Team G.FRO Carries Momentum into Final Star Mazda Rounds September 29, 2007 -- San Clemente, Calif.-based Team G.FRO heads into the final two rounds of the 2007 Star Mazda Championship with heavy momentum. Twenty-year old driving sensation ...
Team G.FRO Carries Momentum into Final Star Mazda Rounds
September 29, 2007 -- San Clemente, Calif.-based Team G.FRO heads into the final two rounds of the 2007 Star Mazda Championship with heavy momentum. Twenty-year old driving sensation Lorenzo Mandarino who hails from Vancouver, British Columbia proved to be a driver to watch in the previous two rounds of the Star Mazda Championship at races held at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec and Mosport International Raceway.
Mandarino, behind the wheel of his newly re-badged #15 Team G.FRO/Newway Forming/Rossi Motorsport/GS610 Brake Fluid/Red Line Oil Pro Formula Mazda found a resurgence of good luck after changing his car number at Trois-Rivieres following a run of four consecutive incident-induced poor finishes. The new number proved to refresh Mandarino's confidence as the young Canadian raced his way into the lead around the tight and tricky street circuit and began to stretch out a sizeable lead. Unfortunately, a late-race re-start following a full-course caution bunched the field back up, which gave his closest competition a glimmer of hope, which subsequently ended with Mandarino being hit from behind and launched into a tire-wall.
"Being punted out of the lead was devastating, but Lorenzo bounced back superbly at Mosport," commented Team G.FRO Owner/Team Manager Geoff Fickling. "He was patient when he needed to be and blindingly fast when we asked him to be. Given the race's tricky dry, then wet and then drying track conditions, Lorenzo proved he is on the top of his game."
That spectacular drive to a second place finish at Mosport only a week after his devastating result at Trois-Rivieres, resulted in Mandarino scoring his first podium finish since his maiden Star Mazda victory at Miller Motorsports Park back in May. Mandarino now sits seventh in the Star Mazda points standings heading into the final two rounds, despite his run of disappointing results.
"I've really got to thank the whole team for their support and dedication this season and not giving up when times were down," said Mandarino, 20. "They have a great deal of trust in me and I do in them, which is why we're clicking so well. We're all looking forward to picking up where we left off at our next race in Atlanta."
Meanwhile, Team G.FRO newcomer Chuck Hulse, 54, found himself promoted to Team G.FRO's Star Mazda squad after a very impressive first half of his rookie season driving for Team G.FRO's Pacific F2000 'Junior' team. Hulse, straight off a career-best 2nd place finish in his most recent Pacific F2000 race for G.FRO, debuted for the squad's Star Mazda team at Road America in dramatic fashion by scoring an eye-opening 10th place finish.
"It was my first time to Road America, first time in the car, and I had a blast!" exclaimed Hulse, after piloting his #68 Team G.FRO/Silicon Salvage/GEHL Construction Equipment/GS610 Brake Fluid/Red Line Pro Formula Mazda. "I hope we can continue our success and hopefully continue to keep the kids honest."
The very next week in the Trois-Rivieres Grand Prix, Hulse, from Yorba Linda, Calif., did just that--scoring his second consecutive top-ten finish with a ninth place and made history as being the first Masters class driver for those 45 years and older to accomplish that feat in his first two races entered. Hulse then went on to qualify an impressive twelfth spot at Mosport and finished fourteenth despite an unexpected engine problem that limited his horsepower in the race. Nevertheless, Hulse still managed to win his third consecutive Masters class victory, keeping at least one of his many impressive debut streaks alive.
Team G.FRO's talented duo of Mandarino and Hulse return for the final two rounds of the season at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia on October 5th and Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. on October 20. With one event remaining, Team G.FROs' Pacific F2000 squad hope to continue their success in their season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on October 13-14. Jeff Westphal, 21, currently sits second in the Pacific F2000 points standings with his five podium finishes to date, while Hulse and fellow Team G.FRO teammate Philip Metzger, 18, sit 6th and 7th, respectively.