IRISHMAN PETER DEMPSEY TOPS THE TIME SHEETS IN BOTH FRIDAY PRACTICE SESSIONS FOR THIS WEEKEND'S STAR MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLE-HEADER AT AUTOBAHN Autobahn Country Club / Joliet, IL (July 24, 2009) -- Peter 'The Irish Steamroller' Dempsey, the ...
IRISHMAN PETER DEMPSEY TOPS THE TIME SHEETS IN BOTH FRIDAY PRACTICE SESSIONS FOR THIS WEEKEND'S STAR MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLE-HEADER AT AUTOBAHN
Autobahn Country Club / Joliet, IL (July 24, 2009) -- Peter 'The Irish Steamroller' Dempsey, the current championship points leader in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear -- and the only driver to have won races with two different teams this season, and on both road course and oval -- presented his case for being the driver to beat at this weekend's Star Mazda double-header at the Harrah's Autobahn Grand Prix presented by Mazda; turning just seven laps in two practice sessions, he set the fast time in both. Driving the #3 Juncos Racing / HOOTERS / Motorsport Ireland / Queyside.ie Mazda, his quickest lap came in the cooler morning session, a 2:11.681-sec. (97.326 mph). Backed up by a 2:11.992-sec. (97.097 mph) in the afternoon. In the morning he set the quick lap in his second lap on track, in the afternoon, it was on lap three of four.
"This is just one more sign of how well the Juncos Racing team is all working together," says Dempsey. "We had a really good test here last week and learned a lot about the car, which made it easy for me to go out and be really fast in just a few laps. It's a long weekend, but we know we've got a really good car and we're all working to keep this momentum going. For me, the main job right now is to get a really good night's sleep so I can come to the track in the morning for the 8:30 am qualifying session and be at the top of my game."
In both of today's sessions, Englishman Adam Christodoulou, the only other driver so far this season to win two races -- and currently second in the championship -- was the second-quickest car on track. His quick time, however, came in the afternoon; a 2:12.486-sec. (96.735 mph) in the #11 JDC Motorsports / Molecule Mazda.
The surprise of the afternoon was the appearance of Dempsey's teammate, Sean Burstyn in the third spot on the afternoon time sheet (up from 12th-fast in the morning and 5th-fast overall). In his best performance so far this season, Burstyn, of Miami Beach, FL, set a time of 2:12.624-sec. (96.634 mph) in his #61 Juncos Racing / The Collection Mazda.
"To be honest, a lot of the improvement has to do with Peter and the setup help and driver coaching he's been doing," says Burstyn, who ran as high as 5th in the previous race on the Iowa Speedway oval before finishing 13th with mechanical problems. "That said, I did the fast lap on my own and I think it genuinely marks a step up competitively for me as a driver and for the Juncos team as a whole."
Conor Daly, the 2008 Skip Barber champion and 2009 MAZDASPEED Drive Development Ladder scholarship winner, set the fourth-fast time of the two sessions, in the morning, with a lap of 2:12.355-sec. (96.830 mph) in his #22 Andersen Racing / College Network / Indeck / Cytomax Mazda.