On track three of the four weeks in September, ArmsUp Motorsports completed the final round of the F2000 Championship Series this past weekend at the New Jersey Motorsports Park. Taking on the Thunderbolt Raceway layout, ArmsUp drivers James Roe and Trent Walko dominated the event taking home both victories and three of four possible podium results.
Roe was never outside the top-three in official session results throughout the weekend and was one of the drivers to beat. Pacing the field with the fastest time in practice one, Roe claimed the second position in both practice two and qualifying for Saturday's action. Once wheel-to-wheel racing commenced, the ArmsUp Motorsports driver took his talents and the speed of his F2000 car to the front claiming the win. Sunday proved to be a little more difficult for the multi-time race winner as en route to the fastest lap of the race, Roe garnered the third and final step on the podium.
Walko started his weekend off with a 12th place run in the second practice session and vastly improved when the official on track action began. Qualifying sixth for race one on Saturday, the young driver held station through the first wheel-to-wheel action on the weekend. Sunday saw Walko climb the charts and after qualifying in the third position, the ArmsUp Motorsports drivers topped the podium blocks at the end of the day to scoring the win, the second for ArmsUp Motorsports victory of the weekend.
"We have our hands in a lot of different series and on a lot of different types of vehicles," explained Gregg Borland. "I don't think many people understand how involved we are as we assist drivers with their cars in SCCA, F2000, USF2000, vintage racing and more. The season is winding down right now but that does not mean we are slowing by any means. Continuing to evolve our program, we are headed to Indy this week for the annual Chris Griffis Test and already have test dates planned for the off season as we prepare for 2019."
Chris “The Wolf” Winkler got his first taste for the track at the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School in Mont-Tremblant more than 20 years ago. Over the course of his semi-pro career, Winkler has done everything from claim an SCCA championship to going wheel-to-wheel racing on quarter-mile tracks. If it’s got wheels, he’s raced it.
Last year Dodge tapped him to drive the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR (American Club Racer) in a quest to attain the undisputed title as the world’s fastest street-legal car. Since then the 2016 Dodge Viper has claimed 13 single-lap track records, setting a new mark for number of records held by a production car, and Winkler has been behind the wheel for eleven of them. Winkler, who works for Dodge as an SRT® Vehicle Dynamics Engineer, not only knows how to wring every 100th of a second out of the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR, he also helped build it.
Here we caught up with Winkler to talk about his accomplishments on the track and what sets the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR apart from its legendary predecessors.
Here we caught up with Winkler to talk about his accomplishments on the track and what sets the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR apart from its legendary predecessors.
Redline: What originally got you into racing?
CHRIS WINKLER: I wanted to get involved in cars and racing out of college. I crewed on a friend’s open-wheel car and went on to Jim Russell Racing Drivers School outside of Montreal. They were the coolest at the time because they allowed passing. I did their annual graduate runoff and won. That gives you a free year of racing up at their school. I took rookie of the year. The next year I won their series and that gave me a free ticket to their international championships in England. I went over, got one day to learn the course, and came in second. It would have been interesting to come in first since winning got you a year in a manufacturer’s cup series, second place got you nothing!
Which track did you enjoy taking the Viper ACR on the most?
Any track with a lot of elevation change and blind corners is the most challenging. The flat tracks and the modern tracks have their quirks but there’s nothing like the thrill of traversing the elevation changes typical of older tracks. Road Atlanta is one of my favorites, even though they eliminated one of the most exciting turns in racing by adding an S-turn to slow cars down coming in under the bridge.
What’s the most challenging corner out of the tracks you’ve driven?
I didn’t drive Laguna Seca for this campaign but it has turns 5, 6, the Corkscrew, and then turns 9 and 10. They have elevation changes and camber changes that make you commit the car early on until you reach the exit. In these superfast turns like the ones at Laguna you’re crossing your fingers for a good portion of them and hoping for the best.
