Michael Potekhen leads final practice at Miller Motorsports Park July 14, 2006. Tooele, Utah. Michael Potekhen, of Tempe, Arizona, topped the time sheets this morning in the final practice session for Round Six of the Star Mazda Championship ...
Michael Potekhen leads final practice at Miller Motorsports Park
July 14, 2006. Tooele, Utah. Michael Potekhen, of Tempe, Arizona, topped the time sheets this morning in the final practice session for Round Six of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, completing the sweep of every timed practice session this weekend. Driving the #53 Avenue Communities Apex Racing Mazda, Potekhen lapped the 4.486-mile circuit in 2:36.447 (103.549 MPH). Championship points leader Adrian Carrio, driving the #14 Rockford Fosgate World Speed Motorsports Mazda, clocked the second fastest time of the session at 2:36.465 (103.538 MPH), setting up a showdown for this afternoon's qualifying session.
"The Apex Racing team has given me an excellent car once again," Potekhen, who currently sits second in the championship explained. "We're only now coming up to the halfway point of the championship and this brand new team has really hit its stride. We were solid in testing here last week and the car keeps getting better."
With the series taking part in the inaugural Larry H Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix weekend at the brand new 90-million dollar Miller Motorsports Park complex in Tooele, Utah, Potekhen also credits another racetrack, Buttonwillow Raceway Park near Bakersfield, California, with helping him get up to speed on this 23 turn circuit. "Having raced with the series in years past at Buttonwillow, which shares some common features with Miller Motorsports Park, I feel like I had a bit of an edge in learning this track," Potekhen said. "With the lack of elevation changes, the wide open space around the track, and the long laps, where a single mistake will cost you dearly, it has taken some drivers longer to get up to speed as they find reference points around the track, with my experience at Buttonwillow I was able to learn the track quickly and focus on getting faster."
While Potekhen has led every official practice session, Carrio, from Monument, Colorado, has been hot on his heels, finishing second on the time sheets in each of the three sessions and closing to within eighteen-thousandths of a second in the final practice session. "Michael looks strong this weekend but my crew at Worldspeed Motorsports have been working hard all weekend to find those extra hundredths we need to get out front," Carrio said. "I'm looking forward to qualifying this afternoon and the race for the pole position."
Thirty-three drivers are expected to participate in this afternoon's forty-five minute qualifying session, scheduled to begin at 5:15 PM Mountain Daylight Time.