FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TRAFFORD, PA (November 21, 2007) -- The Star Mazda Winter Series kicked off with a two race event at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California. JWR wasted little time in establishing themselves as a favorite in the series, dominating the weekend with two wins by newcomer Mike Hill.
The Gilroy, California native proved to be a quick learner qualifying second for each of the two races in his first outing with the team, not to mention his first race ever in the Star Mazda car. Team owner John Walko attributed the success to many factors including the preparation of everyone involved.
"The team came prepared and totally focused this weekend and we executed our plan well. We had actually started on Tuesday with the seat fitting and had time to complete everything we planned well before being on track for Thursday testing. It went very smooth, just the way we planned it."
Hill was quick from the very start and continued to improve in each session resulting in front row qualifying positions on each of the two race days.
"Mike's input was right on; he was clean and consistent and easy to work with. His relationship with Gord Bentley and Speed Secrets was a huge factor as well as he was already willing and able to listen to instruction and translate that in to on-track results."
Once the racing was under way, Hill pounced early. Despite having to take evasive action in the opening corners, dropping all four corners off the track and falling to third, Hill proceeded to take the lead by the sixth turn and never look back. Along the way to the checkered flag Hill lapped the field.
The results of the second race were the same with JWR and Hill scoring their second victory of the weekend. However, this race involved a more patient, measured approach.
"In the first race Mike dominated, not just winning but lapping the entire field. But in the second race he also demonstrated that he is capable of driving a smart, calculated race. He settled in to second shadowing the leader and staying in tight contact while waiting for an opportunity. As soon as the leader made a mistake he was able to grab the top spot and hold onto it for the win."
For the team, it was a well deserved, successful weekend.
"It was one of those weekends where we just couldn't make a wrong adjustment to the car. We really needed it too -- it was a great shot in the arm for everyone on the team coming so soon after the close of the 2007 Star Mazda Championship series. This was a big commitment to run these west coast winter races and everyone from the team to the driver responded perfectly. We are all looking forward to the next round in Arizona coming up soon."
"I couldn't imagine this could be any better of a first effort with a new team and a new series. The crew did a great job and they worked hard all weekend. I communicated well with John and everyone else and the car handled magnificently all weekend. They did a great job! We had a great car all weekend and I was able to drive smart and safe and bring it home in one piece!"
John Walko -- Engineer for Mike Hill
"Mike did a tremendous job considering that he was dealing with so many things for the first time. He did one test at Buttonwillow previously but on a totally different configuration and not in race conditions. It was also his first time working with our team and his first time in a Star Mazda race. Throw in all of those factors and it makes the wins all that more impressive."
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