|September 3 - Texas Motor Speedway (Round 4 Best Western Championship)|
Ryley Adds Second Consecutive Win To Hot Streak
It was the hottest it's been in Central Texas for as long as anyone can remember, but Grant Ryley made a conscious decision to ignore the heat and claimed his second consecutive Star Mazda Series Best Western Championship win. Following polesitter Ryley across the finish line was Bernardo Martinez and then a close battle for third among Chantz Wade, David Sterenberg, Scott Bradley, Jason LaPoint and Alex Figge. Wade held off numerous challenges, especially from Sterenberg, to eventually claim the final podium position.
"At one point in the race I thought it was really hot, but I canceled it out of my mind and just focused on my laps," said Ryley. "For sure, one of the keys was staying focused in the heat. I actually didn't realize how hot I was until I got out of the car."
The heat played havoc with everything from tires, to engines, to drivers and crew members. If it wasn't overheating motors or blistered tires, it was fading people that challenged the teams. By racetime, 11:15 a.m., it was already nearing 100 with similar levels of humidity ... in the shade.
Utilizing Texas Motor Speedway's new interior road course and almost all of the mile-and-a-half oval, the "roval" equaled 2.324 miles. The Star Mazda Series elected not to run the temporary chicane, constructed at the end of the front straight, before Turn One. The configuration made for interesting racing as drivers could take advantage of the draft as well as out-braking maneuvers in the infield turns. An early green was shown to the 35 drivers, thought Ryley, which he admitted caught him off-guard. "We were still on the banking when the green came out," the World Speed driver said. "I think it was about 15sec too early because I was hoping for something similar to the ALMS start ... right before the start/finish line."
Martinez got the better start and took off with Ryley in tow. As they raced around the north end of the oval (NASCAR Turns Three & Four), Ryley went to the outside and passed Martinez to officially lead the first lap. Martinez, however, tucked in right behind Ryley, eventually drafting by to take back the lead as the pair exited the road course's Turn Seven Shadowing the Team Bucknum driver wasn't part of Ryley's plan, although he tried to remain patient while waiting for the next overtaking opportunity. "When Chantz looked under me in Turn Four, I knew I couldn't wait any longer," Ryley said. "I had to get back around Bernardo and work on pulling away."
Martinez led until lap six when Ryley went to the outside on the south end of the oval and made it stick as the pair dove onto the infield road course. From then on, Ryley concentrated on pulling away from Martinez and distancing himself from the fierce battle for third. Just past the halfway point, the leaders encountered lapped traffic, most of whom were engaged in races of their own. "The lapped cars I came upon were all two-car battles and I needed to make some good decisions because I didn't want to upset their race, but I also wanted to get by on the banking," Ryley explained. At this point, Martinez may have lost some ground to the leader, unable to pass after having caught some of the lapped traffic in the infield.
Behind Ryley and Martinez, the best race was for third with Wade holding off a pesky and persistent Sterenberg, who had qualified an impressive third. Bradley, LaPoint and Figge, who'd recovered quickly from a lap one incident, eventually caught the four-car train and looked set to challenge for the position. Bradley had a great weekend, thanks, he said, to a perfectly set-up race car. For LaPoint, it was a matter of survival. On the grid, the Valley Motor Center team discovered a slow leak in LaPoint's right-rear tire, but didn't have time to change it. Somehow, the tire held, only blistering toward the end of the 21 laps.
Rounding out the top 10 finishers were Mike Potekhen, who battled with the improving 17-year-old Scott Jenkins and this year's Southwest Series Formula Mazda champion and Texas favorite Quad Boenker to the checker.
In the Best Western points championship, Martinez moves into first over Ryley, 155 to 152, respectively. LaPoint is third with 147 points to Bradley's 138. Rounding out the top five is Wade with 115 points. The fifth round of the Star Mazda Series Best Western Championship is this weekend, Sept. 10, at Portland International Raceway, in conjunction with another American LeMans event. The Speedvision telecast, featuring commentators Derek Daly and Johnny O'Connell, of this race will be shown Sept. 29, at 10:30 p.m. EDT; and then again Sept. 30, at 2:30 a.m. EDT. Please check your local listings to confirm the dates and airtimes.
For more information about the Star Mazda Series Best Western Championship, please contact series administrator Gary Rodrigues at (818)
909-5319. --Jane Anderson
ROUND 4, STAR MAZDA SERIES BEST WESTERN CHAMPIONSHIP
SUNDAY, SEPT. 2, 2000/TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY (2.324-mile road course)
Driver (Sponsors/Team) qualifying time. All drive Star Formula Mazdas with 13B Mazda rotary engines on Goodyear tires.
