Molecule Racing Driver Michael Guasch Scores Double Podium Effort at Autobahn Raceway; Guasch Expands Master Series Points Lead Following Double-Header Returning to the cockpit after electing to sit out the two oval track events on the Star...
Molecule Racing Driver Michael Guasch Scores Double Podium Effort at Autobahn Raceway; Guasch Expands Master Series Points Lead Following Double-Header
Returning to the cockpit after electing to sit out the two oval track events on the Star Mazda Calendar Michael Guasch, of Walnut Creek, California, scored two Master Class victories and expanded on his championship points lead as the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear visited Autobahn Raceway in Joliet, Illinois, for the inaugural Harrah's Grand Prix of Autobahn presented by Mazda doubleheader weekend.
"It's been exciting to get back on track and start racing once again now that the oval races are finished and it was awesome to be able to visit the podium once again for both rounds of the doubleheader," Guasch explained. "It was a tough month waiting for this race weekend to arrive and it feels great to be back."
Guasch entered the weekend atop the Masters Class points standings ahead of fellow JDC teammate Gerry Kraut and the pilot of the #91 Molecule Labs JDC Motorsports Mazda was hoping to build on his points lead. The prospects look bleak after the first qualifying session on Sunday as a wet track surface and several red flag periods in qualifying kept him from posting a fast time.
"I went out on sticker tires for that first session and was working on bringing them up to temp when the troubles started," Guasch explained. "I had set one timed lap but hadn't started pushing yet when the red flag came out the first time. We went out again to try for a lap but almost immediately another red brought our half of the qualifying session to an end."
Lining up twenty-first in the field Guasch knew he would have a challenge but was confident in his car and abilities. "Luck had caught us out in qualifying but we knew we had a good car and we were looking forward to the race. Right from the start I was able to pick up positions and kept moving forward through the field, by the end of the race I had scored a twelfth place finish overall, my best finish to date, and the class victory."
The Star Mazda Championship would wrap up the day with a second qualifying session for Sunday's finale and Guasch, determined to improve on the morning qualifying session, set a fast lap of 2:13.815 around the Autobahn full-circuit to earn the fifteenth spot on the grid.
While not faced with the prospect of having to drive through the field, Sunday's race, broadcast live on HDnet, was no less challenging for Guasch as he gained several spots on the opening laps and then held off a determined Rusty Mitchell en route to a thirteenth place finish overall and earn his second trip to the podium.
"I was able to get another great start and then fought hard to keep Mitchell behind me," Guasch commented. "Without any caution periods there wasn't any chance to relax as I battled for position but the car worked great and I was able to gain a couple of spots from where I started. Once again I have to thank my mechanic Rafael, my engineer Steve, and everyone at JDC Motorsports for giving me a great car and making this a memorable return to the championship."
With these two class victories Guasch now extends his points lead to 46 points over Kraut with four races remaining in the championship. The series now heads north into Canada for a two race swing starting with the Grand Prix du Trois-Rivieres on August 14-16 and wrapping up at Mosport International Raceway on August 27-29.