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SpeedSource RX-8 Koni Challenge Last Lap Battle Costs Team Podium
Submitted by Berny Herrera on Wednesday, May 2, 2007 - 11:33am

(04/24/2007) - Newton, Iowa - SpeedSource Race Engineering traveled from their home track race of Homestead Miami Speedway to Newton, Iowa for their second race in two weeks. The Koni Challenge Series took to the 1.3 mile road course for what was the first road race on the brand new facility. The team took two Mazda RX-8's to Iowa with the same lineup as they had in the cars at Homestead Miami Speedway a week before. The Iowa weekend proved to the team they had the formula for success in the Koni Challenge as SpeedSource was headed for a podium finish until they were unceremoniously taken out of the race.

In the #69 Mondial Forwarding Mazda RX-8 was the driving duo of Dan Allen and Jose Armengol. Sharing the #68 Mazda RX-8 would be Scott Schlesinger and David Haskell. The time on track was limited but the team had put together a good setup based on their research into the new track. With just one practice session before the race started both cars were placed in the top ten of the twenty five car field. Like the rest of the field, this was the team's first trip to the speedway but they were impressed with what they saw.

"Iowa's brand new speedway was a beautiful and very professional facility," commented Allen. "The track was smooth and easy on tires, the garage and pit area was large and accommodating and the Iowa fans were delighted to have us. Myself, along with the entire Speedsource team were honored to be involved in the first ever road race held here"

When race time came along Dan Allen and Scott Schlesinger both turned in strong performances to start the race. When the yellow flag caution periods came out the SpeedSource team utilized them to their best advantage to move the cars up in the field. Armengol and Haskell took over mid race. Through some strong driving and great race strategy both cars were running strong late in the race. With just a couple of laps remaining Haskell found himself in third place with a three lap shoot out when the green flag flew for the final time.

Haskell did a great job holding off some strong competition from behind when another competitor errantly took out the Mazda RX-8. Haskell recovered but could only cross the finish line in sixth place. Immediately following the race Grand American officials penalized the competitor that hit Haskell moving the Mazda up to fifth place.

"I was disappointed for David as he drove a great race," commented Team Owner Sylvain Tremblay. "He was doing all he could to hold onto his finishing position and it is unfortunate that we didn't score the podium. The guys in the #69 Mazda also drove another great race. They are driving consistent and getting better with every event. I feel confident about how their season is progressing."

The #69 Mondial Forwarding Mazda RX-8 came home to a ninth place finish. The driving duo has put together three straight top ten finishes placing them in fourth place in the Street Tuner Driver Championship.

"The #69 car never missed a beat all weekend," added Armengol. "The crew does such an awesome job week in and week out. Given the short turnaround from Homestead it says a lot about the commitment and dedication of the team to be able to get the cars so perfectly prepped in so little time.

"We had another good run today and had we had a little more luck with the full course caution periods we likely would have had a considerably better result. Still, that makes it three top ten results for the #69 in as many races to begin the season and come away pleased with the weekend, knowing every point is valuable for the championship"

The Koni Challenge will resume their Championship fight on May 20th at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Racing on the track named after the marquee they race, SpeedSource will be looking to score a strong finish. Prior to heading to Mazda Raceway however, SpeedSource will first campaign their Mazda RX-8 in the Grand American Rolex GT class at Virginia International Raceway where they lead the Championship.

SpeedSource Race Engineering's 2007 Mazda RX-8 campaign is supported by Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development, Mazda North American Operations, Road & Track, Racing Hart, Sparco, Motec, Hawk Performance Brakes, Dynamic Suspensions, Mothers Wax and Polish, Goodridge, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and Mechanix Wear. For information on SpeedSource's 2007 season, please visit Speedsourceinc.com.

On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle. At the track, you'll see MX-5 Miata, RX-8, MAZDA3, MAZDA6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models competing, because every Mazda has the soul of a sports car. In fact, the fastest growing road-racing class in the U.S. is the SCCA's Spec Miata class, with nearly 1,500 first- and second-generation Miatas tearing up America's racetracks, making it the most-raced production car in the world. Mazda's involvement in motorsports extends to its relationship with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, one of the world's premier road-racing circuits, and the Skip Barber Schools for driving and racing.

Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.

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