PITTSBURGH, PA (WEDNESDAY, DEC. 14) -- Pittsburgh-area team owner, John Walko, has announced the re-formation of his race team, John Walko Racing, following a three-year involvement with the Andersen Walko Racing program. The team will contest the entire 2006 Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear, and will be run out of a new shop in Trafford, Pennsylvania, just east of Pittsburgh.
"We are excited about our move to a more modern and efficient facility and are extremely pleased to announce that we have been able to keep our crew intact," Walko said. "This is the same group of engineers, mechanics, and support staff that has helped us achieve so much success over the last few seasons. We feel great about the team's chemistry and are encouraged to see it continue with the renewed John Walko Racing effort."
Last season in the 2005 Star Mazda championship, Andersen Walko Racing drivers Robbie Pecorari, Graham Rahal, Pablo Donoso and Jonathan Klein amassed four wins, four poles and 17 podium finishes. Pecorari finished second in points and won Rookie of the Year. Rahal completed the season 4th in the championship series with Donoso and Klein finishing 9th and 13th respectively.
Returning to John Walko Racing as race engineers are Steve Dreizler and Eric Langbein. Lead mechanics Scott Gates, Sebastien Jubelin, 2004 Zetec "Mechanic of the Year" winner, and Caleb Stream, 2002 Zetec "Mechanic of the Year" and 2005 Star Mazda "Crew Member of the Year" will also continue with the team. Other returning crewmembers include Kate Gundlach, data acquisition and parts, Ray Riggin, transporter driver and logistics, Russ Sant, fabricator, mechanic, and logistics, and Staci Walko, business manager.
Walko started driving in SCCA Club Formula Ford in 1994 before opening his own prep-shop in the mid-1990s. Since 1999, as a crew chief and engineer in SCCA Formula Ford, Formula Continental, Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship and Star Mazda, his drivers have amassed 11 pro and 22 amateur wins, 37 pro and 12 amateur podiums, and 13 pro and 17 amateur poles. His drivers finished runner up in points in both the Star Mazda and Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championships, and have won the SCCA Valvoline Runoffs a total of four times. In addition, Walko's cars have also posted 2nd and 3rd place finishes at the Runoffs. Walko received "Crew Chief of the Year" and "Engineer of the Year" awards in the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship.
Past drivers that Walko has been affiliated with include IRL IndyCar Series competitor Paul Dana, Star Mazda race winner Graham Rahal (son of three-time CART Champion and Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal), 2005 Star Mazda Rookie of the Year and race winner Robbie Pecorari, American Le Mans Series driver Guy Cosmo, Grand-Am Cup driver and Formula Ford 2000 Zetec race winner Adam Pecorari, Formula Ford 2000 Zetec race winner and championship runner-up Andrew Prendeville, and Formula Ford 2000 Zetec race winner and NASCAR Elite Division SW Tour stock car competitor Tom Dyer.
For 2006, John Walko Racing is currently in negotiations with one driver for the 2006 season and is actively seeking two additional drivers for a three-car effort.
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