|June 25, 2000 - Willow Springs International Raceway|
Selby claims third victory of Season
Rookie Bryan Selby posted his third win of the 2000 Star Mazda Series West Division Championship, beating a 24-car field to the checker by more than four seconds. In all six West Division races run to date, the Troon Golf-sponsored Selby has posted top three finishes, including his three wins, a second and two thirds.
"We've mainly focused on setting up a balanced race car," said Selby, who is one of six drivers competing from under the Team Bucknum Racing tent. "I planned to run a steady pace, conserving the tires for the end if I needed them." Not bad strategy, considering the 100-plus temperatures and high wind conditions at the historic Rosamond, Calif., road course.
Finishing second, in only this third Star Mazda race, was Scott Jenkins. After an impressive third-fast qualifying effort, Jenkins benefited from a lap-three, off-course excursion by second-fast qualifier Mike Potekhen, and moved up to the runner-up spot behind Selby. "That really surprised me when Mike went off," Jenkins admitted.
World Speed's Scott Bradley pursued Jenkins closely for the entire
race, and closed to within a couple tenths over the last seven laps of the
26-lap event. Early in the race, however, Jenkins' transmission hung up on
the front straight, and Bradley bolted into third behind Selby and Potekhen
on lap two. Jenkins followed in fourth and fought back in Turn Nine, making
a pass to regain third as the pair entered Turn One. Back up front, Selby was holding off the hard-charging
Potekhen, whose Sports Car Ltd. mount looked to be the only car capable of racing
with Selby. Unfortunately, Potekhen's chances of catching Selby vanished
Selby was now all alone and focused on navigating traffic and conserving rubber. "Going green the whole way meant you really had to be concerned with tire wear," Selby said. "I kept it clean, got splits from the crew and made it through. Having a good, balanced car was the key."
Besides the Jenkins/Bradley duel, there were some other noteworthy battles on track, including great racing among Chris McMurry, David Sterenberg, Scott Kusy, Matt Beardsley, Alex Figge, Grant Ryley and Pierre Ehret. This pack roared down Willow's long front straight, three- and four-abreast several times, including a close-call between Beardsley and Ryley as the pair raced into Turn One. McMurry eventually pulled away and managed to work his way up to challenge Bradley for third. Likewise, Kusy found some daylight mid-race, running as high as fifth, just ahead of Ryley and Beardsley. This trio ran tight and were practically three-wide down the front straight and running out of racing room when Ryley and Beardsley touched wheels. Everyone held on, with Beardsley moving into fifth, followed now by Kusy and Ryley. However, because of the on-track contact and post-race confrontation between Beardsley and Ryley, both drivers were reprimanded and penalized by the series steward.
By the mid-point of the race, Potekhen was up to ninth and closing in on the Kusy/Sterenberg/Ryley/Beardsley battle, but another miscue--this time in Turn Three--dropped him 11th. The Phoenix race winner eventually raced back to cross the line in ninth. The always-improving Sterenberg, who teamed up with the Sports Car Ltd. crew this weekend, ran as high as fifth before a lap 14 off-course excursion in Turn Five dropped him a couple spots. "I just had a loose car the whole race," Sterenberg said. "Even when I was in that great race with Bob (Hatle), I was fighting the car."
With Selby comfortably out front, Jenkins' mission was to hold off Bradley. "We got into some lapped traffic and my tires starting getting hot," Bradley said. "I was hoping he could see me back there and that he would make a mistake, but he never did." Bradley backed off a little at the end, explaining in post-race impound that the gearbox in his car was starting to give him a little trouble. The only other driver to qualify well, but not finish in the top 10 was Figge, who dropped a spot on the start, but battled back only to lose positions with an understeering race car. He eventually finished a disappointing 21st.
Bryan Willman, Chris Emanuel and Will Hill raced hard for the last seven laps for what would eventually be 12th place. The trio exchanged positions several times throughout the final miles with all three making bold moves into Turn One. Bad luck struck several drivers, including Taylor Fletcher, who ran out of racing room in Turn Nine while dicing with Emanuel. The Bullet Racing Team driver sat idle for a couple laps, but got going again when a tow truck was dispatched. Jim Billys, driving with Tom Moore Autosports had an alternator go bad and completed just eight laps. Despite a couple off-course excursions, Larry Couture finished and learned a lesson. "Don't try a new line in the race," the Team Hope Racing driver said. And, despite a pesky head cold, Ginni Swanton persevered, finishing the race in 15th place.
In the championship points for the West Division, Selby maintains the points lead over Beardsley, 248 to 206 points. Bradley has moved into third with 199 points, followed by Ryley and McMurry, tied for fourth with 173 points each. Sterenberg remains in sixth with Masters Series points leader Hatle moving into seventh overall, followed by Dave McMillan, Ehret and Figge rounding out the top 10. In the Masters Series (drivers 45 and older), Emanuel is second behind Hatle with 91 points to Hatle's 112. Fletcher is still third with 59, but followed closely by Rick Waddell with 58 points. Michael Choquette rounds out the top five with 51 points.
The next round of the Star Mazda Series West Division will be held
July 8, on Mesa Marin's 1/2-mile paved oval. This will also be the finale in the Red Line Oil Oval Championship. In the current Red Line Oil point
standings, Beardsley leads with 40, followed by Bernardo Martinez and Selby, who are tied at
|Round 2 - Red Line Oil Oval Championship Official Results|
|Pos||Driver||Laps||Laps Led||Fast Lap|
|Round 6 - West Coast Series Points|
TOP 10 WEST DIVISION POINT STANDINGS
(After 6 of 11 rounds)
1. Selby, 248; 2. Beardsley, 206; 3. Bradley, 199; 4. Ryley, 173; McMurry, 173;
6. Sterenberg, 165; 7. Hatle, 152; 8. McMillan, 151; 9. Ehret, 148; 10. Figge,
TOP 5 MASTER SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP
(After 6 of 11 rounds)