Michael McDowell, of Phoenix, Arizona, has continued his run of success, capturing the pole position, his fourth of the season, for Round Eight of the Star Mazda Series North American Championship presented by Goodyear this afternoon at Road Atlanta as part of the Petit le Mans weekend activities. Joining McDowell on the front row will be fellow championship contender Scott Jenkins, while Dan DiLeo, the current points leader, will start third for Friday afternoon’s thirty lap race.
Driving the Drive4USA/Sparco/Star Race Cars Star Mazda, McDowell, who has five victories on the season, set a new track record during the session, lapping the 2.54-mile circuit in a time of 1:19.726 for an average lap speed of 114.693 miles per hour. Jenkins, driving the Environmental Fibers International Star Mazda set a time just 0.290 seconds behind McDowell’s best, but was unable to mount a charge after going of track halfway through the session. “The credit for the pole has to go to the Star Race Cars crew for giving me a great car,” McDowell said afterwards. “I was able to put in a flyer and once Jenkins had trouble I was able to head to the pit lane and stand on that time.”
DiLeo, who has placed his Select Auto Star Mazda on the podium in each of his first seven races in the championship, will start third after lapping the track in 1:20.125, just ahead Colin Braun and Robert Pecorari, of a pair of talented sixteen year olds making their Star Mazda Series debuts this weekend.
Braun, from Ovalo, Texas, celebrated his birthday on the opening day of practice, the first day he qualified for an IMSA license, has adjusted to his Blueacre Motorsports prepared Pro Formula Mazda quickly, setting the fourth fastest time of 1:20.149 in only his fourth official session in the car. Pecorari was equally impressive in his Andersen-Walko Racing Star Mazda, setting the fifth fastest time of 1:20.345.
Round Eight of the Star Mazda Series North American Championship presented by Goodyear is scheduled to start at 1:35 PM Eastern Time on Friday, September 24th.