The grand finale to the Star Mazda West Coast Championship was decided in an un-tame contest held at the Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca. Coming into the weekend, a mere fifteen points separated the points leader Moses Smith and Mike Anderson. Both...
The grand finale to the Star Mazda West Coast Championship was decided in an un-tame contest held at the Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca. Coming into the weekend, a mere fifteen points separated the points leader Moses Smith and Mike Anderson.
Both drivers are being sponsored by HASA Pool Products, so the HASA family was pleased that they were practically guaranteed the top two positions in the 2002 Championship. However, if they were looking for an easy finish in this twenty-four lapper, they did not get it.
Moses lost his right-front wing following contact shortly after the green flag. With Smith's front wing missing, his handling suffered greatly. Justin Pruskowski was eventually able to jump into the lead and open up a gap on the field. Rookie Michael McDowell worked his way around Smith and was starting to close the distance on Pruskowski when the final caution flag of the day fell for Masters Championship points leader Scott Kusy's damaged Troon Golf/R-Sport Mazda.
The wild two-lap shoot out that resulted was just the opportunity Smith needed and he finished second on the podium. Unfortunately, the restart was not so kind to Mike Anderson, as he ended his race on lap twenty-two due to hard contact with the wall.
Smith was awarded the victory when Pruskowski's car failed a post-race technical inspection. After race official, Suzi Shinji, completed the tallying, Moses Smith was crowned the Star Mazda West Coast Series Champion followed by Mike Anderson and Matt Kurdock. Kurdock also claimed "Rookie-of-the-Year" honors, while Larry Couture captured the Western Series Masters Championship.
With his remarkable win at Laguna, Moses will take the Star Mazda Series North American Championship points battle down to the season finale at Road Atlanta in October.
"We're in the thick of the North American Championship battle right now with Guy Cosmo and those extra four points for first place will definitely help," Smith said afterwards. " It's unfortunate that it happened this way and I feel bad for Justin Pruskowski because he drove a tremendous race. However, my sponsors, HASA Pool Products, held their shareholder meeting here this weekend and it feels good to give them a victory."
Moses Smith has had an exceptional 2002 season. In the eleven race series, he managed eight poles, seven wins, ten podiums and all top five finishes. Moses gives much of the credit for this impressive season tally to Ron Roland and his newly formed R-Sport Team. "Ron and the R-Sport Team are able to give me an aggressive car, right from the start. Ron really knows how to develop the maximum potential of our race cars."