Road Atlanta: Race notes

Ron White takes the victory at Road Atlanta September 28, 2006. Braselton, Georgia. On a picture perfect day at Road Atlanta, Ron White, of Santa Clara, California, rolled to his third consecutive victory of the season in the ...

Ron White takes the victory at Road Atlanta

September 28, 2006. Braselton, Georgia. On a picture perfect day at Road Atlanta, Ron White, of Santa Clara, California, rolled to his third consecutive victory of the season in the #69 Ross Smith Racing Mazda in Round Eleven of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. Joining White on the podium were Mark Wilkins, in second place, and Kevin Lacroix in the third position.

Starting alongside Wilkins on the outside of the front row, White jumped into the lead on the opening lap and was engaged in a race-long duel for the top spot, losing the position for six laps before being able to jump back out front for good on lap seventeen. "I can't ask for a lot more than this today, Mark and I were both driving the wheels off our cars out there today and the yellows that came out went our direction today," White explained. "On the start and the first restart I was able to guess when Mark was going to get on the gas and was able to get a good run on him going into the first corner. The car has been working great and we're going to keep trying to chase down the drivers ahead of us with more points."

Making his fourth start of the season in the #3 AIM Autosport Bluetooth Mazda, Mark Wilkins has returned to the front-running for he displayed in 2005 before a boating accident cut short his season winning the pole position on Thursday and battling throughout the race for the victory. "It was a great race for myself and the AIM Autosport team today," the Toronto, Canada resident said, "Ron was able to get around me on the start, I was able to get back by for a while, and then he retook the lead and I kept the pressure on him hoping for a mistake. I was a little rusty when I first got back in the car at Trois-Rivieres but everything is working great now and I'm looking forward to going to Laguna Seca for the end of the season."

Keeping his championship hopes alive with a third place finish, Lacroix, from St Eustache, Canada, was pleased to return to the podium after a string of fourth place finishes in the #74 John Walko Racing Uni-Select Auto Parts Mazda. "I've had some bad luck the past few races so it feels good to be back on the podium," Lacroix commented. "I moved from fifth to third on the opening lap and was chasing Ron and Mark and hoping they would make a mistake. I tried to pass Ron at one point but had to back out and play it a little safe because if I had crashed it would've taken me out of the points race."

While the action at the front was tight the drive of the race belonged to fourth place finisher Logan Gomez, pilot of the #23 Velocity Motorsports INDYana Kid Mazda, who raced his way through the field from seventeenth place on the grid to finish just ahead of championship points leader Adrian Carrio. "We had a difficult time in qualifying as I couldn't get a clean lap when the track was drying so I had to start deep in the field," the Crown Point, Indiana native explained. "My car was really good on the opening laps when the tires were cold and my engineer Rick Cameron and the Velocity team gave me a great car. The caution periods hurt today as it killed the time on the clock and if we had some green flag laps at the end I know I would've finished on the podium."

With one race remaining the championship battle as been narrowed down to a two driver competition with Carrio, in the #14 World Speed Motorsports Rockford Fosgate Mazda holding a 35 point advantage over Lacroix, who has clinched the Rookie-of-the-Year title with his finish today. Ryan Justice, from Portland, Oregon, sits in third place in the championship.

In the Expert Championship, for drivers aged 30-44, Gerardo Bonilla locked up the championship with his eighth class victory of the season in the #9 Andersen Racing Team Skip Barber Mazda. The battle for second becomes the focus as heading to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as Brian Thienes sits in second with 152 points while Dan Tomlin III holds third place with 142 points.

In the Masters Championship, for drivers aged 45 and older, John Faulkner in the #93 Phenom Racing Group Molecule Mazda turn captured the class victory with a thirteenth place finish overall and turns up the heat on points leader Doug Peterson, who had climbed into the top ten overall before getting caught up in an incident in turn seven. With one race to go Peterson holds first with 160 points while Faulkner sits in second place with 153 points.

In the Team Championship John Walko Racing stretches their lead with 223 points, while World Speed Motorsports has a tough climb to retake the lead with 208 points. Strong finishes by Justice and Phil Fogg Jr have propelled Northwest Autosport from fifth to third in the team championship with 159 points.

The series now heads to Monterey, California, for the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the spiritual home of the championship, alongside the American Le Mans Series at the Monterey Sportscar Championships on October 19-21. Round Eleven of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear is scheduled to air on Speed Channel at 1:00 PM Eastern Time on Saturday, October 14th. For more information please visit www.starmazda.com

-credit: star mazda

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Pro Mazda
Drivers John Faulkner , Skip Barber , Mark Wilkins , Dan Tomlin III , Ross Smith , Adrian Carrio , Ron White , Logan Gomez , Gerardo Bonilla , Doug Peterson , Phil Fogg