2001 Results - Star Mazda Series - North American Series

July 19-21
Sears Point Raceway

Last Lap maneuver nets Jenkins victory at Sears Point

After more than a three-month hiatus, the Star Mazda Series North American Championship returned to racing with an impressive field of 45 drivers on hand to tackle the always-demanding 2.52-mile road course at Sears Point Raceway.  The professional side of the Star Mazda Series, run in conjunction with Professional Sports Car Racing at American Le Mans Series weekends, left off at Sebring in March with Valley Motor Center's Chad Block recording his first "pro" win and World Speed's Scott Bradley leading the points. 

Since then, the various regional Star Mazda Series have been active while drivers waited for the North American Championship to resume. With more than half the season left, the championship is definitely up for grabs, especially for drivers like Sears Point winner Scott Jenkins. "I guess I'm just having one of those incredible years," said the 19-year-old Team Bucknum Racing driver, whose race record to date includes seven wins and six poles in the West Division Star Mazda Series, as well as the 2001 Red Line Oil Oval Championship title (contested within the West Division schedule).

News of the big field of Star Mazda drivers spread throughout the Sears Point paddock, even attracting compliments from ALMS' Don Panoz, who stopped by the Star Mazda drivers meeting Saturday morning. "I just want to tell all of you how pleased I am to see so many of you participating in this great series," Panoz said. "Had I known this was going to be so terrific, I would have encouraged Gary (Rodrigues) to name it the Star Mazda Esperante Series!"

Heading all but one of the three official practice sessions, Jenkins qualified off-pole to start beside fast-time setter Oliver Rowen. Current points leader Bradley posted third-quick time with West Division
points leader Moses Smith in fourth. Rounding out the top five qualifiers was last year's Sears Point race winner Matt Beardsley.

Lined up to commence the two pace laps, the field stretched from start/finish nearly back to Turn 11. At the green, Rowen took the lead as the cars wound up the hill into Turn Two, where everyone making it through except for 11th-place qualifier Michael Stephens, who tangled with Robert
Niles. The race continued and so did Niles, but Racers Edge Motorsports' Stephens was done for the day.

On lap three, however, J.R. Osborne went off course and ended up in the tires in Turn Eight, forcing officials to call for a full-course yellow. Looking over the field, Beardsley was up to third, but under the
yellow, headed for the pits with a flat left-front tire. Five laps later, the green was out again with Rowen heading Jenkins, Smith, Bradley and Block. Also moving up was Marc De Vellis, who'd come from 16th on the grid to run sixth.

The race didn't stay green for long as Niles was collected by Dan Weyland, who lost control in the Carousel. Fortunately, Niles was OK, but ended up in the tire wall and needed assistance. Weyland continued, minus a front wing. Just two laps later, however, racing resumed on lap 12, but it was short-lived as a full-course yellow was needed to clean up after Marek Rybkowski went into and dislodged the tires at Turn 10. Luckily, the Denver police officer was OK, and he managed to drive his crippled Eurosports Racing car to "Gilligan's Island" while crews cleared the racing surface. Beardsley also headed into the pits, this time for good, with a jammed shifting mechanism.

With six laps remaining, the green came out again with Rowen still holding off Jenkins' advances. The pair ran nose-to-tail as the white flag was shown for the last lap. When the pair emerged from behind the Turn 10 wall, everyone in the pit lane watched as Jenkins looked inside Turn 11 for Rowen to leave a hole. "I thought that would be the best turn," Jenkins said. "I knew I could go in deeper and when he got a little loose under braking and tried to protect the inside line, I had good momentum and just
got going."

Out of Turn 11, the pair were side-by-side, although Jenkins looked to have the edge and cleared Rowen as they headed to the finish. "I didn't think it was as close as it was," said Rowen, who did set the race's fast lap while holding off Jenkins on lap 18. "I didn't want to protect the inside line so much that I couldn't get out of the turn, but it didn't work."

