|May 24 & 25, 1998 - Seattle International Raceway - Rounds Four and Five|
Lacy & Miller Split Seattle Double-Header
Sudden downpours mixed with clearing skies played havoc with the Northwest Region's double National slate, forcing Star Mazda officials to conduct both of the series races on Monday, after Sunday's efforts were washed out amid rain and confusion.
Despite the turmoil, both races were full of drama and excitement with Star Mazda Series points leader Ian Lacy splitting the wins at Seattle with Miller, thus retaining a one-point handle on the championship. An attempt to run the first Star Mazda race of the weekend was made on Sunday, as scheduled. But, that plan was scraped when it started to rain and drivers dashed into the pits to change tires. That chaos coupled with a four-car tangle on the track, forced race officials to red-flag the race. The ensuing confusion left region officials with just one option-scrape the race all together and run both events on Monday.
So, on Monday, another impressive contingent of 35 Formula Mazdas took to the track in the morning to contest the first race. Polesitter Lacy and fourth-fast qualifier Miller, battled back and forth until the mid-point of the 22-lap race when the pair bumped in Turn Two.
"I'll admit I didn't let him have that turn very easily," Miller said. There was contact between Lacy and Miller, which resulted in Lacy spinning. Miller's car was also slightly damaged, but he held onto the lead, which he defended from Jeff Bucknum at the checker.
So, one race down, one to go. By Monday afternoon, it looked like it was going to be a dry race ... until the grid started to form and the rain began to fall. As crews debated whether to change to rain set-ups, most drivers opted to stay on slicks. The race started, but the skies were ominous. On lap four, the pace car was dispatched when the drizzle turned into a downpour. But, just as fast as rain tires were mounted, it dried out again. Polesitter Lacy started on rains, pitted for slicks and then spent the rest of the race chasing down leader Kevin Jenkins, who had made the decision to stay on slicks. On the last lap, Lacy made the pass for the win.
Other Star Mazda drivers turned in impressive drives, including Nick Steele who came back from a disappointing 10th-place finish in the first race to place third, behind Jenkins, in the second round. Bucknum couldn't replicate his second-place finish in the first race, and ran 18th in the second race.
Top 10 Points Standings (After 5 of 13 rounds):
1. Lacy, 127; 2. Miller, 126; 3. Hall II, 104; 4. Muniz, 97; 5. Bucknum, 92; 6. Jenkins, 89; 7. Hand, 88; 8. Steele, 85; 9. Senske, 81; 10. Potekhen, 75.
Top 5 Master Series Point Standings (After 5 of 13 rounds):
1. Hatle, 72; 2. McCormick, 60; 3. Dick Downs, 52; 4. Hill, 49; 5. Weyland, 45.
|Finishing Order Round 4|
|6th||Jim Hall II|
|Time of Race: 30m40.547s
Race Average Speed: 98.819mph
Lap Leaders: Miller 1, 3-20; Bucknum 2
Fastest Lap: Lacy, 1:22.837 (97.783mph)
Margin of Victory: 0.663sec.
|Finishing Order Round 5|
|6th||Jim Hall II|
|Time of Race: 45m58.647s
Race Average Speed: 64.596mph
Lap Leaders: Jenkins 1-21; Lacy 22
Fastest Lap: Lacy, 1:22.619 (95.862mph)
Margin of Victory: 2.899sec