Congratulations to the winners Scott Andrews and Gerry Kraut for the IMSA Prototype Challenge race at Road America #IMSA / #RoadAmerica
Gerry Kraut and Scott Andrews picked up their second consecutive IMSA Prototype Challenge win on Saturday, but not without some drama, confusion, momentary deflation and eventual elation.
Andrews was behind the wheel of the No. 9 JDC MotorSports Norma M30 for the final stint at Road America, nursing his fuel to the finish 1.837 seconds ahead of the No. 74 Forty7 Motorsports Norma driven by Wyatt Schwab and Jon Brownson.
The drama and confusion erupted when the field was shown the white flag instead of the checkered as Andrews crossed the finish line. Based on IMSA’s lap-time average predictor, the race leader was expected to cross the line before the one-hour, 45-minute time limit ran out, necessitating one more lap. But since Andrews’ pace had slowed dramatically in fuel-saving mode, he crossed start-finish a few seconds after time had expired.
The extra lap that wound up not counting saw a five-car thrash around the 4.048-mile road course for what they thought would be the win. Dakota Dickerson maneuvered from fifth place to first in the No. 54 MLT Motorsports Ligier JS P3, but he was returned to fifth in the official result.
The victory for Kraut and Andrews comes two weeks after they won at Sebring International Raceway, though neither was sure initially if they had won Saturday.
“I was on the timing stand and the clock had run out,” said Kraut, who drove the opening stint but was among the first to pit 45 minutes into the race. “(Andrews) was coming out of (Turn) 14, we assumed they were going to throw the checker and they threw the white. We went like, ‘What?!’ Obviously, they did the right thing to reverse that.”
Andrews said he would’ve been delighted with third place, where he was when the extra lap was completed. Then he received the good news over the team radio on the cooldown lap.
“They said, ‘Hang tight, we may have won this thing,’” Andrews said. “So, I was super happy and celebrating the whole time. It was good.
“We came into the race probably knowing we didn’t have the pace, so we had to do a risky and aggressive strategy on fuel if we had any chance to win. As far as strategy and teamwork and just the driving for both of us, I think we did a really awesome job collectively.
“I’m stoked. Two in a row is awesome. It’s not something we expected but we’re very grateful we have the opportunity to do it.”
An additional post-race reshuffling occurred in technical inspection where a fuel capacity infraction was revealed on the No. 74 of Schwab and Brownson. The car was moved to the bottom of the finishing order as a result.
The penalty moved Dan Goldburg and Blake Mount into second in the No. 6 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier. David Grant and Keith Grant, who started on pole in the No. 40 Forty7 Motorsports Norma, wound up third overall but claimed victory in the Bronze Cup class.
“It was great,” Keith Grant said. “David put down some good qualifying laps and was able to start from the pole for us. He led the whole first stint and did a good job of getting us a gap. We had a good pit stop this time; we had troubles last time at Sebring. I just had to put my head down.”
IMSA Prototype Challenge returns to action Sunday, Aug. 23 at VIRginia International Raceway. The race streams live at 9:35 a.m. ET on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
from the Mazda Newsletter. The Mazda Road to Indy (#MRTI) is a similar program that includes Mazda-powered categories of USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights.
ELKHART LAKE, Wisc. (June 25, 2018) – As the Mazda Road to Indy made its annual pilgrimage to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin’s Road America circuit, most of the teams loaded their transporters earlier this week with a long drive ahead of them. However, for Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda team ArmsUp Motorsports, it’s a 14-minute drive on the familiar State Road 23 and 67 before pulling through the front gates at the 63-year-old facility.
Started in 1998 by Gregg Borland, The Sheboygan Falls-based team began fielding cars in junior open-wheel racing and has now developed into a premier team on the Mazda Road to Indy, with a short but rich history of competitive cars and drivers.
“I worked in Skip Barber for many years. I did driver coaching and teaching, then test driving for them,” said Borland, team owner of ArmsUp Motorsports. “We had a Formula Continental car and it was fun, we did probably six or seven events a year. One of my friends from Skip Barber decided to buy a Formula Continental [as well], so we bought the car and started running him and we still had the rental car. The next thing you know, he’s out telling his buddies and another guy came along and before I knew it, we had four or five Formula Continental cars and that was basically the start of the whole thing.”
