An Aussie triumphs in Canada as Davison wins a thriller at Mosport Mosport, Canada / August 25, 2007 -- Australian racer James Davison took advantage of the confusion resulting from pit stops and tire changes caused by a brief early-race...
An Aussie triumphs in Canada as Davison wins a thriller at Mosport
Mosport, Canada / August 25, 2007 -- Australian racer James Davison took advantage of the confusion resulting from pit stops and tire changes caused by a brief early-race downpour to take his first victory in the Mosport round of the 2007 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. Vancouver native Lorenzo Mandarino finished second while series championship leader Dane Cameron filled out the podium.
"I started fifth but I got a good run into Turn One while it was still dry on the opening lap and stayed out several extra laps when it started raining while everyone else pitted," said the driver of the #7 Velocity Motorsports / Easternats Mazda. "I pitted in the lead but by crew did a great job changing tires and I only lost four places. There was only one full-course yellow and it was difficult to pass lapped traffic, but my car was good as the track dried out toward the end of the race and I just stayed out of trouble and brought it home."
Davison has crossed the finish line first in two previous races, Sebring and Road America, only to be stripped of his victories for 'driving infractions' by series officials. His 2007 record also includes two poles, two podiums and three top-5 finishes.
Mandarino who won at Round Four at Salt Lake City, but finished 19th, 15th and 13th in the last three races, finally got his luck turned around. He put the #15 Team G.FRO/Newway Forming Mazda third on the grid for the start, but profited from the confusion in the opening laps.
"With the rain and the pit stops and the full-course yellow, it was difficult to know who was running where and who I needed to pass," he said. "I just followed the orders my team was giving me over the radio and kept passing people until I got by Cameron. I had a good run at Davison in the last two laps but just couldn't quite get there. Given the luck I've been having lately, 2nd-place feels like a win."
Series championship leader Dane Cameron, driver of the #19 JDC Motorsports/ Finlay Motorsports Mazda, started the race from the pole, but gave up the lead to Jonathan Goring's #14 Andersen Racing/Skip Barber Racing Mazda at the start. He pitted for rain tires on the second lap and dropped back to 8th, eventually working his way up to 2nd in the closing laps before finally finishing 3rd, his fourth podium finish of the year. His race record also includes five poles, three wins and two top-5 finishes.
"I didn't get a great start and we probably waited too long to pit because it cost us a lot of track positions," said the 18 year-old native of Sonoma, California. "I was hoping for a little sprinkle and a full-course yellow, but we got a short downpour that stopped almost immediately and left us out on rain tires on a drying track for the rest of the race. I was on a full dry setup and it was fast but just chewed up the tires and I had to back off to make it to the finish. No racer is every happy with finishing third, but we accomplished the main mission of increasing our points lead and I'm hoping to be able to wrap up the championship in the next race at Road Atlanta in October."
Suffering the most in the race was Californian Ron White, who's back-to-back victories in Round 8 at Road America and Round 9 at Trois Rivieres had him looking like a late-season championship contender. But he crashed in practice and damaged his rear wing in the race, forcing him to pit for several laps for repairs. He ultimately finished 20th, six laps behind.
The 2007 Star Mazda Championship points battle still has Cameron in the lead with 381 points, followed by Davison with 319 and White with 313. Rounding out the top-5 are Cameron's JDC Motorsports teammate Nick Haye, driver of the #37 JDC/Quantum Sphere Mazda with 285 points and Jonathan Goring with 282 points.
The highest-finishing driver in the Expert class for racers between 30 and 44 years of age, was Texan Tony Rivera who finished an excellent 6th in his #52 Mundill Mazda. He also leads the Expert points battle with 112. The highest-finishing drivers in the 'Master' category for drivers over 45 were newcomer Chuck Hulse of Yorba Linda, California in his #68 Team G.FRO/Silicon Salvage Mazda (15th overall) and Steve Hickham of Corpus Christi, Texas, driver of the #17 Hickham Motorsports/HB Turbo Mazda. Hickham finished 18th overall and leads the Masters points battle with 160.
Mosport was the third of three back-to-back races for the Star Mazda Championship. Teams and drivers will have the entire month of September off to rest and re-build race cars before heading down the home stretch with the final two races of the season, Road Atlanta on October 4 -- 5 and the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Northern California October 19 -- 20.