Star Mazda Champ 4th Round Too Long - Jwr

By: Kraig Johanssen

John Walko Racing team exuded too much effort for the fourth round of the Star Mazda Championship. The starters of the team found almost every aspect of the round long from Pennsylvania to Tooele, Utah. The Miller Motor Sports Park track was too long with 24 turns over a 4.5 miles course that nets lap times of just 3 minutes.

Nonetheless, according to John Walko, the team owner, over all length of the course gave some exciting technical challenges for drivers Russell Walker and Charles Anti. But he asserted that the track was really long with several turns. In effect, there were so many obstacles in terms of setups that many approaches can work. He added that if one corner is fixed, it will not leave you; rather it will hurt you on another part of the track. And the team owner considers this an interesting compromise.

Their team was on track for more than eight times during those four days plus six practice sessions, qualifying and the main event - the race. The race itself indeed gave their drivers extreme challenges. This happening is experienced for the first time by Charles and Russell since their joining the series. Such much time is both physically and mentally demanding for the team.

Charles was running in the top five slots during the opening session Russell was finishing the first day of practice at the top spot. From this, one can say that nothing really went wrong and everything started off really good. However, the track changed a lot from as days go by. But the team still managed to cope up with those changes.

The team owner admitted that Russell had over driven a little bit during the qualifying. But he defended that for some reasons, it was something that easily happen on the track. Good thing, he qualified in the ninth place. On the other hand, Charles had very few quick laps out of the gate. But he ended up behind another car. And because of this, he was not able to grab a real clean lap after that.

All through out the race, Russell and Charles had different car running styles and strategies.

John Walko said that Charles started excellently. In fact, before he settled 6th, he was in the top 5 during the opening laps. Walko commented that in the middle of the event, Charles was consistent but he did not prosper in the end. Russell's starting position was great but that was not maintained all through out the race. Some cars made contact with him but he struggled and managed to do a great job with a poor handling car.

At the end of the race, Russell placed 8th while Charles did not qualify to the top 10, settling at the 11th spot.

The result of the race was not the one that the team was hoping for but it definitely gave them an idea of what strategy to use in the next round.

The team owner said that Charles never experienced a complete race and the amount of endurance and concentration needed. With this, they need something to work on so that their aim could be achieved in the next round and the rest of the season.

Russell Walker said that they have been in the top two before; however, they never have been fastest at the end of any race like what they did in this race. Although he knew he could run up front, they just had to stay where they were. According to him, they were overdue for the first win so he is looking forward to an exciting Portland race where he is optimistic that could be their wining event.

Teammate Charles Anti said that the race was a new experience that was a very long one. In his two years experience in the Star Mazda Series, this was the first time where he had to be on top for 45 minutes straight. He added that he is challenging himself to improve his condition and concentration to have better racing results.

With big regrets, Walko said that if Charles did the same speed in the race as what he showed off in the practice session, he could have reached the top five. But the owner still firmly anticipates for a better result at Portland.

The fifth round of the championship will be held on at Portland International Raceway. Drivers interested to join the Star Mazda Team Champions for the forth coming races should contact the team as early as possible.

About Mazda and its Auto Racing
Mazda Motor Corporation is the sponsor of the Star Mazda Championship. Aside from manufacturing quality auto part such as , the company is also known in the world of auto racing.

In the field of racing, Mazda is successful with two-rotor, three-rotor, and four-rotor cars. Private racers have also had considerable success with stock and modified Mazda cars with Wankel engines.

Mazda's competition in race started on October 20, 1968. This was when two Mazda Cosmo Sport 110S coupes entered the 84 hour ultra endurance race in Marathon de la Route at NÃ?rburgring. One car finished as the fourth placer and the other broke an axle after 81 hours.

Now, Mazda continues its legacy in the race world. And more recent is the fifth round of Star Mazda Championship at Portland International Raceway.

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