The Star Mazda North American Championship moved to the 2.54 mile/12-turn circuit of Road Atlanta to hold Round Four of the Nine Race Series. This event was not originally on the schedule. However, after the cancellation of Washington DC, it was...
The Star Mazda North American Championship moved to the 2.54 mile/12-turn circuit of Road Atlanta to hold Round Four of the Nine Race Series. This event was not originally on the schedule. However, after the cancellation of Washington DC, it was added as the replacement race. When questioned about the rescheduled location Moses offered, "I was really disappointed when the DC race was cancelled; I won there last year, and was excited to go back. On the other hand, I won here at Road Atlanta last year, so it is a good replacement race."
The schedule of events would start on Thursday with an official test day. Unfortunately the time sheets would only show Moses as high as sixth quickest. "We may have been a little slower than we expected today, but the team has a handle on it. We basically started with last year's set up, which didn't work well with the hotter and more humid conditions. We will run better tomorrow." Moses' statement would hold true as Friday's test sessions would consistently place him in the top three.
Saturday proved to be a very busy day as it would host an early morning qualifying session followed by an early afternoon race. During the previous two days, teams had been working on the optimum "dry" setup. Although all intentions were good, the skies above opened up and let showers rain upon the whole track for the entire qualifying session.
"I have very limited time running in the rain, but the Team Tomlin crew has assured me that I have a great rain set up on the car, so I am excited to see how we do," Moses commented about the rain. During the qualifying session Moses sat on the Pole Position until the last lap of the session when he was moved to off-pole by only a fraction of a second.
Soon after the qualifying session, the sun came out and dried the tracks as though it had never even rained. This forced all the teams to revert back to the "dry" set up. "I really had fun out there, but I am glad that it is going to be dry for the race," Moses said in relief.
As the green flag dropped, Moses quickly tucked in behind pole setter Luis Schiavo. This would last only a short time, as Moses would gain the lead two laps later. Moses lead the pack for the first half of the race, until fourth place qualifier Michael McDowell would inherit the lead after Moses over shot turn 5. "I just drove too deep into 5, and Mike was able to get a good run on me," Moses said about the pass.
The action over the next fourteen laps was an epic sight to see, as the top three raced for the checkered flag.
Moses and McDowell exchanged the lead a countless number of times, all while Schiavo kept pressure on. Every lap, one of these top three drivers were attempting to pass for the lead, making it three wide at times through even the trickiest of corners. If they were not nose to tail, they were side by side.
As the first full course yellow came on lap 21 of the 24 lap race, there was no telling if the race would finish under yellow, or go back to green. On lap 23, the Green & White flags would be displayed sending the field on a one lap dash.
Despite a bold effort by McDowell and Schiavo, Moses was the first to cross the finish line as the checkered flag waved over head.
Moses summarized the race by saying, "This was probably the most competitive race I have ever driven. There was always pressure from behind, and we raced side by side through just about every corner at least once. There was plenty of racing room out there, and I really enjoyed running with Mike and Luis. Both of them are great drivers and fun to race with. I also want to thank Team Tomlin, HASA Pool Products, RLV, Mothers Car Polishes, and Justice Brothers. Without their support this season would not be possible."
The Star Mazda Series heads to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California July 24-27 for Round 5 of the championship. <pre> Catch the action on SPEED Channel: Nazareth July 13 4:30pm EST Laguna Seca July 19 8:00pm EST Road Atlanta Aug. 9 8:00pm EST
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