AT ROAD ATLANTA
Putting an exclamation point on his fastest time from the morning session (1:19.254 / 115.376 mph) Irishman Peter Dempsey turned the fastest lap in the afternoon session as well. Under near-perfect racing conditions, cool and dry with a slight breeze, Dempsey turned a 1:18.496 (116.490 mph) in the #21 Andersen Racing/ LotusWorks/Allied Building Products Mazda. Dempsey leads the Star Mazda championship battle with four wins in the last five races.
Second-quick, after trading fast laps several times during the 45-minute session, was MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder scholarship winner Joel Miller with a lap of 1:18.625 (116.299 mph) in the #20 JDC Motorsports / Mazda / K&N Air Filters Mazda. Miller, currently second in the championship battle, is the 2007 Skip Barber Pro Series Champion and MAZDASPEED Motorsport Driver Development Ladder scholarship winner.
Both times were under the fastest recorded lap of Road Atlanta by a Star Mazda Championship car; a 1:18.640 set (on much softer compound tires) by Scott Jenkins in 2005, but are not regarded as an official new lap record, which must be set in qualifying or the race.
Turning the third-fast time was John Edwards, moving up one spot on the time sheets from the morning session. The American, racing for a Canadian team, sits third in the championship battle with three wins and four poles. He turned a lap of 1:18.926 (115.855 mph) in the #7 AIM Autosport/Mobil1 Mazda. Turning an identical lap, to the nearest thousandth of a second, was Valle Mäkelä, the Finnish driver who made his Star Mazda debut three weeks ago at New Jersey Motorsports Park. He also turned a lap of 1:18.926 (115.855 mph) in the #31 Andersen Racing / Amitec / Allied Interior Products Mazda. Rounding out the top-5 was young Tom Gladdis, who won in Portland and sits sixth in the championship, with a lap of 1:18.972 (115.788 mph) in the #5 Andersen Racing / Law firm of Marrache & Co. / Allied Building Products Mazda
Among the Expert (30 to 44) and Master Series (45 and older) drivers, the quickest was Master Series competitor Chuck Hulse, who has already clinched the Master Series Championship with seven class wins. He turned a lap of 1:20.440 (113.675 mph) in the #12 JDC Motorsports / Silicon Salvage Mazda, a time good for 16th fast overall. The quickest Expert driver – as he was in the morning session -- was Vancouver native Chris Cumming, who has already clinched the Expert Championship. He set a lap of 1:20.961 (112.943 mph) in the #16 World Speed Motorsports / Inviro Medical Mazda, good for 18th fast overall.
Star Mazda Championship qualifying is scheduled to take place from 8:45 am to 9:30 am Thursday morning, October 2. In the afternoon, Star Mazda drivers will visit children at the Children's Hospital of Atlanta at Scottish Rite as part of the Racing 4 Kids program.
Round 11 of the 2008 Star Mazda Championship will take place at the ALMS Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta on October 3, with the green flag scheduled to wave at 4:30 Friday afternoon. The Road Atlanta race will be broadcast on SPEED TV Saturday, October 18 at 12:30 pm ET.
Race 1 / Round 9 from New Jersey Motorsports Park will air on SPEED TV Sunday, October 5 at 2:00 pm (ET), while Race 2 / Round 10 will be broadcast Sunday, October 12 at 1:00 pm (ET). . The 2008 Star Mazda Championship season finale takes place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on October 18.