Rusty Mitchell Scores Best Star Mazda Result With Strong Run in Milwaukee (West Allis, WI) 23 June, 2009--After posting some strong results in testing, Rusty Mitchell was looking forward to making his paved oval track debut this weekend at the...
Rusty Mitchell Scores Best Star Mazda Result With Strong Run in Milwaukee
(West Allis, WI) 23 June, 2009--After posting some strong results in testing, Rusty Mitchell was looking forward to making his paved oval track debut this weekend at the famed Milwaukee Mile for round 6 of the 2009 Star Mazda presented by Goodyear championship. And those high hopes held up as he started the weekend off atop the time sheets and closed out the race with a sixth place finish to take his career-best Star Mazda result to date.
Running as part of the NASCAR Nationwide Series event weekend, the Star Mazda machines were the fastest of the weekend, which opened with a pair of promoter test days.
The official running got underway on Friday, which saw Mitchells weekend starting on the right foot, with a lot of use of that right foot, as he paced the opening session with a fast lap time of 28.055 seconds, good for 128.319 mph around the circuit. The next session had Mitchell going even faster as his best lap time improved to 27.988-seconds, good for third on the charts.
After rains cancelled qualifying, the grid was set by combined practice times, slotting Mitchell into third, although he ultimately took the green flag from fourth after a scheduling conflict saw him missing the drivers meeting. Mitchell was witness to the race's biggest moment, which came on the opening lap as two lead cars made contact and ended their races early. Mitchell was second on the restart, but after getting a slow restart lost a pair of positions before holding on to cross the line in sixth.
"I had the speed to get up to the guys, but just not enough front-end grip to do anything with them when I was behind them in the corners, so I couldn't get back up to the front and I didn't want to put myself or anyone in a position that would take us out," said Mitchell. "There is really very little room for error there, particularly with the marbles on the outside line. The leader had the biggest advantage, running in all that clear air.
"Of course we started the weekend off in first, so it would have been nice to have ended it that way, but this was still a strong result and something to build on," said Mitchell. "I had a lot of fun out there. It's a different approach, and a different mentality. On an oval, the smallest changes can be felt in just one lap, and they make a huge difference and I really enjoyed working on our set-up and also the racing was a blast. I'm looking forward to Iowa!"
The Star Mazda presented by Goodyear championship will continue on July 10 in another round of oval action at Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA.