MIXED FORTUNES FOR JDC MOTORSPORTS DRIVERS IN UTAH Miller retains championship lead and Kraut scores Masters class win MINNEAPOLIS, MIN. (May 17, 2008) -- While the JDC MotorSports squad exited the second round of the Star Mazda Championship...
MIXED FORTUNES FOR JDC MOTORSPORTS DRIVERS IN UTAH
Miller retains championship lead and Kraut scores Masters class win
MINNEAPOLIS, MIN. (May 17, 2008) -- While the JDC MotorSports squad exited the second round of the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear with valuable points and a class win, much of their thoughts were on what could have been. On the plus side, series rookie Joel Miller finished third in the race, while Gerry Kraut scored the Masters class win at the Miller Motorsports Park event on Saturday. Unfortunately, JDC driver Ernesto Otero received a post-race penalty that demoted him to 13th at the stripe, ahead of Chuck Hulse in 26th and Cody Jolly in 27th, who both ended their races early due to damage.
After a double-win effort in the season-opener at Sebring back in March, JDC MotorSports maintained the momentum in the early stages of Round Two in Utah. Miller, the series point leader, posted the second fastest time in qualifying to earning a front-row start, while only a few tenths back on the timing monitors, Otero was third quickest. Adding to the optimism heading into the Saturday afternoon race, Hulse and Kraut were 1-2 among the Masters group.
When the lights went out to commence the race action late in the day, it initially appeared like JDC MotorSports were on their way to another winning effort, as Miller got the better launch from the front-row while Hulse advanced multiple positions into the top-15. However, things quickly changed as both Jolly, in the No. 4 JDC MotorSports entry, and Kraut, driving the No. 55 Dougherty & Co./Dougherty Funding LLC/JDC MotorSports car, were involved in a multi-car incident in turn one, ending Jolly's race before it even began. Adding to the disappointment, at virtually the same moment, Miller relinquished the top spot as Otero fell back a couple of positions in the order.
On the ensuing restart, JDC MotorSports was dealt another blow as Miller was forced low in re-taking the lead, which killed his exit speed and allowed a couple of cars to slip back by. With Otero now leading the JDC contingent, running among the top-five, and Hulse's No. No. 12 Silicon Salvage/JDC MotorSports entry out front in Masters, the stage was set for a pair of superb drives.
Piloting the No. 20 MAZDASPEED/K&N Air Filters/Sparco/JDC MotorSports car, Miller recovered from his off-course excursion, steadily moving up the charts. Deeper in the field, Kraut having fallen to dead last after the first turn melee, was repeating the feat, advancing numerous positions. Unfortunately, the racing gods had one more card to play in the 22-lap affair, as seven laps prior to the checkered flag waving, Hulse suddenly retired with a suspension failure, relinquishing the Masters lead to his teammate.
When the race did come to a close, Miller had advanced his way back to a podium finishing third place, crossing the stripe just ahead of Otero's No. 18 JDC MotorSports entry. Kraut passed the start/finish 17th, earning the Masters class win, while Hulse and Jolly were classified 26th and 27th. At short time after the awards ceremony, Otero was penalized 30 seconds for reportedly blocking in his battle for fourth place. As a result of the penalty, Otero exited the event with a 13th place result.
"While we didn't leave Utah with the results I believe we deserved, I am very pleased with how our drivers performed," commented JDC MotorSports owner John Church. "Both Joel and Gerry drove phenomenally, rebounding from the incidents early in the race. Ernesto and Chuck had some bad luck, and I think if not for the mechanical problem in qualifying, Cody would have been well in front of the first turn melee and really shown his true speed. We're already looking forward to Watkins Glen and the chance to win some more races."
Returning to its Minnesota base of operations, JDC MotorSports is currently preparing for Round Three of the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear on June 6-7 at the historic Watkins Glen International road course in Upstate New York.