Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Championship Battle Heats Up At Mosport Bowmanville, ONT (13 June 2009) --While the two leaders in the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Championship battle, Andrew Caddell and Ted Anthony, Jr., have moved clear of...
Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Championship Battle Heats Up At Mosport
Bowmanville, ONT (13 June 2009) --While the two leaders in the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Championship battle, Andrew Caddell and Ted Anthony, Jr., have moved clear of the field to make it likely a two-man race for the title, the battle for third in the championship standings is still wide open with five different drivers poised to vie for the spot.
As the Mustang Challenge prepares to stage round 7 of the 2009 season this weekend at Mosport International Raceway, the drivers will have plenty on their mind as they look to not only score strong results in the 45-minute race on Sunday, but will also be thinking about the championship implications along the way.
Dan Aweida (213), Homestead pole sitter Joe Lee Middlebrooks (204), Steve Phillips (194), Pratt Cole (192), and Jason von Kluge (185) are all looking to position themselves to score the final podium spot on the championship rostrum by the time of the season-closing celebration banquet at Miller Motorsport Park.
"My target is to stay third in this championship," said Aweida. "It might seem like Ted and Andrew are too far gone to catch up and it'd take something spectacular to catch up, but this is racing so you just never know. I was really excited to be on the podium in New Jersey and a top three is the goal every race weekend, but I also know that if I can finish in the top five, that's going to pay off in the points as well. I just want to stay consistent. I've missed a couple of opportunities for positions here and there this year, so I just want to make sure that I'm getting the most out of each of these last four races."
After being a podium regular for much of the 2008 Mustang Challenge season, Cole didn't get a strong launch out of the box to start the 2009 championship, but is now feeling like he's ready to close the year out in fast form.
"I had a really frustrating first half of the season," said Cole. "I thought the problem was me, but it was with the car so that's got me back to performing the way I know I can. I fully plan on hounding Andrew and Ted. I led here (Mosport) last year and I really like this place. It's an old school track and hasn't been dumbed down like some other tracks. It's got a lot of speed and thrills for the drivers. I'm also looking forward to Mid-Ohio because I've won there before as well, so I just want to make the most of these two weekends now that things are back to 100% with my car."
While Cole has lots of laps at Mosport, two of the championship runners will be looking to learn on the fly this weekend.
"Getting in the top five makes me pretty happy, but I also really want to get back on the podium," said von Kluge. "It was good to do that in New Jersey and get that monkey off my back. I'm not sure that this will be the best place for me because I just don't have any experience on this track, but I'm going to learn what I can and try to lean on (Mustang Challenge Driver Coach) Scott Maxwell and pick up as much as I can learn about this place and hopefully make some ground up in the championship."
Another driver with no illusions about the challenges that lie in the form of the twists and high-speed turns on Mosports 2.459-mile track is Steve Phillips, who has flourished with speed and consistency since joining Capaldi Racing in his Carolina Motorsports Park-liveried No. 22 Mustang.
"This is my first race weekend on this track, so I am really not that concentrated on this event in terms of the championship," said Phillips. "I'm just focused on getting better, every session and doing a better job in the car. I'm working with Brian Smith and he's helping me a lot and just helping me to be aware of everything that's going on around me all the time. This is a different place-things happen quickly here so you just have to build up to it."
Practice Wrap-up: The timing sheets in Saturday's two practice sessions saw some familiar times, as Caddell and Anthony Jr. were both atop the sheets as the two were both well under the qualifying track record set last year.
Sunday will be a busy day for the Mustang Challenge racers as qualifying will set the grid at 8:30 AM, with the race coming shortly thereafter at 11:00 AM.