Hearn Motorsports Debuts Two at Portland PORTLAND, Ore., August 3, 2005 -- Hearn Motorsports entered the fifth-round of the Star Mazda Series North American Championship presented by Goodyear at Portland International Raceway (PIR) with ...
Hearn Motorsports Debuts Two at Portland
PORTLAND, Ore., August 3, 2005 -- Hearn Motorsports entered the fifth-round of the Star Mazda Series North American Championship presented by Goodyear at Portland International Raceway (PIR) with three strong entries. However, the opening laps would take their toll on the Richie Hearn-owned team. After qualifying Jason Bowles (Ontario, Calif.) eighth and Brian Thienes (Huntington Beach, Calif.) in the top-20 on the grid, the second year team left Oregon with a 12th and 26th respectively. The third entry, the No. 65 of Rob Walker (Upland, Calif.), qualified 30th and moved-up to 29th at the end of the 45-minute race. Bowles and Walker were each making their debut with the Hearn team while Thienes was celebrating his first full year with the operation.
No. 70, Jason Bowles- Hearn Motorsports Mazda
Qualified: 8th (1:09.142), Finished: 12th
Bowles, who has extensive experience on the west coast karting scene, made an early jump from his top-ten qualifying spot. Still learning the No. 70, the Californian made an impressive move to the inside of the "Festival Curves", the daunting chicane that acts as turn-one on the 1.944-mile, 12-turn Portland road course. He moved into fourth-place before another competitor, missing the apex of the turn, ran across the corner and directly into the left-rear of the Star Mazda. Bowles showed amazing skill by continuing to drive the damaged car to a 12th-place finish on the same lap as the leader at the end of 28 circuits when the checkered flag fell. Chasing down a top-ten finish, Bowles crossed the start-finish line just over one second behind tenth. Once back in the paddock, the Hearn Motorsports team discovered the left-rear "toe" of the car was nearly an inch off where Hearn had set the car to run. The run showed not only the skill of Bowles but also the durability of the Star Mazda machine and the precision in which the Hearn crew builds their race cars.
Richie Hearn, owner: "Jason went from seventh to fourth on the start. It was really a great start. He kept a really calm head while a lot of the guys around him were crashing. That first set of turns is tough at Portland because of that and by the end of the first lap I don't think there was a car out there that wasn't touched. But, Jason made a clean run up three spots. He was spun entering Festival Curves by someone that came-up from behind him. Jason ran in there clean but that turn just breeds stuff like that. The left rear toe-in was off by about an inch for the rest of the race. It was so bad I probably would have parked it had he come in. But, he did a great job and was only a second off. He got through it and we would have most likely ended on the podium. I'm disappointed for him. He did a really good job getting used to the car and the track and showing how good he is."
No. 65, Rob Walker -- Hearn Motorsports Mazda
Qualified: 30th (1:11.398), Finished: 29th
Rob Walker made his first start with Hearn Motorsports at Portland. It was his first racing start in several years and the first time that Hearn has started three cars since the season-opening round at Sebring. Walker had a strong start moving up from his 30th qualifying position to 18th before tangling with another car. While he spun off course he was able to continue back to pit lane where it was determined that the damage was too significant to repair in the remaining laps of the 45-minute race. Walker will return to the No. 65 Hearn Motorsports entry in the next Star Mazda points race at Road America,
Richie Hearn, owner: "We're still getting to know Rob. He hadn't raced for awhile and no one had much time to prepare for this. But, he made a lot of progress over the weekend and moved-up in the race. He got as high as 18th before the accident. We're still not sure how all of that happened but it damaged the rear suspension, rear wing and the diffuser. We're looking forward to getting to Road America with Rob because, with one race under our belt, we should be quicker there."
No. 77, Brian Thienes -- Thienes Engineering/ Hearn Motorsports
Qualified: 19th (1:10.044), Finished: 26th
Brian Thienes had hoped for a stronger celebration for his first anniversary with Hearn Motorsports. With a string of strong qualifying and race runs in recent Star Mazda events, the Portland event looked promising. However, the engineer by trade would leave PIR disappointed in the overall weekend. The slick track proved a handful for all competitors this weekend. Despite that, Thienes was looking to have a strong race when he was involved in a first-lap incident when another car cut a rear Goodyear on the red and white machine. He limped the car slowly back to the attention of the Hearn crew and fell a lap to the leaders. He would soldier home to a 26th-place finish, one lap down at the end.
Richie Hearn, owner: "Brian got tangled-up with another car's mistake on the first lap. He got a flat tire from that and by the time he got back to the pits he was a lap down. That hurts when it happens on the first lap because it takes the wind out of you. I think he should be strong at Road America though. It is more like Sonoma where he ran so well."
The SPEED television broadcast can be seen on August 27th at 1 PM (EDT).
For more on Hearn Motorsports please visit www.RichieHearn.com. More on Brian Thienes can be found at www.ThienesEngineering.com. To learn more about Jason Bowles, visit www.JasonBowles.com.