Mitchell Takes Eighth at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Monterey, CA) 25 May 2010--Rusty Mitchell returned to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca looking for a strong run on the iconic Monterey track last weekend, and emerged from round three with another ...
Mitchell Takes Eighth at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
(Monterey, CA) 25 May 2010--Rusty Mitchell returned to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca looking for a strong run on the iconic Monterey track last weekend, and emerged from round three with another top-ten finish as he scored eighth at the finish line with the Motorola Mazda campaigned by Mitchell Motorsports.
The race weekend, which ran as part of the American LeMans Series presented by Patron event, drew nearly 20 identical Formula Mazda machines for the Sunday afternoon sprint race. Mitchell has experience on the climbing, diving, and cork-screw turns at 2.3-mile Mazda Raceway, and it showed as he notched the fifth fastest time in one of the pre-event test sessions.
As the weekend picked up the pace, the qualifying session set the grid, and the tone, for the rest of Mitchell's weekend. The session saw the field split in two based on the points standings, slotting Mitchell into the first group of runners. With the field utilizing the same motors and chassis, the Goodyear tires are key to speed and even though he posted the fastest time of his group, Mitchell ended up the session with tenth on the starting grid after the track gained grip for the second group of qualifiers.
Even though the fifth-row spot wasn't what Mitchell had been hoping for, optimism held for him to move up in the race.
"There was a red flag early in the session, so we only got a few laps in to set a time in qualifying," said Mitchell. "But I felt pretty good about the race because the car had been good most of the weekend."
As the lights went out for the standing start, Mitchell looked to move up while also defending from behind, and he was able to take advantage when others ran into trouble.
"The Apex cars hit each other, and I had to make sure I didn't get caught up in that--there were cars going off right in front of me," said Mitchell, who collected his second top-ten of the season and sits ninth in the points ahead of round four. "I got a good jump on the restart but got blocked going into one so couldn't do anything. I was hoping to make a move on Chris (Miller), but it would have been too big of a risk I think that late in the race so I just kept it in one piece and made it to the finish. Now I'm really looking forward to ORP."
The weekend was the first of a two-race week, as the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear changes gears from the traditional road racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to the oval environs of O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis for round four. A positive recent test at the track has Mitchell ready to go this Saturday night for 125 laps of race action.