Road America: Race report

Two weeks, two wins for Guy Cosmo. Elkhart Lake, WI. July 6, 2002. "Mr. Mid-Ohio" has decided to change his name to Mr. Midwest as Guy Cosmo powered through the Star Mazda field and jumped into the championship lead with his second consecutive...

Two weeks, two wins for Guy Cosmo.

Elkhart Lake, WI. July 6, 2002. "Mr. Mid-Ohio" has decided to change his name to Mr. Midwest as Guy Cosmo powered through the Star Mazda field and jumped into the championship lead with his second consecutive flag-to-flag victory in as many weeks, as the Star Mazda Series North American Championship tackled Road America for Round Five in their nine round championship. "These past two races have been perfect," an excited Cosmo said afterwards, and he credits his success to the camaraderie within his team. "These guys at Racers Edge Motorsports have been great. Communication is so important and with the respect that we have for each other we know what to expect from each other, and make each other better."

The partnership has paid off handsomely for Cosmo as he has won three of the last four events, and led every lap of the last two. "I didn't expect it to be this way as there are some tough competitors in this field, but we feel we know these tracks, and we're always looking for places to improve."

With a second place finish this weekend in his HASA Pool Products Mazda, Moses Smith chased away some of the demons associated with his difficult Mid-Ohio race. "It feels good to pick up another podium and some points after having my race finish in the gravel last weekend," Smith said. "Ron Roland and the R-Sport crew gave me a great car and I think we could've challenged Cosmo but he was able to get a little lead at the start."

Coming in third overall, Tim Jennings, who calls Road America his home track, has his eyes focused on the championship as well. "We've been running in races for the past six weeks and it feels good to wrap it up with a podium," Jennings said afterwards. "We had some electrical gremlins here a few weeks ago in the June Sprints but today the car was great. With half the season down we're still in the running and looking for consistent finishes on the run to the championship"

Leading the field to the green flag with his first pole position, after only four previous Star Mazda events, was Masters Championship competitor Joe Pruskowski in his Quantum Autosports Mazda. Adapting quickly to the Mazda after four years of club racing, Pruskowski was able to navigate the 4.048 mile track in 2:16.048 to claim the top spot for the start. "We still have a bit to learn but it has been a lot of fun so far," Pruskowski said of his stint in Star Mazda, "While not making the best start, falling back to about tenth, I learned a lot and was able to fight my way back up into fourth, battling with my son Justin in the closing laps of the race."

The championship points battle opened up early in the 15 lap event as points leader entering the event, Scott Speed, pulled off track on lap six with a gearbox failure, a symptom of an earlier failure in qualifying. "During qualifying something broke in the front end and I lost a wheel under braking into turn five and I forced the car into gear to slow the car," Speed explains, "afterwards the crew went to work and replaced a lot of stuff in the transaxle but something else failed during the race."

Also suffering trouble early in the race was John Olsen, in his DVS Shoe Company Team Bucknum Mazda. Olsen, who had qualified ninth overall, got caught out in turn three at the start as the field jostled for position on the opening lap. "People were fighting hard for position and as I came into the corner somebody made contact with the back of my car," Olsen commented. "I was trying to bring the car around to the pits, as the contact had knocked my tire off the bead, but as I came through the Carousel the tire started shredding and by the time I made the pits it had taken out my radiator and sidepod, ending my race early."

After the initial lap incidents that caught out Olsen and Team Bucknum teammate Steve Cook, and wounded the front of Doug Peterson's 3-Dimensional Services machine, the field settled down, with the only other incident coming just past the halfway point when Dan Weyland, under pressure from Lightspeed Motorsports driver Tom Nastasi, spun at the exit of Canada Corner and bounced off the tires, damaging both front and rear wings, forcing him to retire from the event.

While the field was spread out around Road America's expanse of asphalt that isn't to say that the event was without some tight battles. Local racer, Jamie Bach, coming off of a strong finish at Mid-Ohio in his first Star Mazda event, was in the thick of the fight for fourth with the Pruskowskis and was challenging Justin Pruskowski's fifth place position in the final lap before a bobble in turn eight forced him to settle for sixth. Not far behind the battle for tenth place had been raging between two JZ Racing teammates, John Mefford and Scott Kusy, and Midwest native Bob Kaminsky, with Mefford gaining the upper hand at the end, while Kusy and Kaminsky were separated by only two-tenths at the finish line.

With Round Five of the championship in the books, the Star Mazda Series North American Championship takes a weekend off before heading to Washington D.C. for the inaugural race around RFK Stadium. Cosmo moves into the championship lead with an even 200 points to Speed's 178, while Smith holds on to the third spot with 169 points. Doug Peterson remains on top pf the Masters Championship battle with 86 points, ahead of Kusy who is nipping at Peterson's heels with 78 points. Rob Walker, with 65 points, holds onto a three point lead over John Mefford in the Expert Series Championship with four events remaining.

For more information about the Star Mazda Series please visit www.starmazda.com or contact Gary Rodrigues at (818) 686-3350.

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Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Guy Cosmo , Moses Smith , Scott Speed , Steve Cook , Dan Weyland , Scott Kusy , Tom Nastasi , Justin Pruskowski , John Mefford , Doug Peterson
Teams Racers Edge Motorsports