Speed captures second consecutive pole

Sonoma, CA. May 18, 2002. Sears Point Raceway hasn't slowed down Star Mazda Series points leader Scott Speed as he has posted the fastest time in every official practice session and has captured the pole position for Round Two of the North American Championship in a qualifying session that finds several new faces at the front of the field.

Speed, a Manteca, California native, lapped the 2.53 mile track in 1:35.985, as 38 cars took the past in the morning qualifying session. "The car has been good all weekend," Speed said, "we've just been tweaking it a little bit, making small changes and the qualifying setup was good."

Challenging Speed for the pole was another rookie participating in his first Star Mazda, Michael McDowell.  McDowell, driving 2001 champion Scott Bradley's car, has been impressive in his debut as he earned the second qualifying spot with a time of 1:36.440.  "The car was working well in qualifying," McDowell said. "We were making a few small changes when the session was stopped with a car off in turn 6 and we didn't know how much time we'd have but I think there's a bit more in the car and we'll give Scott a run for his money."

The second half of the split qualifying session was halted for several minutes as Master's Champion Scott Kusy experienced mechanical troubles and required a tow to a safe position.  Qualifying resumed with 13 minutes left in the session and drivers quickly came back up to speed.  Guy Cosmo, was quickly on the pace as he brought his #45 Racer's Edge Mazda into the third spot closely followed by Tom Nastasi with his best qualifying in Star Mazda competition.

Round Two of the Star Mazda Series North American Championship will start this afternoon at 3:45.