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DATE News (chronologically)
05/17/09
starmazda
Christodoulou Wins Star Mazda Round 3 at Miller
Given that he dominated all but one of the four practices session over the two days leading up to the race, and put his #11 JDC Motorsports / Molecule Mazda on the pole by a margin of more than 3/10ths, it came as no surprise to anyone that he eventually crossed the finish line ahead of 32 other cars to win Round Three of the 2009 Star Mazda Championship at Miller Motorsports Park.  The manner of it, however, was a bit more interesting.

Christodoulou, starting from the inside of the front row, got an excellent start and pulled into the lead; his intent to drive a clean race from the front and leading every lap seemed to be going according to plan.  Then a full-course yellow resulting from contact between two mid-pack cars – as it so often does – nearly changed everything.  After two laps of full-course yellow, on the re-start, it was Louisiana racer Alex Ardoin who emerged from the four-abreast charge into Turn One leading the pack.  And this he continued to do for the largest part of the race until, in one of those inexplicable things that happen in racing, while changing the settings on his cockpit-adjustable sway bars, Ardoin's finger just ticked the engine shutoff switch… with predictable results; off into the gravel, madly scrambling to get the engine re-started and the car back on track.  Which he did.  In sixth.  And there he stayed until the checkered flag fell.  Needless to say he was too devastated to speak about it afterward.

Christodoulou, on the other hand, was quite content, having driven a flawless – if not quite according to plan – race, to score his second victory of the season (he won from the front row at Sebring) and consolidate his lead in the points championship that he had shared entering the Miller weekend with Peter Dempsey, winner of Round Two at Virginia International Raceway.  Christodoulou was also the top-finishing driver among those signed up for the Racing For Kids program and will have $500 donated in his name to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City and a matching amount to a children's hospital in the U.K.

"It definitely wasn't an easy race," said Christodoulou, the 2008 U.K. Formula Renault Champion.  "Alex was pretty quick, got a decent re-start and he actually pulled away at the start while I was battling it out with the guys behind me.  I caught back up with him and pushed him as hard as I could into the first corner and I think he hit the kill switch, and that was it for him.  Obviously I passed him, took the lead and just kept my head down and took it to the end."

Finishing second after qualifying 5th was Irishman Peter Dempsey, driving the #3 AIM Autosport / Motorsport Ireland / Queyside.ie Mazda.  Dempsey won the previous Star Mazda race, Round Three at VIR, and won four races in 2008, placing third in the championship.  His race was slightly compromised by a broken 'splitter,' an aerodynamic device that helps direct airflow and produce downforce to increase cornering.  Likewise, 3rd-place finisher Joel Miller, who started from the outside of the front row in the  #2 JDC Motorsports / Fader Higher Productions / Mockett / Burns Truck & Trailer Mazda, had mechanical problems that appeared early in the race; they did not compromise his ability to finish, but he was in 'conservation mode' throughout.  Miller, the 2008 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Scholarship winner, won the first race of last year at Sebring and finished second in the championship.

It is of note that all of the top-3 finishers are previous race winners -- and the 4th-place finisher as well, Englishman Richard Kent.  He was the 'man from nowhere' who showed up at the final race of last season, broke the lap record at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on his way to winning first the pole and then the race.  Kent drives the #33 Andersen Racing / Traka / Allied Interior Products Mazda.  Rounding out the top-5 was rising Brazilian open-wheel star Caio Lara, now in his second season of Star Mazda competition and driving the #19 JDC Motorsports / MLD / ATW/ Molecule Mazda for the championship-winning JDC Motorsports team.

Finishing first in the Expert Series for drivers 30 to 44 years old was Japanese rookie Toshihiro Deki, driving the #80 Goshen Motorsports Mazda.  It was the first podium appearance in the Star Mazda series for this driver who is a high-profile motorsports star in his homeland.  Winning the Master series for drivers over 45 is 2008 Master Series champion Chuck Hulse.  Making his first appearance in the series in 2009, Californian Hulse brought his #12 Dave Frietas Racing / Silicon Salvage Mazda home in 19th overall.

Results

Pos PIC No. Name Laps Total Tm Diff Gap
1 1 11 Adam Christodoulou 22 43:32.006 - -
2 2 3 Peter Dempsey 22 43:35.880 3.874 3.874
3 3 2 Joel Miller 22 43:36.456 4.450 0.576
4 4 33 Richard Kent 22 43:38.159 6.153 1.703
5 5 19 Caio Lara 22 43:40.496 8.490 2.337
6 6 51 Alex Ardoin 22 43:43.059 11.053 2.563
7 7 17 Mikael Grenier 22 43:46.508 14.502 3.449
8 8 21 Dennis Navarro 22 43:46.929 14.923 0.421
9 9 13 Michael Furfari 22 43:56.313 24.307 9.384
10 10 30 Rick Rosin 22 43:56.891 24.885 0.578
11 11 82 Billy Goshen 22 43:57.334 25.328 0.443
12 12 27 Anders Krohn 22 43:57.925 25.919 0.591
13 13 15 Taylor Hacquard 22 43:59.209 27.203 1.284
14 14 72 Jorge Goncalvez 22 44:06.557 34.551 7.348
15 15 61 Sean Burstyn 22 44:09.261 37.255 2.704
16 16 48 Kristy Kester 22 44:14.981 42.975 5.720
17 17 66 Rusty Mitchell 22 44:19.322 47.316 4.341
18 18 71 David Ostella 22 44:21.738 49.732 2.416
19 19 12 Chuck Hulse 22 44:24.062 52.056 2.324
20 20 77 Kevin Toledo 22 44:24.919 52.913 0.857
21 21 91 Michael Guasch 22 44:25.197 53.191 0.278
22 22 24 J.C. Kester 22 44:45.292 1:13.286 20.095
23 23 83 Bruce Binnquest 22 44:47.761 1:15.755 2.469
24 24 22 Conor Daly 22 44:55.009 1:23.003 7.248
25 25 55 Gerry Kraut 22 45:10.859 1:38.853 15.850
26 26 80 Toshi Deki 22 45:14.041 1:42.035 3.182
27 27 18 Stan Kohls 21 43:42.418 1 Lap 1 Lap
28 28 23 Walt Bowlin 21 45:04.436 1 Lap 1:22.018
29 29 64 Patrick O'Neil 19 40:12.753 3 Laps 2 Laps
30 30 86 David House 18 37:39.557 4 Laps 1 Lap
31 31 16 Chris Cumming 14 29:51.302 8 Laps 4 Laps
32 32 29 Phil Fogg 1 2:02.642 21 Laps 13 Laps
33 33 20 Gustavo Linares 1 2:07.851 21 Laps 5.209

The next event on the 11-weekend, 13-race star Mazda Championship schedule is a two-race weekend on the challenging road course at New Jersey Motorsports Park, June 11 - 12.  Between now and then, teams head to both Milwaukee and Iowa for series-sponsored testing in preparation for the two upcoming oval track races; June 20 at the Milwaukee Mile with NASCAR and July 10 at Iowa Speedway with ARCA. 

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