THE IRISH STEAMROLLER ROLLS ON, RECORDS FASTEST TIME IN FIRST STAR MAZDA PRACTICE SESSION AT ROAD ATLANTA
In a session scheduled for 45 minutes but truncated to 22 minutes due to an oil spill that went all the way from turn 3 to turn 11, Irishman Peter Dempsey continued his long run at the top of the time sheets again this morning at Road Atlanta, turning the fastest lap of 1:19.254 (115.376 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 on the morning time sheet was the driver in second place in the championship, Joel Miller, the 2007 Skip Barber Pro Series Champion and MAZDASPEED Motorsport Driver Development Ladder scholarship winner. He turned a lap of 1:19.548 (114.949 mph) in the #20 JDC Motorsports/Mazda/K&N Air Filters Mazda. Rounding out the top-3 was Englishman Charles Hall, with a lap of 1:19.581 (114.902 mph) in the #77 Andersen Racing/Blimpie/ AccentBanking.com/Allied Building Products Mazda. Hall won Round Three at Watkins Glen and currently sits fifth in the championship.
Also in the top-5 were 4th-fast John Edwards, the American racing for a Canadian team who sits third in the championship battle with three wins and four poles. He turned a lap of 1:19.644 (114.811 mph) in the #7 AIM Autosport/Mobil1 Mazda. Rounding out the top-5 was remarkable newcomer Valle Mäkelä , the Finnish driver who made his Star Mazda debut three weeks ago at New Jersey Motorsports Park, finishing 4th in Round 9 on Saturday and 7th on Round 10 on Sunday. He turned a lap of 1:19.874 (114.480 mph) in the #31 Andersen Racing / Amitec / Allied Interior Products Mazda.
Among the Expert (30 to 44) and Master Series (45 and older) drivers, the quickest was Master Series competitor Gerry Kraut with a 16th-fast lap of 1:21.525 (112.162 mph) in the #55 JDC Motorsports / Dougherty & Co. / Dougherty Funding LLC Mazda. The quickest Expert driver was Vancouver native Chris Cumming, who has already clinched the Expert Championship, with a 19th-fast time of 1:22.075 (111.926 mph) in the #16 World Speed Motorsports / Inviro Medical Mazda.
Star Mazda Championship practice at Road Atlanta continues this afternoon with a 45-minute session from 3:30 pm to 4:15 pm. 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.