PREDICTABLE RESULT, UNEXPECTED DETAILS -- ADAM CHRISTODOULOU WINS OVER 33 CAR FIELD IN STAR MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 3 AT MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK Miller Motorsports Park (May 16, 2009) -- Given that he dominated all but one of the four practices...
PREDICTABLE RESULT, UNEXPECTED DETAILS -- ADAM CHRISTODOULOU WINS OVER 33 CAR FIELD IN STAR MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 3 AT MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK
Miller Motorsports Park (May 16, 2009) -- Given that he dominated all but one of the four practices session over the two days leading up to the race, and put his #11 JDC Motorsports / Molecule Mazda on the pole by a margin of more than 3/10ths, it came as no surprise to anyone that he eventually crossed the finish line ahead of 32 other cars to win Round Three of the 2009 Star Mazda Championship at Miller Motorsports Park.JThe manner of it, however, was a bit more interesting.
Christodoulou, starting from the inside of the front row, got an excellent start and pulled into the lead; his intent to drive a clean race from the front and leading every lap seemed to be going according to plan. Then a full-course yellow resulting from contact between two mid-pack cars -- as it so often does -- nearly changed everything.JAfter two laps of full-course yellow, on the re-start, it was Louisiana racer Alex Ardoin who emerged from the four-abreast charge into Turn One leading the pack. And this he continued to do for the largest part of the race until, in one of those inexplicable things that happen in racing, while changing the settings on his cockpit-adjustable sway bars, Ardoin's finger just ticked the engine shutoff switch... with predictable results; off into the gravel, madly scrambling to get the engine re-started and the car back on track. Which he did. In sixth.JAnd there he stayed until the checkered flag fell. Needless to say he was too devastated to speak about it afterward.
Christodoulou, on the other hand, was quite content, having driven a flawless -- if not quite according to plan -- race, to score his second victory of the season (he won from the front row at Sebring) and consolidate his lead in the points championship that he had shared entering the Miller weekend with Peter Dempsey, winner of Round Two at Virginia International Raceway. Christodoulou was also the top-finishing driver among those signed up for the Racing For Kids program and will have $500 donated in his name to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City and a matching amount to a children's hospital in the U.K.
"It definitely wasn't an easy race," said Christodoulou, the 2008 U.K. Formula Renault Champion. "Alex was pretty quick, got a decent re-start and he actually pulled away at the start while I was battling it out with the guys behind me. I caught back up with him and pushed him as hard as I could into the first corner and I think he hit the kill switch, and that was it for him. Obviously I passed him, took the lead and just kept my head down and took it to the end."
Finishing second after qualifying 5th was Irishman Peter Dempsey, driving the #3 AIM Autosport / Motorsport Ireland / Queyside.ie Mazda. Dempsey won the previous Star Mazda race, Round Three at VIR, and won four races in 2008, placing third in the championship. His race was slightly compromised by a broken 'splitter,' an aerodynamic device that helps direct airflow and produce downforce to increase cornering. Likewise, 3rd-place finisher Joel Miller, who started from the outside of the front row in the c2 JDC Motorsports / Fader Higher Productions / Mockett / Burns Truck & Trailer Mazda, had mechanical problems that appeared early in the race; they did not compromise his ability to finish, but he was in 'conservation mode' throughout. Miller, the 2008 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Scholarship winner, won the first race of last year at Sebring and finished second in the championship.
It is of note that all of the top-3 finishers are previous race winners -- and the 4th-place finisher as well, Englishman Richard Kent. He was the 'man from nowhere' who showed up at the final race of last season, broke the lap record at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on his way to winning first the pole and then the race. Kent drives the #33 Andersen Racing / Traka / Allied Interior Products Mazda. Rounding out the top-5 was rising Brazilian open-wheel star Caio Lara, now in his second season of Star Mazda competition and driving the #19 JDC Motorsports / MLD / ATW/ Molecule Mazda for the championship-winning JDC Motorsports team.
Finishing first in the Expert Series for drivers 30 to 44 years old was Japanese rookie Toshihiro Deki, driving the #80 Goshen Motorsports Mazda. It was the first podium appearance in the Star Mazda series for this driver who is a high-profile motorsports star in his homeland.JWinning the Master series for drivers over 45 is 2008 Master Series champion Chuck Hulse. Making his first appearance in the series in 2009, Californian Hulse brought his #12 Dave Frietas Racing / Silicon Salvage Mazda home in 19th overall.
-credit: star mazda