind the pace car that had pitted.
We were 5th or 6th at the time and after the restart we got a good-sized piece of debris caught on the grill, with the water temp climbing we had to pit under green again to remove it and spent roughly 12-13 seconds in the pits. We lost the race by a little under 11 seconds," stated Tremblay.
In efforts to regain ground after the green flag pit stop, the SpeedSource No. 70 car turned the fastest race lap. With less than anticipated green flag racing, the attempt to catch the leaders was not enough. Tremblay and Haskell took 6th place to finish the race.
Marcelo Abello and Jep Thornton, co-drivers of the SpeedSource No. 66 car took 16th place to finish out the race.
Mechanical problems throughout the weekend hampered the efforts of the No. 69 car. Jose Armengol was joined by Trois-Rivieres native Louis-Philippe Dumoulin. The No. 69 car took 21st place in the ST class race.
"We had high expectations, but unfortunately we had some mechanical gremlins that hurt us with the No. 69 car," added Tremblay.
SpeedSource now turns their focus to the final two races of the 2006 season. The team will head to Utah's Miller Motorsports Park for the next Grand-Am Cup race. This is the first appearance at the track for SpeedSource and Grand-Am Cup's inaugural race there.
"If the track is a handling track, we will do extremely well. The altitude of the track doesn't favor our cars as much, but we will have to see," Tremblay concluded.
SpeedSource will arrive at Miller Motorsports Park on Friday, September 1st. For information on SpeedSource's 2006 season visit SpeedSourceInc.com. For up-to-date race coverage visit TheRaceSite.com.
-credit: SpeedSource Race Engineering