F-MAZDA WS: Buttonwillow notes

Mike Hill Sweeps Opening Weekend of 2007-2008 Winter Series Driving the ...

Mike Hill Sweeps Opening Weekend of 2007-2008 Winter Series

Driving the #2 John Walko Racing Pro Formula Mazda, Mike Hill, from Gilroy, California, swept the opening weekend doubleheader at Buttonwillow Raceway Park for the 2007-2008 Formula Mazda Challenge Winter Series presented by Standing Start on November 17 and 18.

Hill, who finished 15th in the 2007 Formula BMW Championship while competing for Team KWA, qualified second for both events and drove smart races to record the double victories, putting a lap on the field in Saturday's event and taking advantage of a miscue by pole sitter Taylor Hacquard to jump to the front in Round Two.

"We were introduced to Mike through our driver coach Gord Bentley at Speed Secrets. We spent some time with him at our season ending race at Laguna Seca and have been working on a deal ever since," commented team owner John Walko. "Mike has had a lot of success in karting, racing in the competitive California karting scene. That area has produced some of the top drivers in Star Mazda recently so we hope that Mike can carry on that tradition."

Joining Hill on the podium for the opening round of the championship were World Speed Motorsports teammates Frank McCormick and Dave House after Hacquard, Hill and Hearn Motorsports driver Billy Goshen got tangled up on the opening lap with Goshen retiring on the spot and Hacquard pulling to a stop six laps later with mechanical trouble.

Sunday saw Hacquard and Hill forming the front row once again, with Hacquard stepping into McCormick's car for the event and building a lead early on in the 19 lap affair. A miscue by Hacquard allowed Hill to climb into the lead and he would hold the position for the remainder of the event, with Hacquard and Goshen completing the podium.

World Speed Motorsports driver Sean Prewett captured the Standard Formula Mazda class victories in both events.

On November 14th a half dozen drivers from three different teams took advantage of the Standing Start Driver Development Day which gave them one-on-one feedback and training designed to improve their on track performance. The Standing Start seminar day on the 15th was attended by drivers, coaches, engineers, and other race team personnel looking to achieve the highest levels of performance on and off the track.

Chris Brown, a seasoned MoTeC track support technician for MoTeC USA discussed how to get the most out of data acquisition systems. Chris also explained how to use the latest version of i2 Pro. Chris is an excellent teacher, and worked through the software for the novices in the group, and also took time to answer questions from the more advanced users.

Dean Golich of Carmichael Training Systems, the company that coached Lance Armstrong to seven Tour de France victories, spoke about specific fitness related to driving a race car and the importance of proper hydration. Dean, who is NASCAR star Carl Edwards' personal coach covered how heat affects your performance, the dangers of dehydration, and strategies to perform your best in the hostile environment of a race car.

"I attended both of the seminars, and really learned a lot from Chris and Dean. Both of these guys really know their stuff, and made it easy for all the attendees to see how important the smallest details are to building a team capable of winning a championship," stated WSM Operations Manager Mark Milazzo. "I have the utmost respect for Carmichael Training Systems and I would recommend them to any serious athlete. We have worked with Chris Brown and MoTeC for years and as always they provided an excellent product."

The series will now move to Firebird Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona, for Rounds 3 and 4 on December 7-9.

-credit: Formula Mazda Challenge

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Series Road racing
Drivers Carl Edwards , Billy Goshen , Chris Brown , Dave House