Moses Smith competes in the Wine Country of Sonoma, CA at Sears Point International Raceway for the Second Round of the Star Mazda North American Championship. Upon arrival to the track Wednesday afternoon, it was very obvious that Sear Point...
Moses Smith competes in the Wine Country of Sonoma, CA at Sears Point International Raceway for the Second Round of the Star Mazda North American Championship.
Upon arrival to the track Wednesday afternoon, it was very obvious that Sear Point had seen a lot of changes over the last year. There were new paddock spaces, many new grandstands, and an abundance of new amenities. All these changes made what was once an awesome racetrack into a World Class racing facility.
The weekend started out Thursday morning with testing. The few modifications done to the racing surface over the last year, took very little time to get used to. By the end of the day, Moses Smith was posting times placing him in the top three.
Friday brought more early morning testing. The three sessions of the day were utilized to fine-tune any last minute changes before Saturday's qualifying and race. "The track is really starting to come to us," stated Moses about Friday's practice. "R-Sport has been working very hard to develop a new set-up, and so far it has been working well."
As thirty-eight cars lined up for Saturday morning's qualifying session, it was determined that the session would be split into two sessions. One session would be for the faster cars and the second group would be for the slower cars. This would ease the congestion on the track and allow for some good qualifying times.
"During qualifying, the #76 HASA Pool Products car was handling great at the start. But then we began to experience motor problems for the first time all weekend" Moses commented, "I am just glad that we made it into the top three rows." Even with these motor problems, Moses placed sixth on the starting grid.
As the green flag dropped for the start of the race, there was a lot of action, as the first five rows of cars started to jockey for position through turn one and into turn two. When the line of cars came streaming out of turn two, nose to tail, the #76 of Moses Smith was up in third place. The first full course caution came out 6 laps into the race. To this point, it was a full sprint race with no change of position.
While the safety crews cleared the track, all of the competitors were busy trying to keep tires and brakes up to temperature, for the highly anticipated green flag. As the green flag came out again, Moses raced into turn two, side by side, with the number 14 car, which was in 4th place before the green. As the two cars exited turn two and headed into turn three, Moses had to give way and drop to 4th place. This would only be a temporary position though, for as the two racers entered turn seven, Moses was able to out brake the number 14 car and regain third place.
As the second yellow flag came out, the top four positions had yet to change. It was becoming late in the race however, and officials informed the drivers that there would only be one more lap sprint to the finish, once the green flag came out.
On that final lap, as the top four came out of turn eleven (the last turn before the start and finish line), the number 14 car pulled along side Moses and it was a drag race to the line. Unfortunately Moses lost third place by .002 of a second.
"Now that was some good racing!" Moses summarized enthusiastically. " Everyone was giving plenty of racing room out there. I just wish I could have exited turn eleven a little better. That was definitely my weak point of the race. When I would try to go back to power, the engine would hesitate real bad."
This race will be televised on The Speed Channel June 15 at 8:30 ET.
Round 3 of this series will be at Pikes Peak International Raceway on June 15. This is a reschedule event for the recently canceled Laguna Seca event. For more information please check out www.mosessmith.com.