|May 10, 1998 - Thunderhill Raceway Park - Round Three (21 Laps )|
|Two In A Row
Leading rookie-of-the-year contender Ian Lacy backed up his first Star Mazda win at Buttonwillow Raceway Park two weeks ago with another victory, this time at Thunderhill Park over San Francisco Region's re-scheduled National weekend. The Stacy Suspension Systems (S3) driver held off World Speed's rookie challenger Jeff Bucknum (son of F1, Indy car, Trans-Am and sports car legend Ronnie Bucknum) as well as current championship points leader Mike Miller to claim his second top podium finish of the year.
"I think the key to this particular race was conservation," Lacy said. "I had a little left for the end of the race, which is when I thought I'd need it, especially because Jeff and Mike were running so well."
Lacy and Bucknum exchanged the lead several times over the 63-mile race with Miller always close enough to take advantage. All drivers admitted the task of lapping traffic played a major role in the development of the race, but in the end, the good and bad breaks balanced out. "There were times when I could have opened it up a little," Lacy said. "But, I really couldn't pull away-at least this time."
Lacy started from the pole, claiming the position by more than a second over Bucknum and World Speed driver Miller. After an aborted start, Bucknum led the first official green lap, but Lacy came back to lead all but laps 13 and 14, which saw Bucknum out front. Miller, who was also very much in the race, set the fastest race lap-despite a loose shift linkage-while in pursuit of Lacy and Bucknum.
Behind the lead trio, Valley Motor Center's rookie driver Daniel Muniz held off regular series front-runner Michael Potekhen and another rookie contender, Joey Hand, for fourth place. Road racing veteran Jim Hall II re-gained his seventh-place starting position after fifth-fast qualifier Sara Senske dropped a couple places following a mid-race, off-track excursion. Senske, who drives under the Lynx Racing banner in an S3-prepared car, climbed back up to 10th, just behind Bob Negron and Brian Snyder.
Other interesting mid-pack races included the one between Valley Motor Center teammates Nick Steele and Scott Fullmer, who were also racing as part of the Synder-Senske-Matt Beardsley-Negron battle. Bad luck shadowed both Steele and Fullmer all weekend, but they both recovered to post top 15 finishes in the competitive 33-car field.
The next race on the Star Mazda Series' West Division schedule is a double-header at Seattle International Raceway-over Memorial Day weekend-in conjunction with an SCCA National.
|7th||Jim Hall II|
|34th||Ginni Swanton - DNS|
|Time of Race: 37m53.965s
Race Average Speed: 91.822mph
Lap Leaders: Bucknum 1, 13-14 Lacy 2-12, 15-21
Fastest Lap: Miller 1:47.814 (96.830mph)
Margin of Victory: 0.695sec