Hearn to put Spencer-Smith in cockpit at Laguna

Hearn to Give Another Young Driver a Shot at Laguna MONTEREY, Calif., October 10, 2005 -- Hearn Motorsports (Las Vegas, Nev.) is set to close its second season in the Star Mazda Series North American Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca...

Hearn to Give Another Young Driver a Shot at Laguna

MONTEREY, Calif., October 10, 2005 -- Hearn Motorsports (Las Vegas, Nev.) is set to close its second season in the Star Mazda Series North American Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend. The Las Vegas-based team, owned by IndyCar driver Richie Hearn (Henderson, Nev.), will give the seat in its premier No. 70 entry to Ryan Spencer-Smith. Spencer-Smith, of nearby Napa, Calif. is the sixth driver that Hearn has put behind the wheel of a Hearn Motorsports Star Mazda this season. In that time, the team has earned three podium finishes including its first career victory at Mosport International Raceway with Jay Howard (England) in September.

Spencer-Smith has had a breakout year in motorsports this season. The Star Mazda Series will be his second formula car premiere of 2005 having debuted in the Champ Car Toyota Atlantic Championship in San Jose earlier this year. He finished 12th on the street course. The 19 year-old driver has earned four SCCA National victories, including three at Infineon Raceway driving in a Formula Mazda and one at Daytona International Speedway in an SCCA Atlantic's entry, thus far this year. Spencer-Smith is in his fourth year of motorsports having competed in karts since 2002. He made his auto racing debut in a Jim Russell Mazda in 2003. The eight-race 2005 season is his first full year of competing in cars.

Hearn Motorsports, which has shown well at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, promises to show speed again this weekend in the season-finale. Hearn, who recently announced a team expansion into both the Champ Car Atlantic Championship and the Formula BMW USA Series for 2006, also brings third-year driver Brian Thienes (Huntington Beach, Calif.) in the No. 77 Thienes Engineering/ Hearn Motorsports Star Mazda to the Monterey Peninsula this weekend. Demonstrating the team's strength, Thienes, who joined Hearn Motorsports last year, is currently in the thick of the Expert Series Championship in third-place, just two points out of second, after eleven of twelve races. The Expert Series is for Star Mazda drivers ages 30-44 and runs for overall and 'class' points in each Star Mazda race.

The first official practice for the Saturday's 45-minute race will be Friday, October 14 at 8 AM (PT). A 45-minute qualifying session will take the green at 8 AM, Saturday. The race will start at 1:10 PM, Saturday. The SPEED television broadcast can be seen November 19 at 1 PM (ET). The Mosport victory will be aired on SPEED, October 23rd at 1 PM (ET).

Richie Hearn, owner: "It wasn't my plan to run six young drivers this year but it has worked out pretty well for us. It has been good for our team to develop young guys and try and get the most out of them. We have had the chance to have some really talented guys in the No. 70 and I think Ryan could be the best of them all. He's young but has been really fast in everything he has run. We have a lot in the works for next year but right now I am just looking forward to running Ryan and Brian at Laguna and ending the year on a high note."

For more on Hearn Motorsports and its 2005 Pro Formula Mazda Series' effort please visit www.RichieHearn.com. More on Brian Thienes can be found at www.ThienesEngineering.com.

-hms-

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Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Richie Hearn , Jay Howard , Ryan Spencer-Smith , Brian Thienes