2002 Results - Star Mazda Series - West Division

May 25-27, 2002
Thunderhill Raceway Park
 

Maximum points for Anderson at Thunderhill Raceway Park

 

Memorial Day Weekend turned in to something to remember for Star Mazda Series competitor Mike Anderson as he used the double race weekend at Thunderhill Raceway Park to put on a command performance. In a dominating display of driving, Anderson piloted his HASA Swimming Pool
Products into two pole positions and two victories and was able to reduce the gap to Moses Smith, the championship points leader, down to ten points with two races remaining.

"Thunderhill couldn't have gone any better for the DARE team," a triumphant Anderson exclaimed. "I really enjoyed the Thunderhill course, and while track conditions changed throughout the weekend we were able to stay on top of them and set the fastest time in every session."

While Anderson was having a trouble free weekend, Smith in the R-Sport HASA Swimming Pool Products Mazda had to battle back from adversity several times over the three-day event to claim two second place finishes.  "This weekend's race schedule offered very little track time as Saturday with an early test session followed by a qualifying session for the first of two races," Moses
explained. "We hoped to use the first session to get familiarized with the track and make sure that the set-up on the car was close, unfortunately during this first session the car was experiencing
electrical problems and the crew went to work to sort out the trouble"

With repairs complete Smith, set out to challenge Anderson for the top spot in Sunday's race and actually had the fastest time for most of the session before Anderson posted a flying lap as the session was coming to a close to earn his first career pole in Star Mazda competition. "I am very impressed with Ron Roland's ability to give such a great car with the limited amount of track time" Moses commented about the qualifying session. "With the HASA team 1 and 2 on the grid this line up will make for an exciting race Sunday morning."

Running with an SCCA regional event, fifteen cars lined up for the start of Sunday's fourteen lap race around the 2.95 mile circuit, with half of the drivers entered in the championship while the rest fought for regional points. Leading the charge at the drop of the green flag, Anderson and Smith continued to display their skills, as they raced side-by-side for three corners before Anderson took the advantage. "We have started alongside each other several times this year and while we race each other hard we always give each other racing room," Anderson said of the start and those first few
corners.

While Anderson and Smith drove away, the battle for third place was shaping up between series rookies Brian Thienes and Brian McAtee.  Thienes, driving the Thienes Engineering Mazda, gained the advantage and earned third place points with his best finish in Star Mazda competition.  Afterwards Thienes credited Tom Moore Autosports and coaching from Moses Smith as helping him
get to where he finished, commenting, "With their help I have been able to exceed my expectations in the Star Mazda Series."

Victory celebrations quickly subsided as the team all had to get back to work and prepare for Sunday afternoon's qualifying session for Monday's sixteen lap race.  With the addition track time under their belts the drivers all looked to better their qualifying times from the previous day, and as times started dropping once again Anderson would top the time sheets as he was able to shave almost 1.5 seconds off his previous qualifying best. Smith again set the second fastest time followed by regional competitors Sean Kelly, Jim Mali, and Bill Weaver.

While it appeared that spectators would once again get to watch a tense first corner showdown between Anderson and Smith, electrical problems would strike Smith's R-Sport Mazda as the car was being warmed up for the event.  The team was able to enact repairs but Smith was moved to the back of the field for arriving late to the grid.  "I was disappointed, but also a bit excited that I was going to have to do a lot of passing" Smith remarked about the decision made by the officials.

As Anderson took the green flag and was chasing open track, Smith fought his way past eight cars in the opening lap and would work his way back into second place when the checkered flag fell. "I had a lot of fun working my way through the pack, but I really wanted to run with up front with Mike" Smith summarized about the race "R-sport made the right call with the changes before the race, I was able to drive the car real hard through out the whole race".

Also battling it out through the field, Star Mazda rookie Matt Kurdock earned his highest finish ever in his R-Sport MK Racing Mazda as he finished sixth overall but earned third place points in the championship. "My R-Sport crew played a big role in the racing action with the radio, letting me know where I was quicker than my competitors so I could get a run and make the pass stick," Kurdock said afterwards. "It was some of the best wheel to wheel racing I have done this season.  Ron Roland and R-Sport consistently give me a great car and lots of motivation to make things happen out on the track when it counted."