QUALIFYING: Grant Ryley (Cupertino Electric, Del Monaco Specialty Foods/World Speed Motorsports) 1:22.064; 2. Bernardo Martinez (3-Dimensional Services/Team Bucknum Racing) 1:22.244; 3. David Sterenberg (Stockbridge Capital/Star Mountain Racing) 1:22.351; 4. Chantz Wade (Shames Construction, Advanced Micro Devises/World Speed Motorsports) 1:22.486; 5. Scott Bradley (Polycom, Radvision/World Speed Motorsports) 1:22.583; 6. Alex Figge (Zerowait, Bell Helmets, Seattime/World Speed Motorsports) 1:22.646 7. Scott Jenkins (A.G.G., PPTI Transport/Jenkins Racing) 1:22.709; 8. Bryan Selby (Troon Golf, Red Line Oil, A Graphics Solution/Team Bucknum Racing) 1:22.790; 9. Jason LaPoint (Thrasher Skateboard Magazine, Trackmagic Karts/Valley Motor Center) 1:22.896; 10. Mike Potekhen (Troon Golf, Twin Seasons Vacations, Sports Car Ltd./Star Mountain Racing) 1:22.913; 11. Chris McMurry (Fairytale Brownies, Northern Trust Bank, Washburn Dev., McMurry Publishing & Advertising/Team Bucknum Racing) 1:22.948; 12. Matt Beardsley (Alpine Bank, Land Title/Valley Motor Center) 1:23.309; 13. Quad Boenker (Al Boenker Insurance, NEO Synthetic Oil/Al Boenker Racing) 1:23.433; 14. Russell Wiseman (Nucentrix Broadband Networks/Texas Autosports) 1:24.018; 15. Al Boenker III (Al Boenker Insurance, NEO Synthetic Oil/Al Boenker Racing) 1:24.025; 16. Chad Block (Minolta, Autosporttuning/Valley Motor Center) 1:24.071; 17. Dick Downs (Hormel Foods, Olympic Foods/Eurosport Racing) 1:24.175; 18. Scott Kusy (Troon Golf/Team Bucknum Racing) 1:24.222; 19. Steve Lopez (Speedvision, Botti Seats/Valley Motor Center) 1:24.250; 20. Dan Weyland (Western Eagle Racing/Eurosport Racing) 1:24.321; 21. Doug Peterson (3-Dimensional Services, Urgent Plastic Services/Formula Cars East) 1:24.595; 22. Tom Mabey (Sahara Pro Planners & Builders, Larry H. Miller Automotive Group/Rocky Mountain Motorsports) 1:24.717; 23. Nur Ali (Budweiser, BG Oil, Hi-Line Transport, Clark Brothers Paint & Body/Ali Motorsports) 1:24.892; 24. John Pestotnik (Performance Plumbing/Eurosport Racing) 1:24.898; 25. Steve Cook (EBI Medical, Ascension Orthopaedics/Al Boenker Racing) 1:25.010; 26. Michael Choquette (Heitmann Appraisal Group/Choquette Racing) 1:25.298; 27. Emmett Murphy (Motorsports Ranch, Performance Driving School/Texas Autosports) 1:25.372; 28. Rick Waddell (Mbox Design, Northwest Speedwerx/World Speed Motorsports) 1:25.568; 29. Ginni Swanton (Speedware/Team Bucknum Racing) 1:25.712; 30. Todd Garner (Labadie Homes, Lone Star Ranch/Texas Autosports) 1:25.829; 31. Dan Tomlin III (Lone Star Ranch, Land Advisors Inc./Texas Autosports) 1:26.206; 32. Dick Doty (Sensonics Inc., www.smelltest.com)/Eurosports, Fast Cat) 1:26.291; 33. Greg Byrne (Wings of Eagles Racing/Texas Autosports) 1:26.970; 34. Steve Golden (Texas Autosports) 1:27.880; 35. Justin Pestotnik (Performance Plumbing/Eurosport Racing) no time.
TIME OF RACE: 28m57.990s
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 4.519sec
RACE AVERAGE SPEED: 94.664mph
FASTEST RACE LAP: Martinez 1:21.731 (102.365mph)
LAP LEADERS: Ryley 1; Martinez 2-5; Ryley 6-21
|Round 3 - Best Western Championship Official Results|
|Pos||Driver||Laps||Laps Led||Difference||Fast Lap|
|1||Grant Ryley||21||1,6-21||- - -||1:21.735|
|22||Steve Cook||20||- 1 lap -||1:24.704|
|23||Dan Tomlin II||20||1.227||1:24.975|
|32||Ginni Swanton||19||- 2 laps -||1:25.794|
|34||Emmett Murphy||3||- 18 laps -||1:26.260|
|35||John Pestotnik||1||- 20 laps -||2:20.412|
|Round 4 - Best Western Championship Points|
STAR MAZDA SERIES BEST WESTERN
CHAMPIONSHIP TOP 10 POINT STANDINGS
(After 4 of 8 rounds):
1. Martinez, 155; 2. Ryley, 152; 3. LaPoint,
147; 4. Bradley, 138; 5. Wade, 115; 6. Beardsley & Boenker, 105; 8. Lopez,
98; 9. Figge, 94; 10. Sterenberg, 92.
TOP 5 MASTERS SERIES POINT STANDINGS
(After 4 of 8 rounds):
1. Peterson, 68; 2. Cook, 47; 3. Downs & Mabey, 46; 5. Choquette, 42.