Hearn Motorsports Confidence High Entering Road America ELKHART LAKE, Wisc., August 17, 2004 -- Hearn Motorsports is feeling the confidence of racing at tracks that feel like home. And, coming off a career best finish of third at the most recent...
Hearn Motorsports Confidence High Entering Road America
ELKHART LAKE, Wisc., August 17, 2004 -- Hearn Motorsports is feeling the confidence of racing at tracks that feel like home. And, coming off a career best finish of third at the most recent round of Mosport International Raceway, the confidence within the team is at an all-time high. In a year of firsts, the Richie Hearn-owned Star Mazda North American Championship, two-car team is eager to turn a wheel on the familiar soil of Road America here in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. The 4.048-mile track is the longest course the No. 70 Showtime/ Samsung/ Skip Barber Racing School Mazda driven by Brazilian rookie standout Raphael Matos (Belo Horizonte) and second year driver Brian Thienes (Huntington Beach, Calif.) piloting the No. 77 Thienes Engineering Mazda will compete on all season. But the 12-turn track is the most familiar facility the team has competed on thus far in its rookie year. Road America is a favorite of the team including principal Richie Hearn who drove here several times in his CART career. The tree-lined facility is also popular with Matos who has raced at Road America a number of times and considers the Wisconsin track among his best chances to win. Thienes, who joined the team two races ago at Portland, also has experience at Road America giving the Las Vegas-based team its best opportunity for success.
The 45-minute open-wheel race will take the green flag at 3:05 pm (CDT) on Saturday, Aug. 21. The Road America 500 Star Mazda race can be seen on SPEED, at 2pm (EDT), September 19.
(about the No. 70): "I think that we'll start right where we left off at Mosport. Raphael knows Road America well and the faster tracks are his favorites. We had a tire blistering problem at Mosport that hurt us but that shouldn't happen this time. We are learning every time we go out. So, hopefully we'll be able to get the pole again and, this time, the win."
(about the No. 77): "Brian's confidence is a lot higher now that he finished Mosport in a strong spot. This is a place that he knows well, so I think he'll be able to go flat-out right out of the box. The big thing to overcome with the 77-car is to be in the fast group in qualifying. We've been right on the bubble with that. We've done several things to Brian's car that we learned from Raphael's that will make it much faster. So, if we can go out and practice well, that will put Brian into the fast group in qualifying and that will move him up a few more spots in qualifying and the race."
Raphael Matos: "I am confident, of course, because I have raced on this track five or six times already. I know this track better than Mosport. We're getting stronger every week and at Mosport we learned a lot. The car was very good there. So, I think we are going to be changing a little bit of the setup but I think we'll be very fast with the Mosport setup. This is one of my favorite tracks in the US. I am kind of curious to see how the car runs at Road America. The cars I have run here are a lot slower than the Mazda so I am curious at what the speed will be like."
For more on Hearn Motorsports and its 2004 Pro Formula Mazda Series' effort please visit www.richiehearn.com. To learn about Raphael Matos, visit his bilingual site at www.rafamatos.com. More on Brian Thienes can be found at www.thieneseng.com. For information on the Star Mazda Series, please visit www.starmazda.com.