What are a few things that set the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR apart from its predecessors?
The tire contact patch on the road for starters. The Kumho® Ecsta V720 tires are the equivalent of any DOT race tire. Kumho® has stepped up every time for FCA. We gave them a shot at the ACR and they succeeded beyond our expectations. The tires have great drivability at the limit and fantastic grip. The rear tires are fantastic for power delivery. The suspension, the BILSTEIN® shocks are tuned for the ACR. And the Extreme Aero Package transforms the car. Aerodynamic grip, produced by downforce, is essentially free grip. There’s no penalty or compromise in another performance area. It just helps you all around and it works better at high speeds than low speeds (1, 101 lbs. of downforce at 150 mph and 1, 533 lbs. at 177 mph). It’s part of what makes the Viper ACR such a great car.
Where would you like to set the next lap record?
It would be nice to go the ‘Ring (Nürburgring). That’s the elephant in the room anytime we talk about this kind of thing. We couldn’t go earlier because they shut it down for lap record attempts. We’ve been waiting for them to improve the track.
You can tweak everything from the suspension to the aero package on the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR. Was there much variance in your setups for each track?
We’re going to share the tweaks we had for each of the tracks and publish the setup sheets for each run. The differences are very minor off of the standard set up, a click or two of shock or a half-inch of ride height. It’s a sensitive machine. It’s a racecar for the road and appropriately it responds like one.
What makes the ACR so unique even within the Viper range of cars?
We were able to use spring rates (600 lbs./in. on the front, 1, 300 lbs./in. in the rear) we have never come close to before and that helps the aero platform.
What do you consider the most significant track record to date for the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR?
We blew away the lap record at Laguna Seca and did it with Randy Pobst. He’s one of the best drivers there. He can somehow master the track with any car. We beat a $1 million hypercar by 1.24 seconds. It’s a significant margin. Right now it’s hard to imagine a better track car based on a car you can drive on the street.
TRAFFORD, PA (October 24, 2006) – While some members of the John Walko Racing team have been together for many years, 2006 marked their first together under the JWR banner. It would have been natural to envision a season involving a steep learning curve and the many pitfalls that are normally associated with a rookie effort; particularly considering the fact that the team barely pulled the pieces together in time to make it to the season opening race at Sebring.
No one apparently told this group though that a difficult season would not only be expected but acceptable to most. The result at the end of the final race at Laguna Seca was nothing short of astounding:- 2006 Star Mazda Team Championship - John Walko Racing
"This was a great season for our young team! It was amazing that we even made it to Sebring, let alone compete for the Championship and win against such tough competition as World Speed. I want to congratulate the team and their driver Adrian Carrio, they truly deserved the Championship. Adrian is a really good driver and the team did a great job once again."
Despite the success, Walko knew the entire season would come down to the Star Mazda season finale at Laguna Seca this past weekend.
"There are so many good teams and drivers in this series right now that we knew everything would hinge on the final race. This is a tough deal that had me nervous right up until the very end with the points system the way it is. With someone as fast as Adrian in World Speed's car coupled with the bonus points awarded for only running a single car we had to continue to post two cars in the top ten in entrant points to hope to keep pace. We were the only team able to do that race in and race out."
Laguna Seca was no different and the team responded with another pair of top ten points finishes from Kevin Lacroix and Charles Anti, securing the Team Championship in the process. The race was stalled by several full course yellow flags that resulted in just six laps of green flag action.
Those six laps were all Lacroix needed to rebound from an uncharacteristic eighth place qualifying effort however.
"In the race we only ran six green flag laps so it was very hard to gain positions. But in six laps I moved from 8th to 4th. Maybe we could have had a podium but there just wasn't enough time. The car was very good, we were very fast but there was just not enough laps."
The qualifying issue was unfortunate according to Walko particularly in light of how fast Lacroix has been to that point despite not participating in the previous week's private test.
