Hacquard Ninth in Star Mazda Standings Vancouver, Canada (September 16, 2008) -- Canada's Taylor Hacquard climbed a spot to ninth overall in the Driver Standings of the 2008 Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear thanks to a pair ...
Hacquard Ninth in Star Mazda Standings
Vancouver, Canada (September 16, 2008) -- Canada's Taylor Hacquard climbed a spot to ninth overall in the Driver Standings of the 2008 Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear thanks to a pair of solid top-ten finishes at the New Jersey Motorsport Park, home to Rounds 9 and 10 of the series, Saturday 13th -- Sunday 14th September.
The 18-year-old Vancouver racer picked up his sixth and seventh top-ten finishes of his rookie open-wheel racing season courtesy of an eighth place finish on Saturday, Taylor recovering from a poor qualifying session to fight his way through the field, and a tenth place effort for those eligible for full series points on Sunday to cap a busy double-header weekend at the Millville-based race track.
New Jersey's 2.177-mile layout once again presented Taylor with the opportunity to learn a new circuit, as was the case with most of the field as the Star Mazda Championship debuted at the track. Qualifying for Round 9 brought challenges in the form of learning to deal with a dusty infield and run offs -- all part of the Canadian rookie's education process. In the end, in a shortened session, Taylor was left disappointed to qualify 14th in the #15 Wolfe Auto Group/World Speed Motorsports entry.
Saturday's first race once again saw Taylor make a trademark getaway. Taking less than half a lap to make up three slots, Hacquard found himself at the end of a train of cars fighting for eighth. The dying stages of the 32-lap race presented Taylor with an opportunity to prove his on-track mettle and he seized the moment. Battling Caio Lara for ninth, Hacquard caught the draft on the first straightaway and despite several questionable moves from his rival, Taylor held his own, passing him on the outside despite having two-wheels off the track.
Eighth at the checkered marked Taylor's best finish since taking fifth at Portland back in July. John Edwards won his third race with Joel Miller and Peter Dempsey joining him on the podium.
Round 10 on Sunday saw Hacquard qualify in the morning, shaving two seconds from his previous day's best lap time. Starting 12th, an eventful race saw Taylor skillfully avoiding a pair of 'spinner's ahead but in doing so he had to run off-track and collected debris in the side-pods restricting air flow. While he was able to pick up clean air his pace was compromised but the teenage rookie still steered his way to a second top-ten points finish from New Jersey. Ireland's Peter Dempsey won for the fourth time in five starts ahead of Alex Ardoin and John Edwards.
"Well now that the dust has settled on both races, to come away with another pair of top-ten finishes is an accomplishment,' stated Hacquard. "I'm happy to have rebounded from a disappointing weekend at Mosport and I'm pleased to gain a spot and take ninth in the standings. I was able to get back and focus and I'm continuing to improve which is the main thing ahead of a crack at the title next year!"
The penultimate round of the 2008 Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear, Round 11, will be held at Georgia's Road Atlanta circuit, Thursday 2nd -- Friday 3rd October -- www.roadatlanta.com