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Road Atlanta: Speedsport race notes

In only his third visit to the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta track in Braselton, Ga., Roger Foo proved he is a quick study after driving through the field from thirty-eighth position to finish eighth in his ...

In only his third visit to the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta track in Braselton, Ga., Roger Foo proved he is a quick study after driving through the field from thirty-eighth position to finish eighth in his #88 SpeedSport Mazda Protege during the Sunday afternoon SPEED Touring Car race. Roger gained the most positions in the race by a wide margin, but was ineligible for any awards due to his qualifying times being disallowed due to a technical infraction.

Following the Saturday qualifying session where Foo put his Protege in sixth position, the tech inspectors found the splitter on the car was too low and his times were disallowed putting him at the back of the field for the start of the race. When the lights went out to signal the start of the race, Foo charged through the field making headway immediately by gaining twelve positions on the first lap and steadily making his way to the front afterwards. Foo's eventual eighth-place finish and third Top-10 of the season in Round Four at Road Atlanta moved him up one spot to fourth in the driver's championship.

The 2003 season remained a difficult one for Robert Baxter in the #86 SpeedSport Mazda Protege after a practice session incident and retirement from the race. Robert exited the track at Turn 6 in the Saturday morning practice session along with other drivers because of oil on course and ended up mired in the gravel trap. After a number of near misses, Baxter's Protege was collected by the RealTime Integra. The SpeedSport crew rebuilt the right front corner of the #86 Mazda Protege and Robert qualified 14th for the race. His race would end early because of an incident in Turn 7 on lap five that would force him to retire two laps later. The result was a disappointing 35th place finish at his home track.

ROGER FOO - No. 88 MAZDA PROTEGE (8th):

"As the weekend went on I became more comfortable with the track and my lap times dropped accordingly. The Protege did as well as we expected it would here and I was able to qualify the car in sixth, but rolling the car through tech afterwards ended up being a bad experience. Leading up to the race I knew I would have to drive the car as hard as I could and hope for some real good luck to see how many positions I could move up. It was extremely important for me to stay in the top of the driver standings. During the race I was able to make a lot of passes in Turn One to get around other cars and get myself near the front of the field. It is my new favorite corner at Road Atlanta. A caution halfway in the race helped me get within striking distance of the Top-10 and I was able to capitalize on it. I am glad I was able to get the eighth place finish for the SpeedSport team because things weren't looking so good and this a great way to go into the next race."

ROBERT BAXTER - No. 86 MAZDA PROTEGE (35th):

"Starting 14th is not where I thought we would be since the Protege drove really good during qualifying. Considering how much work we had to do on the car after the practice incident, we couldn't be terribly unhappy though. We had to replace the right front suspension and do some bodywork. At the start of the race I got too much wheelspin and lost a few positions, but with the experience I have at Road Atlanta I knew I would be able to work my way into a Top-10 finish. Unfortunately I had a run-in with another competitor in Turn 7 early in the race and was forced to retire. After the terrible beginning I have had to this season, I was really looking forward to a good result for myself and the team. It looks like we'll have to wait until the next race to get things going again."

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Series PWC
Drivers Robert Baxter , Roger Foo