"Kevin was near the front the whole time, second or third quickest in each session just a tenth or two off. Until qualifications however, when a miscommunication resulted in sending Kevin on track with less fuel than we had planned. He missed three laps probably and that was enough to drop him to eighth on the grid."
For Anti, the event could not have gone any differently. After finding himself near the top of the charts in most sessions in the latter half of the season, Anti was mired in the bottom half of the time sheets in each practice session at Laguna Seca. The rookie driver ended up in the slow qualifying group as a result.
According to Charles the split groups finally gave him some clear track to work with.
"In practice every time I would get around slower traffic I'd catch another before the end of the lap. We did not have a single clean lap until qualifying when everything finally came together. I made a small mistake even on my fast lap; otherwise we may have started even further up the grid."
After finally turning things around in qualifying, Anti spent as much time in the race avoiding accidents as racing noted Walko.
"Charles set the pace in the first group by more than two seconds and was as fast as Kevin had run all weekend. It was awesome, all the sudden he was right there where we expect him to be. In all the craziness of the race Charles ended up thirteenth overall which was good for tenth in championship points. The cause of all the yellows seemed to be happening right in front of him. He was on the brakes hard and picking his way through the incidents and did a good job staying clear of everything and scored important points for us. He did a good job."
Russell Walker was on the move once again at Laguna Seca, running inside the top ten on race day before ending up in the middle of one of the yellow flag incidents.
"We were making excellent progress, absolutely. I think just about everyone in front of us was at the private test so we were doing well. I had a good start and a solid race car. I was in a chase for position, and I guess do to the nature of the race having so few green flag laps and so many cautions, I didn't want to hesitate when I had a chance to make a pass after being held up for a few laps. I made an aggressive move and unfortunately it cost me."
While the end result was not what he hoped for from a rapidly improving Walker, Walko was still impressed by his young driver's performance.
"Russell was in the top ten and passing another car when they made contact, ending his race. He was good again and improved every session. He just kept getting faster and faster and is constantly improvement. Russell is just a small step away from the podium and getting closer every time he runs."
Walker agreed and credited the JWR team with providing him the tools and expertise to make strides toward the front of the pack in their short time together.
"My time with the team and each member of the team providing their expert knowledge and attention to detail gave me the tools to develop my skills to be nothing less than a champion. We were so close to finding that final piece to finish on the podium. The team championship reflects that pretty well, it was a good year."
Lacroix echoed Walker's sentiments regarding what was essentially a total rookie season for all involved from the brand new team to three first year drivers.
"The season was very good even though we missed the first race. We won the team championship which was very good for John Walko Racing. The cars were getting better at every race which was why we were fast at Atlanta and Laguna Seca. The cars were going good and the team is getting better. It was a great learning year for the team and for me, a great first year for everyone."
According to Anti, his first year at this level of competition was a big adjustment but was made easier by the atmosphere at JWR.
"It was an incredible year, I learned so much from everyone on the team. The results weren't bad but they don't truly reflect how far we advanced as a team and how much I learned. The whole season was so much fun and I can't thank everyone on the team enough for how they helped me to grow and improve this season."
For Walko, the Team Championship was not only a reflection of his rapidly improving trio of young drivers but the team on the whole.
"We have just an incredible group of racers and I'm proud to be associated with all of them. Not only do they do their jobs well but each member of the team, regardless of which car they are assigned to works together. Winning the Team Championship our first year out of the gate is a testament to what this crew does all season long."
Walko also paid tribute to all of the drivers that the team had an opportunity to work with over the course of the season.
"I'd like to thank Kevin Lacroix, Charles Anti and Russell Walker and their respective families for a tremendous season. This is a very talented group of young drivers and it has been a lot of fun to work with them and watch their progress throughout the season. In addition to these three drivers I also want to say thank you to Ross Smith, Robbie Pecorari and Casey Neal, each of which helped to contribute to our success this season."