Crossing the line in third was Smith, who posted his first podium finish for the new SierraSierra Enterprises Star Mazda team, comprised of Smith and teammate Frank Bain. "I was hoping to run with Rowen and Jenkins, but Scott (Bradley) kept me busy," Smith said. "He was quick in 11 and I
was faster in Seven, so in the end we were pretty even all over the track." Bradley, who holds onto his points lead as the series heads to Portland (Aug. 4), was hoping for some more racing laps. "I think a few more green laps would have helped," Bradley said. "When those cautions came out the car was just getting good."

Rounding out the top five was De Vellis, whose privateer team struggled all weekend with a down-on-power motor. "We finally got the chassis hooked up and more consistent power," said the 18-year-old Canadian. "The race was great. All my passes were clean and the guys gave me lots of running room so we're really pleased, especially because we worked so hard for this one."

Other notable drives were turned in by JZ Racing's Tom Woods, who started 44th, but finished 11th after a post-qualifying mechanical infraction erased his third-fast time. Valley Motor Center's J.J. Fisher left the track Thursday not feeling well and later checked himself into a local hospital with pneumonia. Once released and pumped with fluids, the Tyler, Texas, driver returned for Saturday's race, where he started last and finished an impressive 14th. Adding to the international flavor of the
series, Luis Schiavo, of Caracas, Venezuela, finished 10th after posting eighth-fast qualifying time. Also joining the Star Mazda contingent, was Trans-Am driver Tomy Drissi, who rented one of Jennings Motorsports' spare cars for some extra seat time during practice and qualifying. He enjoyed the car so much, he decided to race, even after a grueling Trans-Am event earlier in the day.

The Speedvision telecast of the Sebring race, featuring commentator Greg Creamer and pit reporter Calvin Fish, will be shown Monday, Aug. 20, at 8 p.m. and 12 a.m. on Aug. 21, Eastern time, and during prime time on the West Coast (5 p.m. and 9 p.m.). Please check your local listings to
confirm the dates, airtimes and any repeat broadcasts.

The next race is Aug. 4, at Portland International Raceway, in conjunction with the ALMS slate of races. For more information about the Star Mazda Series North American Championship, please log on to the Star Mazda Series website at www.starmazda.com or contact series administrator
Gary Rodrigues at (818) 909-5319.--Jane Anderson

TIME OF RACE: 45m53.086s 
FASTEST RACE LAP: Rowen, 1:35.940 (94.560mph) 
LAP LEADERS: Rowen 1-21; Jenkins 22

