Jaskol happy with his debuts -- leading Rookies Points on both series Matt Jaskol has started championships in two categories in 2005, racing at the season opening events of the Star Mazda Series North American Championship and the ASA Speed...
Jaskol happy with his debuts -- leading Rookies Points on both series
Matt Jaskol has started championships in two categories in 2005, racing at the season opening events of the Star Mazda Series North American Championship and the ASA Speed Truck Championship. He now leads both Rookie Points Rankings, and is runner-up to series veteran's on both Championships.
On March 17, Jaskol competed in the first round of the Star Mazda Series at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway, during the 12 Hours of Sebring week. The 20 year-old karting and formula car ace showed he and the team gelled well and was consistently fast on his Hearn Motorsports # 70 car through the practice sessions before the race and earned the third starting spot with a lap of two minutes, 1.021 seconds lap set during practice, as the qualifying session was rained-out.
After a good start of the 20 lap race he was blocked early in the event and, once clear of the blocking car, began to close on the leader who had used that time to gain a substantial lead. While the gap was too great to overcome, Jaskol showed the No. 70 was up to the challenge by setting the fastest race lap, 2:00.786, six laps from the finish. Winner was series veteran Rafa Mattos and third placed was Graham Rahal.
Matt Jaskol: "The start was a little hairy. I think we were five-wide at one point in turn-one. We fell back to about fourth but went right away back into third. I was getting blocked pretty good and at this place it is so easy to get a gap. Matos got a pretty good lead and when I got around the second-place car, it was just Matos and I. We started inching-up on him and we even got the fastest lap but there just wasn't enough time left by then. It looks good for the future to get on the podium but a win would have looked better. Now maybe we can get a sponsor on the side of the car and chase Matos for the championship. I want to thank Hearn Motorsports for putting this together at the last minute and giving me the opportunity to race. It was a lot of fun."
Second debut of the year for Matt was of a very different sort, at the ASA Speed Trucks Event in Irwindale, CA, a half-mile speedway, on March 26th. He was invited by fellow Las Vegas local (and Speed Truck owner) Lee Keach to try in a few races this season, and Matt quickly asserted himself on track, qualifying the #03 United Nissan/Canyon State Oil Co./Moc Chemical Chevy S10 on the second row, in 4th place. b^0x001cThe oval itself isn't that hard to figure out, although I did have thoughts about being able to do it fast without any problems, and what would it be like to race the truck. In the end the truck is just another race car, but I think the racing is something else".
During the 75 lap race, Matt was able to advance a few positions, and was overjoyed with the experience: "It was amazing. I used to say that it was all left turns, what could be so hard, let me tell you. 34 trucks over 120mph, fender to fender, bumper to bumper for 75 laps. Oh, yes, and you have to make your tires last all those laps too. The biggest learning curve for me was the type of racing coming from open wheel cars and road courses. These fender cars weigh about twice as much as any open-wheel car I have ever driven, and are twice as soft. It took a completely different driving style. Making passes was also another learning item, you have to start setting up for passes 5 laps before you actually make the pass and then it may take another 5 to 10 laps to finish the pass. It's all about saving your tires until the last ten laps. And what makes the racing so much more exciting then what you would think oval racing in a fender car would be, is no matter where you are on the track - 1st or last - you are racing every lap!"", said the young driver, who finished an excellent second place in his debut.
Asked if he would repeat the experience, he gladly agreed: "There may be other races with this team, we need to see about that. I am really thankful for the opportunity United Nissan has given me, and would love to work with this whole team again. Overall I learned more in 2 nights of driving with them, then I could have ever asked for. I do not have backing for a complete program in either series right now, but I am hoping the results I have been getting will help me find the proper support."