Road America: JDC Motorsports race notes

HIGHS AND LOWS OF RACING FOR JDC MOTORSPORTS' STAR MAZDA SQUAD AT ROAD AMERICA Hulse scores another Masters win while Otero cracks top-10 yet again, Miller suffers late-race mechanical failure MINNEAPOLIS, MN. (August 12, 2008) -- While the...

Hulse scores another Masters win while Otero cracks top-10 yet again, Miller suffers late-race mechanical failure

MINNEAPOLIS, MN. (August 12, 2008) -- While the recent race at Road America (August 9) did not garner the results hoped for by the JDC MotorSports squad, the team remains among those challenging for top honors in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear when they travel to Trois-Rivieres, Que., for Round Seven this coming weekend. JDC pilot Chuck Hulse extended his win streak at Road America to a pair of victories in the Masters Series, retaining the championship lead. Brazilian Ernesto Otero continued his run of strong results as well, taking the checkered flag in eighth in the Saturday race. Keeping with the trend, Gerry Kraut strengthened his position in the Masters fight, scoring yet another runner-up finish in the class. On the other end of the spectrum, it was a tough outing for championship contender Joel Miller as the rookie was classified a disappointing 19th at the end of the race due to a late-race radiator failure that took him out of the top-three.

Hulse entered Round Six at Road America having enjoyed a successful season to date, winning three races in the opening five rounds. Given these results, it was no surprise that the driver from Northern California utilized his tried and true strategy of steady improvement during each on-track session. While a wrench was thrown into the plans when mechanical problems arose in qualifying, both Hulse and the JDC MotorSports crew quickly re-grouped for the race. Rolling on-course in the 17th starting position behind the wheel of his No. 12 Silicon Salvage/Redline Oil/JDC MotorSports entry, Hulse made the most of the green flag laps in the caution filled race to advance up the charts. When the checkered flag waved, he had scored his second consecutive Masters Series win, in 11th place overall. Hulse will now try to continue his Masters Series win streak and extend his lead in the series championship fight in Canada, with the next round taking place on the streets of Trois-Rivieres in Quebec.

After a slow start to his rookie Star Mazda Championship season, Otero has emerged as a consistent front-runner in the highly competitive series. Having been among the top-10 in three of the four test and practice sessions at Road America, the Brazilian was hoping for a strong run in qualifying. Unfortunately, the combination of several issues resulted in less than desired results, placing Otero 14th on the grid for the 16-lap race. With a new powerplant behind him come race time, Otero once again showed the speed and consistency that has propelled him up the championship standings. Piloting the No. 18 Brazilian Green Beef/Redline Oil/JDC MotorSports entry, he improved six spots, earning his fourth consecutive top-10 result via an eighth place finish. Otero will now make his first trip to the often-treacherous street circuit in Quebec, seeking to build on his recent run of success. Ahead of the Round 10 race, the Brazilian is 10th in the standings with 148 points.

Given that Kraut, the team's co-owner, has plenty of miles at Road America and loves the fast flowing nature of the four-mile road course, it comes as no surprise that he enjoyed another successful weekend behind the wheel. Piloting the No. No. 55 Dougherty & Co./Dougherty Funding LLC/Redline Oil/JDC MotorSports car, the Minnesota driver steadily got quicker with each session leading up to qualifying. While Kraut went marginally slower in the 45-minute session to determine the starting grid, he captured the Masters Series pole position. One day later, he battled his teammate from start-to-finish for top honors in the class. When the checkered flag waved, he had earned his fourth Masters runner-up finish, crossing the stripe 12th overall. Kraut has finished among the top-three in all six races to date, winning Round Two, but he will unfortunately miss the upcoming race in Trois-Rivieres due to work commitments. The current runner-up in the Masters Series title fight is expected to return to action in Round Eight.

For Miller, the recent trip to Wisconsin proved to be a frustrating affair. The No. 20 MAZDASPEED/K&N Air Filters/Sparco/Redline Oil/JDC MotorSports driver started the event in typical fashion, showing good speed in pre-event testing, leading the second session. The MAZADASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder pilot continued to run near the top of the time charts in the two official practice sessions and positioned himself for another strong finish and potential win in qualifying, turning the fourth fastest time. While the talented young Californian got away cleanly from the standing start and looked strong in the opening stages of the Round Six race, luck was not be on his side. Running among the lead pack lap after lap, Miller's chances at yet another top-finish evaporated mere laps from the checkered, when a radiator broke, causing his engine to overheat. Ending his race in turn 5, the former race winner was classified 19th at the conclusion of the race.

"Last weekend was unfortunate, but now all we can do is score wins to get back in the championship," Miller said, looking ahead to the final six races of the season. "I am looking forward to the street course at Three Rivers as it will be my first time on one in a formula car. I have always done well in karting on temporary circuits so we will see how they compare."

Putting the disappointment of Road America behind him, Miller travels east for the next round of the 2008 campaign, taking to the historic Trois-Rivieres street circuit. Entering the single-race event, he lies third in the championship fight, a mere 11 points behind first place, with one win and four podium finishes already under his belt.

The JDC MotorSports Star Mazda Championship drivers and crew now travel north for a pair of back-to-back events in Canada. Round Seven takes place on the streets of Trois-Rivieres in Quebec, August 16-17, followed one week later (August 23-24) with Round Eight at Mosport International Raceway just outside of Toronto, Ont.

-credit: jdcm

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Chuck Hulse , Gerry Kraut