Rounding out the field of championship competitors was McAtee, with his second consecutive fourth place points finish in his Performance Motorsports Mazda, followed by Masters Championship leader Bob Hatle, and Thienes, who like Smith was moved to the back of the grid for the start but was able to move up into ninth place overall.  Making his Star Mazda Series debut, Kelly Gallant finished thirteenth and was the final championship points scorer, earning seventh place points.

The points race in has closed up through nine rounds as Smith's advantage falls to only ten points over Anderson, 378 to 368 respectively, while Jim Hall remains third with 227 points despite missing the Sears Point and Thunderhill events.  With Hall's absence the battle for third has tightened up with Masters Championship leader Hatle holding 219 points and rookie contender Kurdock with 212 points.

Round Ten of the Star Mazda Series West Coast Championship will coincide with Round Three of the Star Mazda Series North American Championship on June 16, 2002, at Pikes Peak International Raceway as a support race to the Indy Racing League event on the one-mile oval.

For more information about the Star Mazda Series please contact Gary Rodrigues at (818) 686-3350.

 
Results
  
Thunderhill Raceway Park - Race One
Track Length 2.950 Miles
Race Length 54.00 Miles
18 Laps
FM Fastest Fastest
Qlf Pts Laps Qual Race
Pos Driver Pos Comp Time Time
             
1 Mike Anderson 1 45 14 1:48.937 1:47.920
2 Moses Smith 2 40 14 1:49.216 1:48.350
3 Sean Kelly 5 - 14 1:51.568 1:50.706
4 Brian Thienes 4 37 14 1:51.068 1:50.693
5 Brian McAtee 6 34 14 1:51.667 1:50.105
6 Jim Mali 9 - 14 1:52.562 1:50.389
7 Bob Hatle 8 32 13 1:52.012 1:51.345
8 Matt Kurdock 10 30 13 1:54.133 1:51.837
9 Stew Tabak 12 - 13 1:54.870 1:51.139
10 Larry Couture 11 29 13 1:54.240 1:51.967
11 Max Toy dnq - 13 did not qual 1:51.520
12 Gene Boyer 15 - 13 1:56.718 1:53.921
13 Kelly Gallant 14 - 13 1:56.657 1:55.499
14 Marc Hartranft 13 - 13 1:55.509 1:53.897
15 Bill Weaver 3 - 10 1:50.849 1:50.939
16 Derry O'Donovan 7 - 0 1:51.941 did not race

 

Thunderhill Raceway Park - Race Two
Track Length 2.950 Miles
Race Length 59.000 Miles
16 Laps
FM Fastest Fastest
Qlf Pts Laps Qual Race
Pos Driver Pos Comp Time Time
             
1 Mike Anderson 1 45 16 1:47.536 1:48.393
2 Moses Smith 2 40 16 1:48.226 1:49.056
3 Sean Kelly 3 - 16 1:50.083 1:49.679
4 Bill Weaver 5 - 16 1:50.258 1:49.741
5 Jim Mali 4 - 16 1:50.108 1:50.022
6 Matt Kurdock 8 37 16 1:50.764 1:50.643
7 Brian McAtee 7 34 16 1:50.582 1:50.541
8 Bob Hatle 9 32 16 1:51.313 1:51.301
9 Brian Thienes 6 30 16 1:50.539 1:50.022
10 Stew Tabak 12 - 16 1:51.978 1:50.960
11 Marc Hartranft 11 - 16 1:51.599 1:51.453
12 Max Toy 10 - 15 1:51.349 1:51.027
13 Kelly Gallant 15 29 15 1:55.165 1:54.060
14 Gene Boyer 14 - 8 1:53.696 1:54.558
15 Larry Couture 13 - 16 1:52.051 disqualified



    

Points

   
Star Mazda Series West Division Championship
(After 9 of 11 rounds)
 

1

Moses Smith

378

2

Mike Anderson

368

3

Jim Hall II

227

4

Bob Hatle

219

5

Matt Kurdock

212

6

Larry Couture

204

7

Brian McAtee

188

8

Brian Thienes

156

9

Rob Walker

133

10

Ed Zabinski  

110

11

Chris Emanuel

87

12

Taylor Fletcher

66

13

Garrett Drysdale

55

 

John Ferguson

55

15

Kelly Gallant

29


Star Mazda Series West Division Masters Championship Top Five
(After 9 of 11 rounds)

1

Bob Hatle

128

2

Larry Couture

114

3

Chris Emanuel

42

4

Taylor Fletcher

36

5

John Ferguson

34

 

 

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