Hearn Motorsports Sees High and Lows of Pro Racing LAKEVILLE, Conn., July 3, 2004 -- Hearn Motorsports came to Lime Rock Park with a top-five in their Pro Formula Mazda Series' debut at Mid-Ohio a week ago and higher aspirations for today's race.
Hearn Motorsports Sees High and Lows of Pro Racing
LAKEVILLE, Conn., July 3, 2004 -- Hearn Motorsports came to Lime Rock Park with a top-five in their Pro Formula Mazda Series' debut at Mid-Ohio a week ago and higher aspirations for today's race. Car owner and IndyCar racing standout Richie Hearn felt confident for his rookie team and driver, Raphael Matos of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, at today's second outing. The Las Vegas-based race team flying Showtime, Samsung and Skip Barber Racing School colors on car No. 70, got off to an exciting start. Matos grabbed fourth-place in qualifications with a time of 47.873 seconds around the tight 1.54-mile road course in a nip-and-tuck battle to place the grid for the top open-wheel series of the New England Grand Prix weekend. However, the joys of the successful qualifying run would end soon after the start for the 45-minute race.
Matos would finish 23rd after a shunt with the tire barrier coming onto the main-straight-away of the seven-turn facility. The likable Brazilian, who was the 2003 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Champion, was attempting a pass coming off the quick-downhill section when he clipped the curbing and spun hard into the wall lining the track. Matos was sore but unhurt in the incident. The Mazda-powered car is repairable and will return to the track on the July 17 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.
The race broadcast, including footage from the Showtime/Samsung/ Skip Barber on-board camera, can be seen on SPEED, July 11, at noon eastern time.
Richie Hearn, team owner/manager: "This is part of racing. We qualified strong and wanted to run the whole distance, obviously, to see where we'd finish. But I can't be too hard on Raphael because I've done it too. The tub looks pretty good so it is mostly cosmetic, just a lot of it. We need to get home, take it apart, put it back together and let him go after it again. This is racing."
Raphael Matos, driver: "We had a very good qualifying run. I was looking forward to the race. In the first part of the race I was looking to go forward. It took several laps to get tire pressures up but after that the car was working pretty good. We had a yellow flag because we had a lot of oil on the track. Once we had the green flag I tried to get a position but I was unable too. So I was just trying to catch those guys that were in front of me. I was trying to make a pass but, unfortunately, on the last bend turn, I hit the inside curb and the car just spun and I hit the tire wall. I'm OK and ready to go to Sears Point and I'm looking forward to the rest of the championship."
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. For information on the Star Mazda Series, please visit www.starmazda.com.