It is a short off season for the 2006 Star Mazda Team Champions as the off season testing schedule for John Walko Racing is set to kick off in just a few short weeks. Drivers interested in participating in the off season testing program are encouraged to
contact the team soon. Also, drivers interested in discussing their 2007 racing programs should contact John Walko Racing at John@johnwalkoracing.com .
Laguna Seca Results:
1. .Ryan Justice
2. .Mike Potekhen
3. .Adrian Carrio
4. Kevin Lacroix
13. Charles Anti
36. Russell Walker
Star Mazda Driver Championship:
1. Adrian Carrio 433
2. Kevin Lacroix 394
3. Ryan Justice 366
14. Charles Anti 236
16. Russell Walker 222
Star Mazda Team Championship:
TRAFFORD, PA (October 2, 2006) – With a recent private test under their belts at Road Atlanta, the John Walko Racing team looked forward to the eleventh race of the season as part of the Petit Le Mans event in conjunction with the American Le Mans Series. The anticipation was rewarded with another pair of top ten finishes and a firm grasp on the Team Championship.
"Coming down early for the test was a huge help for me getting comfortable here," noted Russell Walker. "It was a great weekend if you take out the one lap in the final practice. The car felt great from the opening practice and just kept getting better."
Road Atlanta proved to be a breakout event for Walker although the results didn't truly reflect his speed on the 2.54 mile circuit. The Dallas, Texas racer started practice seventh on the charts and moved up to second quick by the final practice before misfortune struck as team owner John Walko explained.
"Russell was amazing! We had a good setup on the car and when he showed up he was awesome from the time he got there. He had a problem with turn one though late in the final practice, caught the curb and backed in to the wall hard. This was after setting the second quick time of the final session."
The car was damaged too badly to repair in time for qualifying. According to Walko the team was confident enough in their young driver though to secure another car despite having to qualify without ever turning a lap in the car previously.
"We rented a car from another team and Russell spent qualifying in the rain getting comfortable with the car. In the race though he was back! It was like he was in the last practice session, running competitive times and passing cars every lap in to turn one. It was fun to watch."
Walker qualified 23rd after just a handful of laps in qualifying but rebounded nicely under the circumstances.
"The race was slow going thanks to starting so deep in the field but I was able to work up to eighth picking up a position or two almost every lap. It was still a very good weekend though and I look forward to getting back on track at Laguna Seca for the season closer."
Kevin Lacroix, currently second in points, also benefited from the testing which resulted in his leading the opening practice. After that point though, Lacroix was forced to battle with an underpowered race car. A situation that the team rectified before the final practice as Walko noted.
"The engines haven't been that consistent. At Road America and Mosport we had a really good handling car but just didn't have the lap times. Our other cars have been killing Kevin on the straight despite not carrying as much exit speed. We finally decided to put a new engine in and it made a big difference as we led that practice. The car was a whole lot better."
In the race Lacroix moved in to the top three early and held on to the spot for his first podium finish since Portland, a result good enough to clinch the 2006 Star Mazda Rookie of the Year title.
"We swapped the engine for the race and, although it was still tight, it was much more powerful. I overtook two positions on the first lap and was looking to take the lead but could not find any room," Lacroix stated. "That was my season, staying out of trouble and carving my way up in the standings instead of taking chances. I still have one left in Laguna, the track where I was most successful last year in BMW. With a healthy car, I will give my best shot to finish my season with a flash!"
Charles Anti was the lone driver of the JWR trio that was unable to attend the Road Atlanta test. Despite a bigger learning curve at the start of the event, Anti found himself right back in the top ten just a few laps in to the race. Unfortunately for Anti though his day ended early with a rare mechanical DNF.
"I never really felt up to speed all weekend until the rains came for qualifying. I thought that would be the equalizer for me, and it was, up until the track started to dry out. We slipped a little further down the charts each lap it seemed as it dried. I was in the top ten early in the race though, hoping to capitalize on other's mistakes as the race progressed. A hole in an oil line developed though and sidelined us early."
