Sebring: Hearn Motorsports race notes

Hearn Podiums With Jaskol, Puts Three in Top-15 at Sebring SEBRING, Fla., March 18, 2005 -- Hearn Motorsports brought three entries to the Star Mazda Series North American Championship season-opening round at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway...

Hearn Podiums With Jaskol, Puts Three in Top-15 at Sebring

SEBRING, Fla., March 18, 2005 -- Hearn Motorsports brought three entries to the Star Mazda Series North American Championship season-opening round at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway today. It was the largest stable of the open wheel, formula cars that IndyCar standout Richie Hearn (Las Vegas, Nev.) has entered since starting his team one season ago. The effort paid off with Star Mazda rookie Matt Jaskol (Las Vegas) earning his firs Series' podium, a second-place, and the team's third podium in the series. Overall, Hearn's signature yellow and blue helmet logo was carried on three cars in the top-13 of the 42 car field. The event also marked the first time that Hearn Motorsports had swept a row in qualifying as Jaskol earned the third starting spot and CR Crews III (Dallas, Tex.) joined him on the outside of the second row in fourth. This was the first visit to Sebring for the Hearn Motorsports organization having started the 2004 season at the Series' second event.

Richie Hearn: "This definitely feels good. It is always nice to get the first race out of the way. All three guys did a great job out there today and I hope this bodes well for the future. We came here with a lot to show and I think we proved that, just like last year, we can put competitive and fast cars on the track. All three of our cars finished on the lead lap and all three finished in the top part of the field. Matt set the fastest lap of the race which was almost a second faster than we practiced. Brian went out and earned ten spots and CR had a rear-suspension problem that kept him from getting as high of a finish as he could have. Overall, I think it was a great weekend for Hearn Motorsports and I am really proud of our crew."

No. 70, Matt Jaskol - Jaskol Motorsports/ Hearn Motorsports Mazda, qualified: 3rd, finished: 2nd -- Matt Jaskol made a strong debut in the Star Mazda Series for Hearn. The 20 year-old karting and formula car ace was regularly quick in practice. He earned the third starting spot for the 20 lap race courtesy of a practice lap of two minutes, 1.021 seconds after qualifying was rained-out. He was blocked early in the event and, once clear of the blocking car, began to close on the leader who had used that time to gain a substantial lead. While the gap was too great to overcome, Jaskol showed the No. 70 was up to the challenge by setting the fastest race lap, 2:00.786, six laps from the finish.

Richie Hearn: "Matt did a great job. We had a pretty easy going week; he didn't have any problems. I wished we could have qualified because I think we could have qualified on the front row. I think that would have made a difference in the race because we got blocked a little at the beginning and by the time Matt got around the car, Rafa (Matos) had gapped him. But that's just racing and we survived it and got some second-place points. If we can continue with Matt, I think he can give Rafa a run for the championship. Maybe, with my experience I can help give him a little edge."

Matt Jaskol: "The start was a little hairy. I think we were five-wide at one point in turn-one. We fell back to about fourth but went right away back into third. I was getting blocked pretty good and at this place it is so easy to get a gap. Matos got a pretty good lead and when I got around the second-place car, it was just Matos and I. We started inching-up on him and we even got the fastest lap but there just wasn't enough time left by then. It looks good for the future to get on the podium but a win would have looked better. Now maybe we can get a sponsor on the side of the car and chase Matos for the championship. I want to thank Hearn Motorsports for putting this together at the last minute and giving me the opportunity to race. It was a lot of fun."

No. 10, CR Crews III - qualified: 4th, finished: 11th -- The second-year Star Mazda driver joined Hearn Motorsports less than two-weeks ago. However, the 16 year-old, who missed this race in 2004 because he was too young to compete in the Series at age 15, quickly acclimated himself to the tight-knit team. Running quick-times in practice, Crews set the fourth fastest time of the week, to that point, in the No. 10. With the cancellation of qualifying, Crews started along side Hearn Motorsports teammate Matt Jaskol. The two never battled as was expected as a rear suspension problem slowed the Dallas, Tex. native. However, Crews adapted to the handling issue and began to fight his way back through the field after dropping several positions. He would finish 11th on the lead lap.

Richie Hearn: "CR started fourth but fell back early. That was a little disappointing because I know he could have run better if the suspension hadn't broken. But, he did a terrific job of overcoming that and working his way back up through the field. He is a serious talent for someone so young and he fit in very well with the team. I think he is a great addition to Hearn Motorsports."

CR Crews III -- "We had an incredible practice, qualifying fourth but we broke something in the rear suspension. That put us backwards in the race. It was pretty disappointing because I think we had a pretty good chance at winning. But, that is just racing and that stuff happens. I hope we get to do it again with the Hearn guys. They did a great job."

No. 77, Brian Thienes - Thienes Engineering Mazda, qualified: 23rd, finished: 13th -- Brian Thienes, the only driver on the team with prior experience working with Hearn Motorsports, had difficulty in practice finding speed in his No. 77 Thienes Engineering entry. However, he saved his best for last. Thienes showed well on race day earning an impressive ten spots in an event with little attrition within the top-20 cars. His 13th place finish, on the lead lap, gave Hearn Motorsports three cars in the top-15 of the race.

Richie Hearn: "Brian had some problems in practice and that qualified him pretty far back. He had a great race starting 23rd and finishing 13th. No one was crashing-out so he was making those passes. I think he is pretty happy and I'm really pleased with that performance."

Brian Thienes: "I actually tried to help engineer the car and I made a lot of bad decisions that put us back in 23rd. I told Richie 'you do whatever you want to the car and I'll drive it' and he gave me an awesome race car. It was so perfect I couldn't believe it. I was able to just drive around people. I had a perfect setup and perfect car. Richie is a class act and I can't believe what a great car he gave me. I think this proves I can run closer to the front. I need to qualify a little better but moving up from 23rd to 13th proved why I am here."

For more on Hearn Motorsports and its 2005 Pro Formula Mazda Series' effort please visit www.richiehearn.com. For more on Matt Jaskol please visit www.mattjaskol.com. More on Brian Thienes can be found at www.thienesengineering.com .

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Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Richie Hearn , Brian Thienes , Matt Jaskol