Provisional Race Results

Event: Sears Point 2001
Run: Saturday Race
Date: 7/21/2001
Time: 4:30:00 PM
Pos. No. Name Laps Diff. Time Best Laptime Hometown
1 31 Scott Jenkins 22 -- 22 laps -- 01:36.044 Portland, Ore.
2 11 Oliver Rowen 22 0.239 01:35.940 San Francisco, Calif.
3 76 Moses Smith 22 4.348 01:36.637 Chandler, Ariz.
4 14 Scott Bradley 22 4.667 01:36.607 Redwood City, Calif.
5 67 Marc  De Vellis 22 5.19 01:36.500 Burnaby, B.C.
6 32 Chad  Block 22 6.642 01:36.847 York, Pa.
7 82 Guy Cosmo 22 9.187 01:37.140 Long Island, NY
8 77 Scott Kusy 22 11.532 01:37.619 Scottsdale, Ariz.
9 10 Chris McMurry 22 11.908 01:37.368 Phoenix, Ariz.
10 81 Luis Schiavo 22 13.41 01:37.795 Caracas, Ven.
11 96 Tom Woods 22 13.502 01:37.197 Discovery Bay, Calif.
12 37 Bob Negron 22 18.043 01:38.343 San Jose, Calif.
13 97 Ed Zabinski 22 19.794 01:37.584 Monterey, Calif.
14 22 J.J. Fischer 22 20.21 01:37.885 Tyler, Texas
15 71 Mike Choquette 22 27.696 01:38.186 Santa Barbara, Calif.
16 56 Dan  Tomlin III 22 34.334 01:39.540 Dallas, Texas
17 48 Mike  Anderson 22 35.574 01:40.219 Anza, Calif.
18 78 Brad  Drew 22 36.519 01:39.763 Everett, Wash.
19 65 Rob Walker 22 37.116 01:39.798 Portland, Ore.
20 55 Tom Sporney 22 37.599 01:39.811 Parker, Colo.
21 59 Bryan Willman 22 37.85 01:39.693 Kirkland, Wash.
22 69 Aaron Ogus 22 39.025 01:39.453 Toronto, Ont.
23 17 Rick Waddell 22 41.822 01:40.569 Edmonds, Wash.
24 35 Tom Mabey 22 43.287 01:40.392 Bountiful, Utah
25 23 Tom Nastasi 22 48.336 01:38.258 Stamford, Conn.
26 87 Doug Peterson 22 48.883 01:37.132 Lake Orion, Mich.
27 33 Dick Downs 22 49.072 01:40.575 St. James, Minn.
28 34 Gary Hutto 22 51.91 01:41.037 Villa Park, Calif.
29 38 Tomy Drissi 22 52.78 01:40.899 Los Angeles, Calif.,
30 24 Jon Brownson 22 59.536 01:41.359 Breckenridge, Colo.
31 16 Frank McCormick 22 01:03.9 01:41.750 San Francisco, Calif.
32 90 Bob Crossley 22 01:05.0 01:42.045 Tillamook, Ore.
33 88 Dan Weyland 22 01:05.6 01:40.177 Denver, Colo.
34 30 Glenn Bjorkman 22 01:15.4 01:41.470 Goletta, Calif.
35 58 Dan Tomlin Jr. 22 01:15.7 01:43.754 Dallas, Texas
36 60 Phil Fogg Jr. 22 01:16.0 01:37.689 Wilsonville, Ore.
37 99 Frank Bain 22 01:44.6 01:41.379 San Diego, Calif.
38 29 Marc Cota-Robles 20 -- 2 laps -- 01:37.387 Santa Ana, Calif.
39 70 Tim Jennings 19 -- 3 laps -- 01:37.567 Downers Grove, Ill.
40 84 Marek Rybkowski 12 -- 10 laps -- 01:42.168 Denver, Colo.
41 12 Matt Beardsley 11 -- 11 laps -- 01:37.937 Breckenridge, Colo.
42 98 Rob Niles 7 -- 15 laps -- 01:39.725 Simi Valley, Calif.
43 13 J.R. Osborne 2 -- 20 laps -- 01:39.746 Castle Rock, Colo.
44 80 Mike Stephens 0 -- 22 laps -- --:--:--.--- Sarasota, Fla.
45 28 Pierre Ehret 22 DQ 01:37.553 Santa Rosa, Calif.

(After 3 of 9 rounds):
1. Scott Bradley, 118; 2. Chad Block, 111; 3. Guy Cosmo, 98; 4. Oliver
Rowen, 85; 5. Scott Jenkins, 81; 6. Marc De Vellis, 81; 7. Matt Beardsley,
77; 8. Scott Kusy, 75; 9. Marc Cota-Robles, 70; 10. Ed Zabinski, 69.

(After 3 of 9 rounds): 
1. Scott Kusy, 52; 2. Doug Peterson, 40; 3. Dick Downs, 39;
4. Dan Weyland, 35 5. Rick Waddell, 33. *For drivers 45 years of age and

(After 9 of 13 rounds): 
1. Moses Smith, 372; 2. Jim Hall II, 316; 3. Scott Jenkins, 314; 4. Scott Kusy, 284;
5. Bob Hatle, 279; 6. Bob Negron, 273; 7. Chris Emanuel & Larry Couture,
195; 9. Pierre Ehret, 171; 10. Chad Block, 108.

(After 9 of 13 rounds):
1. Scott Kusy, 154; 2. Bob Negron, 140; 3. Bob Hatle, 134; 4. Chris
Emanuel, 88; 5. Ron Island, 28. *For drivers 45 years of age and older.


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