Liberty Motorsports St. Pete event report

LIBERTY MOTORSPORTS SCORES PODIUM FINISH IN USF2000 DEBUT Mansur finished third in Round One on St. Petersburg street circuit ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (March 30, 2010) - Liberty Motorsports full-time foray into pro junior formula car competition got...

LIBERTY MOTORSPORTS SCORES PODIUM FINISH IN USF2000 DEBUT
Mansur finished third in Round One on St. Petersburg street circuit

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (March 30, 2010) - Liberty Motorsports full-time foray into pro junior formula car competition got off to a highly successful start this weekend (March 27-28), with a podium finish in Round One of the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda. Terrick Mansur finished third in the opening race of the season-opening doubleheader on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., before backing it up with a superb recovery drive to fourth in race two. Matthew Powers in his first-ever car races, was involved in a first turn incident in race one, but recovered in race two with a top-10 finish.

After spending the past few months preparing and testing for the 2010 race season, Liberty Motorsports got its first chance to officially hit the track on Friday (March 26), via a pair of USF2000 practice sessions on the St. Petersburg street circuit. As planned, both Mansur and Powers utilized the sessions to get further acclimated to their Liberty Motorsports steeds, as well as determine the best setups for the fast and bumpy street circuit.

When the lone qualifying session got underway one day later, the Liberty Motorsports duo were confident they could post solid times, securing good starting positions for both race one later in the day and race two on Sunday morning. While neither Mansur nor Powers achieved the outright speed they desired during the session - posting the seventh and 10th quickest times - both talented young drivers felt they had cars that could move forward come race time.

Only a few hours after qualifying was completed, the start to Round One of the revitalized USF2000 National Championship proved eventful for both Liberty Motorsports racers. For Mansur, everything went according to plan, as he quickly positioned his No. 14 Liberty Motorsports Van Diemen supported by Aruba.com within the top-five. Unfortunately, Powers was not as fortunate, as a flat tire on his No. 41 Liberty Motorsports Van Diemen resulted in the Californian going off-course in the first turn, and subsequently retiring from his first-ever car race prematurely.

Thanks in part to an early-race yellow flag bunching the field back together, Mansur was well positioned to fight for top honors when the race action resumed. The Aruban standout promptly made the most of the opportunity, battling his way into the top-three. While unable to challenge the runaway leader for the win, Mansur diced for second place all the way to the checkered flag, eventually crossing the stripe in third, giving Liberty Motorsports a podium finish in its USF2000 National Championship debut.

With each driver's fast time from Round One setting the grid for race two of the St. Pete doubleheader, Round Two commenced with Mansur and Powers starting fifth and 11th respectively. In a reversal of fortunes, the second start of the weekend witnessed Powers getting away cleanly to advance several positions, while Mansur was sent off-course due to contact with another car. Fortunate to have not suffered any significant damage, the race one podium finisher rejoined the race at the rear of the field. Taking advantage of two full-course cautions for separate incidents, Mansur charged his way back up the timing charts. Regularly turning times on par with the leaders, Mansur made his way all the way back to fourth place when the checkered flag fell to end the 20-lap race. Powers likewise enjoyed a strong run on Sunday, battling for positions just outside of the top-five until a late race spin relegated him to 10th at the stripe.

"Brian [Belardi] and I are very proud of the entire Liberty Motorsports organization," said Liberty Motorsports Team Manager Chuck Lessick. "From our drivers, who never stopped hustling for fast race laps, to the crew who worked tirelessly on optimizing the cars' set-ups, we were able to achieve very respectable results in our first outing at this level. We realize there is much more work to be done and are already working on refining the organization to assure Liberty Motorsports is a serious contender in the championship fight."

-source: liberty motorsports

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Series USF2000