Lacroix Rebounds for Fourth in Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres TRAFFORD, PA (August 7, 2006) -- The Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres has been in the sights of Quebec native Kevin Lacroix for many years. The gifted young driver grew up racing on the...
Lacroix Rebounds for Fourth in Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres
TRAFFORD, PA (August 7, 2006) -- The Grand Prix of Trois Rivieres has been in the sights of Quebec native Kevin Lacroix for many years. The gifted young driver grew up racing on the local kart tracks, dreaming of one day competing in this prestigious event. Lacroix was even awarded a scholarship for this event last season but his racing schedule kept him away from the event until this year.
Lacroix had momentum on his side as the Star Mazda series rolled in to town for the eighth stop on their schedule. Coming in to this event Lacroix had scored four podium finishes and six top six finishes in just six races, good for third overall in points despite running one less race than the rest of his competitors.
"Kevin was really excited about this event and everyone felt this could be the event where we scored our first team win this season," noted team owner John Walko. "Both drivers were coming off of career best finishes at Portland and the team was well prepared to take on the challenges of the Trois Rivieres circuit."
The weekend started with a bang, not the way it was planned however, as Kevin crashed just six laps in to the opening round of practice. According to Walko this caused a ripple effect.
"The crash was an unfortunate event in itself, not only causing damage to the car that needed to be fixed, but it obviously cut the rest of the session short for Kevin. Compounding the issue is the fact that if a driver brings out a red flag with an incident as Kevin did, the driver is penalized by having to sit out the opening ten minutes of the next practice."
As luck would have it, a red flag brought on by another driver's accident followed by rain halted the session before Lacroix could turn a second lap at speed. Going in to qualifying the Canadian had just a handful of laps at speed resulting in his placement in the slower qualifying group.
"The teams ability to give Kevin a fast car under almost any circumstance combined with his natural talent was evident as they turned the sixth best qualifying effort despite running in the congestion of the slower group," noted Walko. Unfortunately a miscommunication resulted in Kevin being dropped to eighth on the grid to start the race."
Meanwhile, Charles Anti's weekend went in the opposite direction.
"Charles started out where he left off in Portland," commented Walko. "He ran sixth quick in the opening practice and was improving as the sessions progressed. He made a slight mistake in the second practice then we missed the set-up a little in qualifying. Despite that, he still was thirteenth on the grid."
Once the green flag flew, the two drivers' days went in opposite directions. Anti was involved in an opening lap incident that ended his day before completing a lap. Lacroix on the other hand leapt from eighth to fourth and held on to the position through the end of the race.
The fourth place finish continued Lacroix's string of top six finishes. The 17 year old has yet to finish outside of the top six in seven starts in the series and maintains his stronghold on third position in the Championship standings.
Next on the schedule for the team is a stop at the fabled Road America course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for the ninth race of the season. The team hopes to rebound from a hard fought weekend as they return to a full three car team for the balance of the season.
Russell Walker will join Lacroix and Anti for the final four races of the season. Walker is no stranger to the team however as his car has been prepared by the JWR crew the last few races and his team has worked alongside Walko's team. For the rest of the season however, Walker's effort will fall under the full scrutiny of JWR.
The rookie driver has run Road America previously although in a different machine. "I've raced a Formula Zetec car there in the past and have done fairly well," noted Walker who is excited about the upcoming races.
"After working with, and driving cars prepared by, a professional team such as John Walko Racing I have great expectations for the coming races. We have a legitimate chance to run in the top five just as Kevin and Charles have been doing. The quality of the race car and the consistency gives me the opportunity to drive it hard over the length of an entire event. I couldn't be happier about our program for these last four races."
-credit: john walko racing