Watkins Glen: JDC Motorsports race notes

PODIUM RESULTS CONTINUE FOR JDC MOTORSPORTS IN STAR MAZDA Miller finished as the runner-up at Watkins Glen International, while Hulse added another Masters win MINNEAPOLIS, MIN. (June 7, 2008) -- JDC MotorSports maintained its chase of ...

Miller finished as the runner-up at Watkins Glen International, while Hulse added another Masters win

MINNEAPOLIS, MIN. (June 7, 2008) -- JDC MotorSports maintained its chase of back-to-back Star Mazda Championship titles over the past weekend (June 6-7) at the historic Watkins Glen International with an overall podium finish by their point leading rookie and another Master Series win courtesy of their diverse driver line-up. Freshman Joel Miller continued his impressive entrance into the series by finishing as the runner-up when the checkered flag waved at Watkins Glen, while Chuck Hulse earned his second Masters class win of the season with another solid performance. Brazilian Ernesto Otero added an eighth place result to the mix, crossing the stripe in front of team co-owner Gerry Kraut, who was classified in 17th.

Prior to the third event on the 2008 calendar officially getting away, two days of testing took place on the high-speed road course in upstate New York. While the JDC MotorSports drivers showed good speed in testing, with Miller posting the third fastest time in the opening session and Otero cracking the top-four in three of the four sessions, the Minnesota team was forced to overcome some adversity. Seeking the quick way around Watkins Glen, Miller crashed in the second session. Showcasing the team's depth and skill, repairs were quickly made, allowing the championship leader to post the fourth fastest time in the final session.

When the event officially got underway on Friday (June 6), the JDC MotorSports foursome immediately showed they would be among the drivers to watch. Piloting the No. 18 JDC MotorSports entry, Otero was third quickest in the first practice session, just ahead of Miller, who was sixth on the time charts. Continuing the trend, Hulse and Kraut were sitting 1-2 in the Master Series (for drivers 45 or older). When qualifying commenced later in the day following another practice session that had Miller and Otero near the top of charts, the entire JDC crew was optimistic about some good results. Driving the No. 20 MAZDASPEED/K&N Air Filters/Sparco/JDC MotorSports car, Miller rewarded that faith by battling for the pole position in qualifying, eventually ending with a strong third on the time charts. For Otero, the session proved frustrating, as he struggled to match his results from earlier in the weekend, securing an eighth place starting position. Remaining the drivers to beat in their class, Hulse placed his No. 12 Silicon Salvage/JDC MotorSports entry as the top qualifying Masters driver in 20th, one spot ahead of Kraut's No. 55 Dougherty & Co./Dougherty Funding LLC/JDC MotorSports car.

Returning to the Watkins Glen road course one day later, Round Three commenced early on Sunday morning (June 7) with the JDC drivers launching from the standing start. Miller held station near the front of the field, followed a few car lengths back by Otero. For Hulse and Kraut, the start proved much more dramatic, as both were forced to take evasive action in order to avoid a stationary car, which was left on the grid due to a broken driveshaft. As a result, Kraut took over the Masters lead, while Hulse fell to the rear of the field.

Just as the drivers were getting up to speed, the first of multiple full-course cautions occurred. For Miller, this proved beneficial, as on the ensuing restart he advanced up to second place. Hulse also made the most of the opportunity, closing the gap on his teammate Kraut and the Masters lead. As the race progressed, Miller continued to run in second ahead of Otero in eighth, while Kraut retained his advantage over Hulse deeper in the field. While the subsequent caution periods allowed Miller to challenge the eventual race winner Charles Hall, he never found a way past. Meanwhile, Kraut retained the Masters lead until he was forced to come to a complete stop in order to avoid a multi-car collision. This allowed Hulse to work a way past his teammate to assume the Masters' point position.

When the checkered flag waved to end the 20-lap affair, Miller had earned his third consecutive podium finish while Hulse had secured his second Masters Series win. Otero was classified eighth at the stripe, his first top-10 result of the year, while Kraut passed the start/finish 17th overall, second in class.

"I'm pleased with how our drivers performed today," stated Team Co-Owner John Church. "Joel continued to show the talent of a champion, earning yet another podium finish and valuable points. Ernesto finally cracked the top-10 with a solid drive, while Chuck and Gerry managed to avoid the multiple incidents out there, extending what will likely be a season-long fight for top honors in the Masters Series."

The JDC MotorSports Star Mazda Championship drivers will now have a lengthy break until Rounds Four and Five at Portland International Raceway on July 26-27. Entering the mid-summer doubleheader, Miller lies second in the championship fight, two points adrift of Hall. Hulse leads the Masters Series by six points ahead of Kraut, while JDC MotorSports is second in the Team Championship standings.

-credit: jdc

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Series Pro Mazda
Drivers Charles Hall , Gerry Kraut