The team now moves on to Laguna Seca where they not only look to clinch the Star Mazda Team Championship but hope to secure that elusive first win.
"This past race gave us a huge jump in the points. We have the biggest lead in the Championship that we have had all season," noted Walko. "So I'm looking forward to Laguna Seca to see if we can win the Team Championship in our first season. It should be a good weekend as all three drivers have experience there and they all really like the track. We are all looking forward to this race!"
The twelfth and final race of the 2006 Star Mazda Championship Series takes place at Laguna Seca on October 21-22.
Road Atlanta Results:
1 Ron White
2 Mark Wilkins
3 Kevin Lacroix
8 Russell Walker
27 Charles Anti
Star Mazda Driver Championship:
1 Adrian Carrio 395
2 Kevin Lacroix 360
3 Ryan Justice 322
14 Charles Anti 211
15 Russell Walker 210
Star Mazda Team Championship:
1 John Walko Racing 223
2 World Speed 208
3 Northwest Autosport 159
4 Apex Racing 154
5 Andersen Racing 154
JWR ALUM: Graham Rahal captures his first National Championship taking the Formula Atlantic class win at the 2005 SCCA National Championship Runoffs
Race 8: Formula Atlantic Graham Rahal, of New Albany, Ohio., captured his first National Championship Friday, taking the Formula Atlantic class win at the 2005 SCCA National Championship Runoffs Presented by Kohler at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in his Anderson Walko Racing Swift 014. Dan Selznick, of Phoenix, Ari., and David Wilcox, of Lake Dallas, Texas, completed the top-three.
Having led every session and set a new lap record in qualifying, Rahal entered the race as the odds on favorite to win. In what would prove to be the most difficult part of the race, Rahal's Anderson Walko Racing Swift 014 car misfired at the start, causing the 17 year-old to lose several positions entering the esses. Capitalizing on the opportunity, Selznick led Mirl Swan through the opening turns.
Quickly recovering from the poor start, Rahal moved into second on the second lap, passing Swan on the back straight. Having fallen back to third, Swan's race ended later in the lap, when he spun off-course. Posting lap times up to two seconds quicker than any other driver, Rahal soon caught Selznick, passing for the lead on lap five. Steadily pulling away from Selznick, David Wilcox and Keith Lively, the battle for fifth became the most heated amongst the leaders.
Having moved into fifth, Bernie Sunier went off-course on lap nine, allowing Ben Beasley to take the position. Two laps later, Beasley spun exiting Thunder Valley, becoming stuck in the grass, relinquishing fifth place to Ryan Spencer-Smith. On lap 17, the final change in top-five occurred, when Lively pulled into the pits and retired with a mechanical failure.
Setting a new race lap record, Rahal crossed the start/finish 43.01 seconds ahead of Selznick, to capture his first SCCA National Championship Runoffs win, 30-years after his father, racing legend Bobby Rahal won the Formula B National Championship. "I had a misfire at the start," said Rahal. "When I came out of the paddock the car misfired, but it cleared up right away. At the start it did it again and I thought, 'oh, no!', but it cleared up again and we were OK. I definitely had the fastest car out there and I knew that I could keep up. I took my time and caught up to Dan. I got a good run on him and passed into the Keyhole. Then I just kept careful, building my lead and trying to stay out of trouble."
Spencer-Smith, of Nappa, Calif., finished fourth, and Burke, of Rumson, N.J., completed the top-five.
LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 23, 2005) - The weather at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course had been nearly perfect since Monday, so, of course, the skies on Friday - the first day of racing at the 2005 SCCA National Championship Runoffs(r) Presented by Kohler - were overcast and damp with fog and the 2.258-mile course wet with early morning rains.
