Fast Qualifying, Rocky Race For G&W Motorsports PORTLAND, Ore. (July 24, 2004) -- G&W Motorsports had a good start to the day at Portland International Raceway on Saturday. Drivers Brian Frisselle (Kihei, Hawaii) and Brad Coleman (Houston,...
Fast Qualifying, Rocky Race For G&W Motorsports
PORTLAND, Ore. (July 24, 2004) -- G&W Motorsports had a good start to the day at Portland International Raceway on Saturday. Drivers Brian Frisselle (Kihei, Hawaii) and Brad Coleman (Houston, Texas) both posted impressive lap times during Star Mazda Series qualifying, but they had some tough luck during the 45-minute race in the afternoon.
Frisselle started the day by turning a 1:10.836 lap around the 1.944-mile, 12-turn track to record the fifth-fastest time, only a half second off of the pole sitter. Coleman was not far behind his teammate, clocking a 1:11.047 lap during qualifying for the inside spot on the sixth row. However, Coleman's quickest time was disallowed due to the team cleaning the No. 33 Mazda's tires after qualifying. Race officials looked to the rookie's second-fastest time for his gridding position. But, it didn't result in much of a penalty as Coleman's new location on the grid was on outside of the sixth row.
"It just shows how consistent Brad was during qualifying," team manager Price Cobb said. "It was an error by the guys on the crew on how they tried to clean off the gravel accumulated on the tires after qualifying, but luckily it really wasn't much of a penalty for Brad. He just had to move over a little bit."
Unfortunately, Coleman's good luck ended in qualifying. When the green flag dropped, the field of 30 cars went diving into Portland's treacherous turn one, which claimed its first victims of the race immediately. Coleman's Podium-sponsored No. 33 Mazda was one of several cars involved in a harrowing accident that sent another competitor airborne over the head of Coleman and other racers.
Luckily, Coleman and the other drivers involved survived the accident without any serious injuries, but it did put an end to Coleman's race just as it was getting started.
"Brad had never even seen this track before this week," Cobb said. "Everyone who's raced here knows how hairy things can get in turn one, especially at the start of a race. It's too bad he fell victim to the that turn, because he was really turning some impressive and consistent times."
Frisselle's Ventura Travel Service No. 15 Mazda was running in the top five early in the race and seemed to be getting quicker with every lap. After clocking a 1:12.601 on lap 10, his quickest of the race, Frisselle became entangled with an impatient Ryan Justice, who felt he was being held up by the No. 15 Mazda and tried to make a pass on lap 11 that put an end to both drivers' day.
"It's a shame Brian went out like that, because he was running really well up in the top five," said Cobb. "I really believe he would have finished in the top three if he had made it through the entire race."
After four races in only five weeks, the Star Mazda Series will take a break next weekend before returning to action at Mosport International Raceway as part of the Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport, Aug. 6-8. More information on the Star Mazda Series is available at www.starmazda.com.
G&W Motorsports, based at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va., made its debut into open-wheel racing this season at Sebring International Raceway. After accumulating numerous wins and championships in sports car racing, the team looks to continue its success in the Star Mazda Series with its pair of entries. For additional information on G&W Motorsports, visit www.gandwmotorsports.com.