Over the past five seasons, ArmsUp has fielded talented drivers associated with the Mazda Scholarship. In 2014, Birchwood, Wisconsin’s Aaron Telitz captured his first Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires victory at Lucas Oil Raceway with Borland and the team before going on to with the 2016 Pro Mazda Championship with Team Pelfrey and graduating to Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.
“ArmsUp is awesome!” exclaimed Telitz. “They really want to work with their drivers. John Walko, their engineer, is very hands on and knows how to communicate with drivers really well… It’s such a fun family atmosphere. It’s a great team to learn from and have fun, and I got my first win with them on the Mazda Road to Indy, so their cars are quick too.”
In 2016, Brazilian Indy Lights driver Franzoni made the switch to ArmsUp after consecutive seasons with a rival team in USF2000. His three race wins, two pole positions and third-place finish in the championship with ArmsUp positioned him for a ride in the Pro Mazda Championship with Juncos Racing. Franzoni would go onto win the series championship and guarantee his spot in Indy Lights with the Mazda Scholarship Award.
“For me, they were a huge help. I was in a year where I didn’t have anything and I didn’t know if I was racing or not and they gave me the opportunity to race,” Franzoni described. “It was amazing, we had a great year together, we won three races and we were fighting for the championship until the last race. They did a great job when I was there and they did a great job when Telitz was there. They are great friends of mine and are part of my success.”
The team’s 20-year history of competition is impressive in its own right, but Borland will tell you there’s something more special in the fabric of the family operation.
“We’re determined and serious about winning races, but you got to keep it light. That’s what I enjoy about it, the personalities of the drivers really come out because the personality of the rest of the team is out there and it’s enjoyable…I’ve seen so many kids come out of karting and they’ve been racing for eight or ten years and it’s almost like it is not fun for them anymore. I’d like to see them lighten up a little bit, so we work really hard to get the driver’s personality out and into the program. It makes it fun.”
This weekend, ArmsUp welcomed back the 2016 Mazda Scholarship Driver, Dakota Dickerson and added Max Peichel to the team. Dickerson would lead the team with a best finish of ninth-place in Race 2. As for former drivers Telitz and Franzoni, Telitz would finish third in his home race while the 22-year-old Brazilian Franzoni would capture his first Indy Lights win, dedicating the win to Jeff Green, his former Pro Mazda teammate, who tragically lost his life last weekend in an auto racing accident in Canada.
As the post-race ceremonies ensued, the former ArmsUp drivers congratulated each other on their hard-fought performances, something fans of the Mazda Road to Indy could potentially see from the drivers in the Verizon IndyCar Series in the future.
Before all three Mazda Road To Indy series head to the streets of Toronto, July 13-15, the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires will compete on its second oval of the season at Iowa Speedway, July 7-8.
Mazda Motorsports boasts the most comprehensive auto racing development ladder system of any auto manufacturer in the world. The Mazda Road to 24 (#MRT24) program offers a number of scholarships to advance drivers up the sports car racing ladder, beginning with the Global MX-5 Cup series and culminating with the Mazda Prototype team. The Mazda Road to Indy (#MRTI) is a similar program that includes Mazda-powered categories of USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. In grassroots road racing, more Mazdas race on any given weekend in North America than any other manufacturer. Follow all of the latest news at MazdaMotorsports.com, @MazdaRacing on Twitter, and MazdaMotorsports on Instagram and Facebook
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TRAFFORD, PA (August 13, 2007) – With a trio of stout entries for the Star Mazda race at Road America, the John Walko Racing crew headed in to the eighth race of the season with a lot of confidence.
Early indications were promising as newcomer Steve Welk topped the charts early and JWR stalwarts Russell Walker and Charles Anti flirted with the top ten in practice early and often. Welk's success from the very start turned heads in the paddock but was not a huge surprise to John Walko.
"I've known Steve a long time and to be honest he went out and did exactly what I thought he was capable of in this series, which is run up front. He has the benefit of knowing Road America intimately with it being his home track but to be up front the very first time in a brand new car and staying there for the whole event was impressive."