A little water didn't stop the Runoffs, however, and the first eight champions were crowned, led by veterans Kent Prather, of Wakarusa, Kan., who won a record sixth Production class title when he won G Production, and John Heinricy, of Holly, Mich., who won his fifth-consecutive Touring 1 Runoffs championship - a streak not seen since Warren Stilwell won seven Spec Racer Ford titles from 1994-2000. It was Heinricy's eight title overall, which moves him to third all-time in SCCA Runoffs history.
Not to be outdone, Runoffs rookie Graham Rahal, set a new race lap record and took top honors in Formula Atlantic - exactly 30 years after his father, Bobby, won the Formula B Championship in 1975.
Eight more races are on tap for Saturday, with Formula 500 set to wave the green flag at 10:05 a.m. (EDT) following warm-up sessions that begin at 8 a.m. To watch all race action via live timing and scoring, visit www.scca.com, where complete schedule information and results are located.
FAIRFIELD, N.J., Oct. 8 - Dan Andersen and John Walko of Andersen Walko Racing (AWR) announced today that they will devote all of their pro race team's efforts on the Star Mazda series presented by Goodyear in 2005.
The team will also continue to operate its SCCA Club Racing program.
"We'll be leaving the Cooper Tire championships, both the Formula Ford 2000 and the Formula SCCA classes, in order to devote our efforts to Star Mazda next year," explained Andersen, who owns the team with Walko.
"After running three cars in Formula Ford 2000, three cars in Formula SCCA and three cars in SCCA Club Racing this year, we added two Star Mazda cars and joined that championship in June," he added. "We are extremely impressed with the Star Mazda series' organization, administration and full fields of quality drivers. When you add all of that to the series' large prize fund, SPEED TV package, great IMSA/ALMS schedule and a truly great new race car, we realized that Star Mazda is the place for us next year."
AWR won the 2004 Formula Ford 2000 Zetec team championship with seven victories and 15 podium finishes. Its two lead drivers, Andrew Prendeville and Adam Pecorari, finished second and third, respectively, in the drivers' point standings in that series. Walko won its Crew Chief of the Year award, while AWR's Seb Jublien earned the series' Mechanic of the Year award for 2004.
Top rookie driver Jonathan Klein has been representing the team in Star Mazda this year and will compete in the series' season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. on Oct. 16. Another top AWR rookie, Robbie Pecorari (Adam's brother), will also drive an AWR entry in that race.
Always a championship contender, AWR will begin testing in November for the new Star Mazda season.
"We've already arranged test dates at Sebring, Road Atlanta, Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen, Pikes Peak, Road America, Beaverun and Carolina Motorsports Park," Andersen said. "We will not only be testing our cars but we'll also be testing drivers for the upcoming Star Mazda season, and we hope to announce our pro driver line-up soon."
"The Star Mazda series is extremely competitive, and we're looking forward to focusing our efforts on it next year," added Walko. "We're also excited about our plan to move our shop to a more modern facility nearer to our home track, Beaverun, which is near Pittsburgh."
Andersen Walko Racing's offices are in Fairfield, N.J. and its race shop is currently in North Versailles, Pa.
FAIRFIELD, N.J., Sept. 22 - Andersen Walko Racing, which topped the team point standings for 2004 in the Formula Ford Zetec championship, will field two Star Mazda cars in the latter series' race Friday as a support event to the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta Motorsports Park in Braselton, Ga.
The cars will be driven by 17-year-old rookies Jonathan Klein of Long Grove, Ill. and Robbie Pecorari of Aston, Pa., the younger brother of one of AWR's Formula Ford Zetec drivers, Adam Pecorari.
Klein has competed in all but one of the Star Mazda races held this year and has been doing extremely well. He is currently in ninth place in the overall point standings out of 39 drivers. To date his best finishes are a fourth at Lime Rock Park and a fifth at Mosport.
