|May 20-21 - Thunderhill Raceway Park|
Selby Two-For-Two In Double Race Weekend
Bryan Selby on both Star Mazda races at Thunderhill Park, May 20-21. From the pole on Saturday, Team Bucknum Racing's Selby led World Speed's Grant Ryley and Chantz Wade to the checker. On Sunday, Wade claimed the pole, but Selby took over the lead on lap six to finish first ahead of Wade and Valley Motor Center's Matt Beardsley.
Overcoming a challenging weekend that featured not only two races, but also 90-plus degree temperatures and high humidity, teams and drivers focused on reliability and tire management. "It was a long, hard, hot weekend," said series administrator Gary Rodrigues. "Everyone certainly earned what they got."
On Saturday, polesitter Selby led World Speed teammates Ryley and Alex Figge to the green. Unfortunately, fourth-fast qualifier Beardsley went off in Turn One while avoiding a slightly crossed-up Figge, displacing both front wings on his Valley Motor Center racer and eventually falling back to 11th. Up front, Selby was holding off Ryley and Figge with series newcomer Scott Jenkins-who was also joined by new driver Aaron Ogus-moving up from sixth to challenge the leaders. Rounding out the top five was Team
Bucknum's Pierre Ehret, who was racing Wade, Scott Bradley and David Sterenberg before a spin on lap five sent Ehret back to 10th. Other early developments included the first-lap departure of Bryan Willman, who headed to the pits with an over-heating motor. Then, just four laps later, teammate Ginni Swanton spun off Turn One in avoidance of another driver and couldn't get re-started. At this time, Beardsley pitted for a new nose, re-joining the pack in last place on lap six.
Racing continued with Selby up front, heading Ryley, Figge and Bradley, who took over fourth place from Jenkins when the 17-year-old rookie driver spun back to 12th. A full-course yellow was called on lap 11 when Frank McCormick spun, catching Beardsley, who managed to set second fast time of the race with his new nose, in the miscue. Unfortunately, both cars were in dangerous spots and had to be removed, which meant the field was under yellow for six laps.
On the restart, Figge spun off Turn One, losing his podium position to Wade. On the same lap, Ehret and McMurry went off in Turn Eight when Dave Lewis tried an inside move and dropped two wheels in the dirt. All three cars lost control and parked off course, while Lewis' stalled racer started a small grass fire, slightly damaging the car. With this incident, the caution came out again, and the race ended under yellow.
"We were lucky enough to land on a good set-up that saved the tires," said Jeff Bucknum of Selby's Team Bucknum Racing winning run on Saturday. "The key on Saturday was a balanced car and Bryan's racing decisions."
Telo Stewart, who manages the World Speed camp and oversaw the second-, third- and fourth-place finishers on Saturday, agreed with Bucknum's assessment that tire management was crucial. "Tires were a big deal this weekend," Stewart said. "Keeping a right-front tire under the car was the hardest part."
For Sunday's race, Wade claimed the pole by a scant 0.009sec over the impressive Jenkins. Selby qualified fourth, after "roasting" a front tire in the qualifying session, according to Bucknum. "For some reason the car picked up an understeer," Bucknum said about Selby's car. "We ended up with a completely different set-up on it for Sunday's race."
Ryley set fourth-fast time with the persistent Beardsley claiming fifth on the grid. Things got fairly interesting very quickly, however, with Ryley upside down in Turn Nine on the first lap after the green. Racing side-by-side with Beardsley through Turn Three, the pair touched and Ryley dropped wheels in the dirt, falling back to around 15th place. Recovered and trying to regain his lost positions, Ryley looked inside two slower cars in Turn Nine, but backed off from making the pass just as one of the drivers slid in front of him. The contact sent Ryley into two-and-a-half, end-over-end tumbles in the dirt. Fortunately, Ryley was not seriously injured, but his race car was done for the day ... and likely forever.
It took a few of laps to clear the track, but when racing resumed, Selby chased Wade for a couple laps until the pair entered Turn Two. When the cars reappeared from behind the hill, Selby was out front and Wade was in second. Selby pulled away slightly, with Wade first holding off Jenkins, then Beardsley, who was determined to post a good finish after a disappointing outcome on Saturday. Sterenberg hounded Beardsley and drove a second great race, but ran out of time to make a run at the podium when the checker flew on lap 20.
Scott Kusy turned in two top 10 finishes-fifth on Saturday and sixth on Sunday. With a new motor, Willman raced from 19th to 11th on Sunday with teammates Ehret and Swanton recovering from early separate incidents to finish eighth and 13th, respectively.
World Speed's Figge repeated his Saturday performance by getting up to third from his 10th-place starting position, which was attributed to the battery box breaking and ripping the connecting wire. Then, in the race, according to Stewart, Figge's tires got greasy and he fell back to 15th at the checker. Scott Bradley battled back to seventh after losing not only a front wing on the first lap, but radio communication with the World Speed crew. Bradley wisely pitted on his own, got a new nose and raced back to finish seventh. Ehret also had a better day with an eighth-place finish. Chris McMurry and Dave McMillan rounded out Sunday's top 10.
In the tight championship calculations, rookie Selby leads Ryley, 166 to 133 points. Wade is third with 131 points, followed by Bradley at 130 and Beardsley at 129. In the Master Series (drivers 45 and older), Hatle retained the lead with 76 points. Chris Emanuel is second at 64 and Michael Choquette has moved into third with 39 points.
The fifth round of the Star Mazda Series West Division and second round of the Red Line Oil Oval Championship will be held June 3, at Irwindale Speedway in Southern California. For more information about the Star Mazda Series West Division, log on to the Star Mazda Series website at www.starmazda.com or contact series administrator Gary Rodrigues at (818) 909-5319. -Jane Anderson
|Round 3 - Western Championship Official Results|
|Pos||Driver||Laps||Laps Led||Difference||Fast Lap|
|13||Jim Billys||17||---1 lap||1:54.901|
|16||Chris McMurry||16||-- 2 laps||1:51.103|
|19||Frank McCormick||10||-- 8 laps||1:53.108|
|21||Larry Couture||9||-- 9 laps||1:56.241|
|22||Ginni Swanton||5||-- 13 laps||1:54.691|
|23||Bryan Willman||1||-- 17 laps||2:02.764|
Race 3 Lap Chart
|Round 4 - Western Championship Official Results|
|Pos||Driver||Laps||Laps Led||Difference||Fast Lap|
|16||Bob Hatle||19||-- 1 lap||1:52.484|
|21||Grant Ryley||--||-- 20 laps||--|
Race 4 Lap Chart
|Round 3 and 4 - Western Championship Points|
TOP 10 WEST DIVISION POINT STANDINGS
(After 4 of 12 rounds)
1. Selby, 166; 2. Ryley, 133; 3. Wade, 131; 4. Bradley, 130; 5. Beardsley, 129;
6. Sterenberg, 119; 7. McMurry, 110; 8. McMillan, 102; 9. Hatle, 101; 10. Figge, 98.
TOP 5 MASTER SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP
(After 4 of 12 rounds):
1. Hatle, 76; 2. Emanuel, 64; 3. Choquette, 39; 4. Waddell, 35; 5. Fletcher.