F-MAZDA: Sonoma rounds three, four summary

Rain and Shine at Molecule Formula Mazda Challenge Races Three and Four Hulse wins back to back in PFM, O'Donovan and Weaver take SFM wins Sixteen Formula Mazdas took to the grid this weekend for races three and four of the Molecule Formula...

Rain and Shine at Molecule Formula Mazda Challenge Races Three and Four
Hulse wins back to back in PFM, O'Donovan and Weaver take SFM wins

Sixteen Formula Mazdas took to the grid this weekend for races three and four of the Molecule Formula Mazda Challenge championship. The event took place at Infineon Raceway March 20th through 22nd in conjunction with the NASA Pro Racing weekend.

Qualifying and racing started on Saturday. Chuck Hulse who is leading the PFM championship took the pole position with a 1:30.678. Bill Weaver was fastest in the Standard Formula Mazda class with a 1:35.915. When the cars were on pre-grid the track was very wet and all of the PFM cars went out on rain tires. A majority of the Standard FM drivers took a chance and rolled out on slicks. That gamble paid off as the track was totally dry after a half dozen laps. The PFM drivers started to slow down as their rain tires got worn down, and the SFM drivers started to pick up speed as conditions got better. Bill Weaver turned the fastest time of the race in his SFM, but spun early in the session when the track was still wet. In the end, the race was won overall by Hulse in his PFM and Derry O'Donovan took the SFM class win.

"The Standard FM drivers were all bunched close together and it looked like it could have been anyone's race at one point," noted series Official Ben Hettema. "When Mali who had been leading the race and O'Donovan got behind one of the slower PFM cars , O'Donovan took a chance and was able to get ahead of the PFM leaving Mali stuck directly behind that car for a moment. The SFM race was really exciting, and had we gone another 10 laps they probably would have won overall."

Saturday Pro Formula Mazda
Chuck Hulse 1st
Dave House 2nd
Stan Kohls 3rd

Saturday Standard Formula Mazda
Derry O'Donovan 1st
Jim Mali 2nd
Matthew Trudell 3rd

Sunday was another interesting day with some rain and an incredible amount of wind. In qualifying the #86 Pro Formula Mazda of Dave House had contact with the #92 Standard Formula Mazda of Bruce Carpenter. Carpenter was able to drive into the pits, but House's car lost a corner which sent him careening into the wall. The damage was extensive and House went to a back up car from the World Speed stable.

Andy Brown in the #42 had the best qualifying of his career and was off pole next to Hulse at the start. Unfortunately at the entrance to turn 2 Stan Kohls slid into Brown starting a chain of events that had cars heading in every direction. Brown came into the pits under yellow with front and rear wing damage, and was sent back out at the back of the pack. Dave House also went off in the incident and fell back towards the rear of the pack. Both House and Brown battled their way up to podium finishes. Hulse who was ahead of all the action pulled out a commanding lead and held onto it until the checkered flag came out. The Standard FM cars also had to deal with the incident in turn two, and this made the first few laps extremely close. Mali who had the fastest time in SFM during the race was catching up with Tabak and at the end was within a couple of seconds of him. Bill Weaver who is the 2008 Molecule SFM Champ took the top spot in Sunday's race.

Sunday - Pro Formula Mazda
Chuck Hulse 1st
Dave House 2nd
Andy Brown 3rd

Sunday - Standard Formula Mazda
Bill Weaver 1st
Stew Tabak 2nd
Jim Mali 3rd

Other interesting weekend notes:

*Matt Trudell was testing out his new RLC Micro Pod Lite data system

*Cameron Parsons was competing in his first weekend with his father Glen as crew chief

*Standing Start coach Grant Ryley was helping Dave House get his back to back podiums

*Ted Idlof was in the Team Idlof green machine instead of crewing for the weekend

*Jim Mali who podiumed twice this weekend is currently having a Pro Formula Mazda built for him by World Speed Motorsports, and took time in between sessions to get his new car fit.

-credit: www.formulamazdachallenge.com

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About this article
Series Road racing
Drivers Grant Ryley , Chuck Hulse , Dave House