JDC MOTORSPORTS ENDS CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON WITH PODIUM FINISH Cameron caps year with a pole position and runner-up result at Laguna Seca MINNEAPOLIS, MN (October 24, 2007) -- JDC MotorSports completed its 2007 Star Mazda Championship campaign ...
JDC MOTORSPORTS ENDS CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON WITH PODIUM FINISH
Cameron caps year with a pole position and runner-up result at Laguna Seca
MINNEAPOLIS, MN (October 24, 2007) -- JDC MotorSports completed its 2007 Star Mazda Championship campaign over the weekend, scoring a podium result and a top-five finish at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Dane Cameron and Nick Haye both logged top-fives to complete the season while Brian Thienes and Heamin Choi both survived the action at the season finale.
Having secured the 2007 Team Championship and Driver Championship title with Dane Cameron at the previous event at Road Atlanta, JDC MotorSports entered the season-finale in Northern California confident it could end the season on yet another high-note. With Cameron, fellow standout rookie Nick Haye, returning driver Brian Thienes and series newcomer Heamin Choi behind the wheel of JDC-prepared cars, the on-track action commenced on Thursday with a Promoters' Test Day. Trying out various setups and fine-tuning the cars during the three sessions, the JDC drivers yet again proved to be among the quickest. At the conclusion of the test day activities, both Cameron and Haye posted top times.
As is the case at virtually every Star Mazda event, Friday featured two additional practice sessions. Cameron and Haye once again posted times among the top-10, while Thienes and Choi significantly lowered their fast laps around the renowned road course.
Race day at Laguna Seca commenced with qualifying taking place early in the morning. Among the first group of cars taking to the course in the split session, Choi battled slick conditions, earning a 14th row starting position in his No. 11 JDC MotorSports entry. As expected, the second group of qualifiers featured much faster times. Cameron turned his fastest lap around the 2.238-mile road course, capturing his series-high sixth pole position of the season. Less than a second slower, Haye set the eight fastest time in the qualifying session to start on the outside of row four. Thienes earned a ninth row starting position for his first Star Mazda race of the year, after competing in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship in 2007.
Returning to the hilly road course mere hours after the completion of qualifying, Cameron led the 35-car field to the green flag. Getting away cleanly, the No. 19 JDC MotorSports/Finlay Motorsports driver retained the lead through the opening set of turns. Behind the race leader, Haye was able to avoid contact between assorted cars, moving up several positions. Lap after lap, Cameron retained the lead despite extensive pressure from a train of cars in hot pursuit.
Things changed, however, following a late-race caution for a two-car incident among the lead pack. On the ensuing re-start, Cameron got more wheelspin than desired exiting the final turn, allowing Alex Ardoin to draft and pass for the lead in turn two. While Cameron immediately responded attacking the new race leader, his chances winning the season-finale vanished one lap later when another incident resulted in the race ending behind the safety car. Taking the checkered flag in single file, Cameron finished second, two spots ahead of his teammate Haye. Choi, driving a strong first-ever Star Mazda race, improved nine positions, finishing 19th, while Thienes crossed the stripe in 24th.
"Laguna was a really fun weekend for me", offered Cameron. "With the championship already won, the pressure was off and it was a more relaxing weekend. It was great to get another pole and lower the track record. Unfortunately, the race was marred by yellow flags and restarts. I made a small mistake on the last restart that allowed Alex to get by and then the race went yellow and finished under caution two corners later. I would have liked to have won the race but another podium is a great way to end the year. I can't thank the team enough for all there hard work all year long."
"This weekend was one of my favorite of all time as everything came together and I performed my best race of the season," added Haye. "I finished as high as I possibly could of in the championship and I couldn't be happier. I've learned so much this year working with JDC, more so then any other year in racing, and I plan to use what I've learned to come back and win the championship next year. The team has been amazing all year and it's been great working with Rick and Dane, I couldn't have asked for a better teammate. I wish Dane the best of luck in his Atlantic ride next season. Ideally, I'll be able to follow in his footsteps."
After a night of celebrating the team's championship-winning season at the year-end awards banquet, JDC MotorSports has already begun preparations for the upcoming 2008 season and will test a number of drivers in the coming weeks.
Laguna Seca: Goodyear Racing race notes
Laguna Seca: Dane Cameron race notes