Welk's impressive run continued in qualifying as the Wisconsin native stayed atop the leader board until the very end of qualifying. Unfortunately he had an off that resulted in a red flag and the loss of his fast lap as per Star Mazda rules.
"One small mistake cost Steve his fast lap but he still started in the top ten. We made some adjustments to the car before the race and he quickly moved up to the top five. He was on his way to a solid finish for his first time in the car but ended up on the wrong end of an incident that took him out of the race."
Anti showed flashes of speed all weekend long as well, never dipping far from the top ten in practice, qualifying or the race.
"Charles had the speed this weekend and really came to the track focused and ready to race. He was on a very fast lap in qualifying, probably one that would have put him in the top five to start the race, but made a mistake on the final turn dropping him to eleventh."
At the end of the day Anti came home with the top finish for JWR, placing eleventh. The results did not reflect where he had been running much of the race however.
"A top five was certainly within reach for Charles as he was running right in the mix with the lead pack. Another very small mistake cost him a great finish though as he bent a front wing after making contact with another car by just barely an inch. After that he did a great job just holding on to the car and reaching the end."
For Russell Walker the weekend seemed to be coming to him, placing in the top three in the final practice followed up with a seventh quick qualifying time.
"Russell had another strong run going at Road America. He was fast in practice and was solidly in to the top ten in qualifying as well. Each race it seems that he puts another piece of the puzzle together and inches closer to the front. Unfortunately it wasn't to be at Road America as he ended up off track, losing two laps in the process."
"Overall it was a strong showing in terms of speed but a few small mistakes kept it from being a completely successful race weekend. Hopefully we can turn that speed in to results as we head in to the last stretch of races. This crew never stops working so I'm confident that breakthrough race is coming soon."
Drivers wishing to join JWR for upcoming tests or races should contact John Walko Racing as soon as possible.
Steve Dreizler, Engineer for Charles Anti
"Charles had a good lap going in qualifying and missed just one corner, otherwise he was on his way to a top five. He came to the track ready and put in a good effort this weekend. Certainly in the race there was a big improvement in terms of starts and restarts and he was very aggressive in terms of gaining positions. It was a good effort in the race as well but just one mistake that cost him a front wing probably kept him out of the top five. The cars are quick and the drivers are quick, were just waiting for it to all come together at the same time."
"We didn't get much practice in between the rain and the damp conditions but we still ended the day in 11th. In qualifying we had a great lap going but made one small mistake on the final turn of my best lap and ended up 11th again. The race was pretty much the same way, it was a really good race and a lot of fun but I tagged someone with my wing and it bent up leaving me with no downforce for the rest of the race. I was fifth at the time and ended up 11th again. Both sessions showed how one very small mistake can effect an otherwise great weekend."
John Walko, Engineer for Steve Welk
"Steve was great to work with this weekend. He has a no-nonsense approach to his job and proved he knows his way around the race track in a formula car. His maturity showed in the way he was instantly able to integrate himself with the team. Whether it was listening and taking advice from others on the team or providing good feedback and input himself, he fit very well in to our team approach. Hopefully we'll get to work with him again in the near future."
"Overall I was thrilled with how the weekend went; we were fast every session and quick in the race. I probably had an easy top ten car and could have had a top five up until the incident. I was enjoying the heck out of it. I was really impressed with the team; I can't thank everyone enough from John to Kate to Russell my mechanic and everyone else. They were really an awesome group to be around and run with. I've worked with other teams before but everyone here was so focused and the team was gelled - overall we were still having fun but we were getting the job done as well."
Eric Langbein, Engineer for Russell Walker
"All this season we've been working on putting tools in Russell's tool box, now the next step for him is to learn when to use them all. He has the skills, he has the moves in his arsenal, now the next step is to learn when to use them to put together an entire race and eventually an entire Championship. At Road America just one ill- timed moved probably cost him the race and I don't see that happening again moving forward as he continues to improve. We look forward to the Canadian races now as we always run well there."
"Everything was working our way at Road America but we just didn't get the final results to show how good of a car we had. In the final practice we were third quickest and then qualified seventh. Unfortunately a mistake in the race left me stranded off track and by the time I was going again I was two laps down. Scott and Eric gave me a great car once again and we were up front where we know we should be. That race where everything comes together is coming very soon."
