FIRST BACK-TO-BACK WINNER OF 2008 STAR MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON
Irishman Peter Dempsey became the second two-time winner – and the first driver with back-to-back victories – with his victory in Round 7 of Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at the 39th annual GP3R. Finishing 2nd was the other two-race winner of the season, John Edwards in the #7 AIM Autosport Mazda. Rounding out the top-3 was Louisiana driver Alex Ardoin in the #51 Mundill Racing / Oral & Facial Surgery Center / Twister Trailer Mazda. Joining them on the podium was Expert Series winner Chris Cumming in the #16 World Speed Motorsports / Inviro Medical Mazda and Master Series victor Chuck Hulse in the #12 JDC Motorsports / Silicon Salvage Mazda.
Starting from the pole, the 22 year-old racer from Ashbourne, County Meath, Ireland, led flag-to-flag in the #21 Andersen Racing/LotusWorks/ Allied Building Products Mazda. In Round 6 last weekend at Road America, Dempsey scored his first win of the season starting from the outside of the front row.
"We had some good results early in the season with a podium and a couple of top-5s, but we hit a bad patch in both races at Portland," said Dempsey. "It was a fairly straight forward race from my perspective; I was able to pull out a little bit of a gap on John and just tried to maintain that until the end. The team and I are working very well together right now and the car is a pleasure to drive. I'm happy to be scoring these victories for my team, my sponsors and all my supporters back in Ireland. Hopefully we can go on to Mosport next weekend, have a similar result and get back into the championship battle."
The drama in the race, which ran fairly smoothly with just two full-course yellows and no major incidents, was the battle between Edwards and Ardoin, who moved into 2nd during the re-start on Lap 5, but was passed back by Edwards later the same lap. The duo battled nose-to-tail periodically throughout the race, ultimately finishing in the same order they qualified. Edwards won his first-ever Star Mazda Championship race, from the pole, at Miller Motorsports Park, followed by a victory in Race 2/Round 5 at the Mazda Grand Prix of Portland. Ardoin, a second-year driver in the series, won the 2007 season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and came to Trois Rivières 2nd in the championship.
Rounding out the top-5 at the GP3R were Joel Miller, winner from the pole of Round 1 at Sebring, and Charles Hall, who won Round 3 at Watkins Glen and came to Trois Rivières as the championship points leader. Miller, the 2007 Skip Barber Pro Series champion, is the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder and is racing the prize he won – a fully-sponsored season in the #20 JDC Motorsports / Mazda / K&N Air Filters Mazda. Hall, who was on track to an F1 career in Europe until an accident with a drunk driver put him in the hospital for a year, races the #77 Andersen Racing / Blimpie / AccentBanking.com/ Allied Building Products Mazda.
The 55-minute race, Round 7 of the 2008 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, scheduled to take the green flag at 11:15 am Sunday, August 17. The race will be broadcast on SPEED TV at 12 noon (ET), Saturday, August 30. Round 8 will take place next weekend at Mosport.