Pecorari will be making his first start ever in the Star Mazda series this weekend. In July he stepped into an AWR entry in a Formula SCCA doubleheader at Lime Rock, and although he'd never been in one of those races either he finished second in the first race and won the second one.
The Star Mazda car that Pecorari will drive at Road Atlanta is owned by Doug Prendeville, another one of AWR's Zetec drivers and the brother of the AWR driver who finished second in the Zetec championship this year, Andrew Prendeville.
"I've never raced in the Star Mazda series before, but the cars are some of the best cars out there for the price and Road Atlanta is definitely a fun track," said Robbie Pecorari, a senior at Garnet Valley High School in Concord, Pa. "It's a driver's track; it'll take a good driver to win there. I enjoy racing with Andersen Walko. We'll just try our best and see how it goes."
The 45-minute race, which will be taped for broadcast on SPEED at noon Eastern time on Oct. 10, is one of three remaining events on the 2004 Star Mazda schedule. It is scheduled to get the green flag at 1:35 p.m. Eastern time on Friday.
After Road Atlanta the series, which is presented by Goodyear, travels to Phoenix for a race on the oval at Phoenix Int'l Raceway Oct. 2 and then on to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. for the season finale on Oct. 16.
Klein, who is sponsored by Kalfact Plastics; Fettes, Love and Sieben; Nexus Distribution Corp.; Midwest Steel & Services; Ironclad and ProStar, recently participated in a two-day test on the Phoenix oval in his Star Mazda car.
"There were 11 cars testing there, including mine," Klein reported. "We were second-quickest throughout the two days.
"We had some gearbox problems on the first day and we had some engine overheating problems and broke a half-shaft on the second day," he continued. "Luckily that happened when I was coming out of the pits and wasn't up to full speed.
"Unfortunately the second day I did end the day with a crash in turn one when one of my tires failed," he continued. "We weren't on Goodyears, and the tire went down and I went into the wall."
Although the right side of Klein's car was damaged, luckily he wasn't hurt.
"It was the biggest oval I've ever been on," Klein added. "John [Walko, team co-owner and chief engineer] and Eric [Langbein, an engineer] did a great job setting up the car. To post the second-fastest time before we made any changes whatsoever shows how good our team is."
This weekend's Star Mazda schedule shows practice today at 10 a.m. and 2:50 p.m. Tomorrow (Thursday) practice is slated for 9:15 a.m. followed by qualifying at 4:25 p.m. The race time is 1:35 p.m. Friday.
Andersen Walko Racing's office is in Fairfield, N.J. and its shop is in North Versailles, Pa.
LEXINGTON, OHIO (June 27, 2004) - Adam Pecorari, of Aston, Pa., won Round Ten of the Formula Ford Zetec Championship, part of the Cooper Tires Championship Series, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Completing the top-three is Andrew Prendeville, of Monroeville, Pa. and Steve Welk of Franklin, Wisc. Winning the American Continental Championship is Ron Thomas, of Galena Ohio.
Commencing early in the morning, the Zetec Championship car rolled onto the 2.258-mile road course under sunny, but cool conditions. At the drop of the green flag, the field went three-wide into the esses, with race one winner Prendeville maintaining the lead. Getting a great start Ian Lacy and Pecorari moved into second and third respectively.
Running-nose-to-tail on the opening lap, Pecorari applied heavy pressure to Lacy. On lap two, Pecorari got to the inside under braking and made the pass for position. Once past, Pecorari immediately began to close on Prendeville, in the No. 25 Racelink/Roos Racing School Andersen Walko Racing Van Diemen Ford. Within three laps, Pecorari was right behind Prendeville, while Lacy came under attack from Wade Cunningham.
Racing side-by-side into the esses, Pecorari passed his Andersen Walko Racing teammate to take the lead. As Pecorari began to pull away, Lacy and Cunningham made contact with one another while battling for third place. Able to continue, both drivers rejoined back in the field. Having gotten a great start and repeatedly held off challenges from Bobby Wilson, Welk, in the No. 57 Sportscar Revolution/Briggs & Stratton Aiken Racing Van Diemen Ford, moved into third place.