Road America Results:
1 Ron White
2 Dane Cameron
3 Nick Haye
11 Charles Anti
21 Russell Walker
23 Steve Welk
Drivers interested in joining JWR for upcoming tests are encouraged to contact the team soon. Also, drivers interested in discussing their 2007 racing programs should contact John Walko Racing at email@example.com
Steve Welk Joins the Walko Stable for Road AmericaTesting and More Keeps Team Busy During Star Mazda Break
TRAFFORD, PA (July 30, 2007) – John Walko Racing will add a third car for their assault on th Road America when the Star Mazda Series returns to the storied venue on August 11 . Steve Welk will join Charles Anti and Russell Walker for his first Star Mazda race.
Team owner John Walko has a long history with Welk however and is confident his newest driver will be able to deliver on short notice.
"I've know Steve since we raced in the Zetec Series and I was impressed with him back then. He has a solid background from Karting Championships to Formula Ford. That is his home track, he lives there actually, and he has a lot of local support. We'd love to have it grow in to a bigger program for Steve but I'm excited to have him for Road America at least."
Walko has good reason to be excited about Welk's prospects at Road America. The Wisconsin native competed at Road America in the Formula Ford Cooper Tires Championship Series in 2006 and scored second and third place finishes in the two races. Impressive results for any weekend but more impressive in light of the fact that it was the only open wheel races Welk ran in 2006.
Welk will also enter the race with the benefit of a day of testing in a variety of conditions as Walko noted.
"Steve tested very well at BeaveRun. We were able to get him a significant amount of seat time in wet, dry and drying conditions and he ran competitive times throughout the day."
The test not only served to acquaint Welk to the Star Mazda machine but also enabled him to get comfortable with the JWR crew.
"I thought the team and everything worked tremendously well. I've wanted to work with John for a few years now after running with him in Zetec so it was really cool to be able to do the test. I felt I had a good balance with the car and I think a good base of information with the car going in to Road America."
Welk brings more than just talent to the table when it comes to Road America however as he has countless laps on the 4.048 mile, 14 turn course.
"Going to Road America I think I have a lot of good information on the track since I spent so much time there. I know John will put a good car underneath me so I'm pretty excited. I'm looking for a top five and we're perfectly capable of doing that despite the tough field in Star Mazda right now. John's team is a lot of fun to work with and I'm really excited about running with them there, I can't wait!"
While the Star Mazda Championship Series has not raced since the July 7th round at Toronto, the JWR team has not had any problems finding ways to stay busy.
Testing has continued with JWR's duo of regular drivers. Russell Walker visits Road Atlanta in preparation for the upcoming race there on October 5th while Charles Anti has been in the car several times at BeaveRun Motorsports Complex.
Anti's tests have also given the team the chance to further develop Kate Gundlach's engineering talents. Gundlach, the team's data acquisition specialist, is being groomed as the team's third engineer according to Walko.
"We have been using these tests to get Kate more experience turning the knobs on the car as well, doing some more engineering. She'll be our third engineer; that has always been the plan for her. It's been interesting as Kate has been learning how the car works from the data end first while the rest of started life as mechanics. She is coming at it from a different perspective which should be a benefit to the whole team in the long run."
Gundlach continues to take advantage of all of her opportunities including recently participating in the fifth annual Women in the Winner's Circle program hosted by Lyn St. James. The event honoring women in motorsports took place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Brickyard 400 festivities.
The team has also taken part in several corporate events and driving programs at BeaveRun Motorsports Complex. Participants are able to see exactly how the team operates by interacting with the mechanics and the drivers as well as having the chance to see and analyze data and video with the engineers. Many have also been fortunate enough to leave with the once in a lifetime opportunity to climb behind the wheel of one of the Star Mazda machines.
While these types of programs may not yield on track performance gains they are instrumental in demonstrating the team's ability to excel in other areas besides the racetrack, a critical element to operating a successful race team in the current motorsports marketplace.
Drivers interested in joining JWR for upcoming tests are encouraged to contact the team soon. Also, drivers interested in discussing the remaining 2007 races or a 2008 racing program should contact John Walko Racing at firstname.lastname@example.org
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