David Ostella produced his best run of the season Friday night as he raced to the podium in the first annual Pizza Ranch 100 at Iowa Speedway. Racing under the lights with the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, the seventeen-year-old...
David Ostella produced his best run of the season Friday night as he raced to the podium in the first annual Pizza Ranch 100 at Iowa Speedway. Racing under the lights with the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, the seventeen-year-old Canadian turned the longest day of the season into his best one yet.
"It was just awesome to get on the podium for the first time this year and for it to be from an oval seems crazy to me, something I didn't really expect," he said following a race from fifth on the grid to third. "The race was a little confusing at the beginning and it cost me a few positions, but I knew I had the car for a top finish and on restarts I just showed it. I moved back up, and once in third I didn't want to push it too hard and ruin a third-place finish so I kept it smart and just took us to the podium."
In a rare circumstance, the entire Star Mazda schedule was completed on Friday as after a pair of practice sessions the teams headed to single-car qualifying and 100 laps of the tri-oval under the lights, both situations that the teenager from Maple, Ontario, enjoyed.
"It was like running in daylight, but even better because everything was so clear, it was a great experience," he said of his first night race. "And single-car qualifying was a great experience as well. It was completed in reverse-order from practice times so I was in the middle. It was very intense because it's not like a road course session where there can be full seconds between first and tenth, on an oval it is tenths of a second that separate the drivers, so even the slightest mistake hurts you a lot."
Ostella emerged from the afternoon session in fifth, making it much easier to face the fact of having to race just hours later. "It was a little tiring having the schedule in a single day and knowing you had to race just five hours after qualifying, but I was excited coming from the session and I knew AIM Autosport had put together a great car," he recalled. "I had been fast right from the first lap of the weekend and it really provided an advantage. It certainly helped in getting P5 in qualifying, and you just never want to miss an opportunity to show you can run at the front with the leaders. I really had everything I needed this weekend."
The Iowa stop took the championship past its halfway point, and it continues July 25-26 as the featured event at the Autobahn Grand Prix in Joliet, Illinois. The drivers return to road-course racing at the doubleheader race weekend, and as always David will be racing with support from Global Precast Intercontinental, Alpinestars and RAW Integrated Ltd.