Edwards on Star Mazda Pole



American John Edwards completed 2/3rds of his weekend mission by setting the quickest time in both pre-race practice sessions and then putting his #7 AIM Autosport Mazda on the pole with a lap of 1:15.890 (116.648 mph) for the start of yesterday afternoon's Round 8 of the 2008 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at the Mobil1 Grand Prix of Mosport.  this is his third pole of the 2008 season, including Miller Motorsports Park and Road America.

Starting on the outside of the front row for the 45-minute race will be fellow American Joel Miller with a lap literally a hair slower – 0.081 sec. – in the #20 JDC Motorsports / Mazda / K&N Air Filters Mazda.   Starting third on the grid will be the winner of the last two races in a row, Irishman Peter Dempsey.  His lap of 1:16.077 (116.361 mph) in the #21 Andersen Racing / LotusWorks/ Allied Building Products Mazda was just 0.187 sec. off the pole time… in fact, the first nine cars in the field were separated by less than one second.

Rounding out the top-5 are Tom Gladdis with a lap of 1:16.186 (116/195 mph) in the #5 Andersen Racing / Marrache & Co. / Allied Building Products Mazda and current championship points leader Charles Hall, who turned a lap of 1:16.197 (116.178 mph) in the #77 Andersen Racing / Blimpie / AccentBanking.com/ Allied Building Products Mazda.  All the drivers in the top-5 are race winners this season.  Edwards was the first two time-winner with a victory from the pole in his first-ever Star Mazda Championship race at Miller Motorsports Park, followed by a win in Round 5 / Race 2 at the Mazda Grand Prix of Portland. 

Joel Miller, the 2007 Skip Barber Pro Series champion and winner of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder scholarship, won the season-opener in Sebring and is third in the championship.  Dempsey became the second two-time winner this season with back-to-back victories in Round 6 at Road America and a win from the pole in Round 7 at Trois Rivieres; he now sits fourth in the championship.  Charles Hall won Round 3 at Watkins Glen and has scored four podium finishes and two top-5s. 

The top-qualifying Expert Series driver (ages 30 to 44) was Phil Fogg, Jr. with a lap of 1:16.707 (115.405 mph) in the #29 Northwest Autosport / Consonus Health Services Mazda.   His time puts him 7th on the starting grid.  Like Edwards, Fogg was fast in practice and he is third in the Expert Series championship with one class win and three class top-3 finishes.  The top-qualifying Expert Series driver (45 and older), is Gerry Kraut.  His lap of 1:17.937 (113.584 mph) in the #55 JDC Motorsports / Dougherty & Co. / Dougherty Funding LLC Mazda will see him starting 15th on the 21-car grid.  Kraut is co-owner of the championship-winning JDC motorsports team and is second in the Master Series championship with one class win and five top-3 in class finishes.