While several drivers enjoyed some good battles for position, the top-five stayed constant the remainder of the race. At the checkered flag, Pecorari, in the No. 28 SAI Hydraulics Andersen Walko Racing Van Diemen Ford, had scored his first career Zetec Championship win by 4.416 seconds.
"It's fantastic to be here," said Pecorari, who set fastest lap of the race. "I haven't won any race for two years, so it's great to be back on top of the podium. The team gave me a great car. Hopefully I can keep the momentum going and win more races this year and get back into the championship fight."
"It was tough race," said Prendeville, who now leads the Zetec Championship standings by four points (231-227) over Wilson. "My tires went away real early and once Adam [Pecorari] got past he was to fast for me to catch. The important thing is we leave with the points lead."
"I'm so happy right now," said Welk, who captured his first career podium finish. "The whole team has been working real hard and we've been getting quicker every time we are on the track."
Completing the top-five is Wilson, of Dousman, Wisc., in the No. 3 Citrus Systems Cape Motorsports Van Diemen Ford, who has finished in the top-five at every race and Ian Baas, of Indianapolis, Ind., in the No. 4 Blossom Chevrolet Cape Motorsports Van Diemen Ford, who tied his career best finish.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FAIRFIELD, N.J., May 3 - As if fielding multiple cars in the Formula Ford Zetec series and the Formula SCCA series weren't enough, Andersen Walko Racing (AWR) announced today that it will also enter the Star Mazda pro series starting with the next race, which is slated for June 26 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
Although he missed the season opener, Jonathan Klein of Long Grove, Ill. will switch from the FSCCA series and represent AWR in the nine remaining Star Mazda events on that series' 2004 schedule.
The team's other two FSCCA drivers, Chris Meredith of Potomac, Md. and Danny Abbale of Northport, N.Y., will continue to compete in the FSCCA series.
Klein cited the Pro Mazda series' attractive TV schedule, stable schedule and its proven car package for his change of plans. His new Star Mazda car is scheduled to arrive in AWR's shops in North Versailles, Pa. later this month.
Prior to that, the team will take delivery on another Star Mazda race car that will be driven by a variety of the team's Formula Ford Zetec drivers. Adam Pecorari of Aston, Pa.; Doug Prendeville of Morristown, N.J. and Mike Andersen of Green Pond, N.J. all plan to drive it in one to three Star Mazda races this year as their FF Zetec schedules permit.
The Star Mazda series is sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), and most of its events are run as companion races to American Le Mans Series (ALMS) events.
"We're excited about adding this terrific pro championship into our schedule, and we plan an aggressive testing program in May and June to prepare for the end-of-June ALMS weekend at Mid-Ohio," said Dan Andersen, the team's co-owner. "They have a great TV package, purse and schedule, and we will have at least one driver in all the remaining races this year."
The Pro Mazda races are broadcast on the SPEED Channel in the United States and on the Sky Sports World Motorsports program internationally.
The series, which is presented by Goodyear, carries a total prize package of approximately $500,000.
The cars use a Mazda rotary engine called the Renesis that is also used in the Mazda RX-8 sports car.
Nexus Distribution Corp, Midwest Steel & Services, Ironclad Performance Wear, ProStar Group, Kalfact Plastics and Fettes, Love & Sieben will sponsor Klein's Star Mazda.
After round two at Mid-Ohio, the Star Mazda pro series moves to Lime Rock Park in Lime Rock, Conn. on July 3; Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. on July 17; Portland (Ore.) Int'l Raceway on July 24 and Mosport Int'l Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario on Aug. 7. The circuit appears at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. on Aug. 21; Road Atlanta on Sept. 24; on the oval at Phoenix Int'l Raceway Oct. 2 and at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. on Oct. 26.
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