Justice wins race, Carrio takes championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca October 21, 2006. Monterey, California. Jumping into the lead on the opening lap, Ryan Justice survived a caution filled race to take the victory in the season finale of...
Justice wins race, Carrio takes championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
October 21, 2006. Monterey, California. Jumping into the lead on the opening lap, Ryan Justice survived a caution filled race to take the victory in the season finale of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Joining Justice on the podium were Michael Potekhen, in second place, and Adrian Carrio, who captured the championship, in third place.
Justice, driving the #38 Northwest Autosport World Food Program Mazda, lined up second on the grid even though he damaged his left front suspension after making contact with the tire wall in turn six during the qualifying session and quickly climbed into the lead on the opening lap. "The Northwest Autosport crew did a great job getting the car back together in the short time between qualifying and the race and I was able to take the lead right away. It was disappointing that we only got five green flag laps as I think we could've put on a good show for the fans," a student at Loyola explained. "That said it still feels good to leave here with a victory as I'm in my final semester at school and when I'm in the library until four in the morning on a Saturday night as I try to catch up for the time I've been away at the racetrack it's always nice to look back at a victory."
Jumping from seventh to second on the opening lap, Potekhen, in the #53 Apex Racing Avenue Communities Mazda was happy to be back on the podium but disappointed that the cautions eliminated any fight for the victory. "Qualifying didn't go quite as I had hoped but I had an excellent start," the Tempe, Arizona resident said. "It was like the seas parted on the opening lap and I was able to drive around three cars ont he outside in turn two and got a run on Adrian heading into turn five and that was the race right there. It was a shame having to spend so much time following the pace car and I hope that the series can figure out how to return to the green flag racing in the future."
Newly crowned champion Adrian Carrio echoed their thoughts as he brought the #14 World Speed Motorsports Rockford Fosgate Mazda home in the final podium position after locking up the championship with his pole position effort in qualifying. "I was really hoping that we were able to stay green this weekend in what will be my last Star Mazda race as I look to move up to the Champ Car Atlantic Series next season," the seventeen-year old said. "Ryan was able to get the jump on me at the start as I was looking to protect my car and Michael got a run on in me in turn five but we never got a chance to really race each other. It feels good to take the championship and I have to thank my crew at World Speed Motorsports as they work as hard, if not harder, than we do as drivers. I also have to thank Rockford Fosgate and Barry Shames for sponsoring me this season as without their assistance I couldn't go racing."
Originally scheduled for twenty-eight laps the race would wind up being a timed event as the newly configured gravel traps around the 2.238-mile circuit and several racing incidents combined to make the race a forty-five minute timed event.
As the hard fought championship comes to a close, Carrio finishes his championship season with 433 points, while Kevin Lacroix in the #74 John Walko Racing Uni-Select Auto Parts Mazda goes into the books in second place with 394 points. In a wild chase between four drivers for third place in the championship, Justice, came up big in the race to lock down the spot with 366 points. Potekhen would claim fourth with 333 points and Ron White in the #69 Ross Smith Racing Mazda would complete the top five in the championship with 326 points.
In the Expert Championship, for drivers aged 30-44, Gerardo Bonilla, who would take a wild ride though the gravel in turn five this afternoon, locked up the championship in Round Eleven at Road Atlanta in the #9 Andersen Racing Team Skip Barber Mazda. Phil Fogg Jr. in the #29 Northwest Autosport Consonsus Health Services Mazda captured the class victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and finished fourth in the championship. The battle for second place came down to the wire with Brian Thienes, of Huntington Beach, California, taking the second spot in the class in #77 JDC Motorsports Thienes Engineering Mazda with 166 points while Dan Tomlin III, of Dallas, Texas, had to settle for third place with 153 points in the #56 Team Tomlin Mazda.
In the Masters Championship, for drivers aged 45 and older, the championship race was a two way battle between former class champions Doug Peterson in the #87 American Speed Factory 3-Dimensional Services Mazda with 160 points entering the event, and John Faulkner in the #93 Phenom Racing Group Molecule Mazda with 153 points. Peterson, from Bonita Springs, Florida, would put in a solid drive to take the class victory with a twelfth place finish overall and the championship ahead of Faulkner, who finished fifteenth overall today. Ken Losch, of Paradise Valley, Arizona, took third place in the class behind the wheel of the #52 Apex Racing Centerpoint Communities Mazda.
In the Team Championship the championship went to John Walko Racing with 241 points overall. World Speed Motorsports finished in second place with 227 points and Northwest Autosport made a late season charge to take the third spot in the championship with 187 points.
Round Twelve of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear is scheduled to air on Speed Channel at 3:00 PM Eastern Time on Sunday, October 29th. For more information please visit www.starmazda.com
-credit: star mazda