Hacquard and Cumming Record Career Best Finishes at Mazda Grand Prix of Portland
Bouncing back from a challenging race weekend at Watkins Glen in June, World Speed Motorsports drivers Taylor Hacquard and Chris Cumming had stellar results at Portland International Raceway during the Mazda Grand Prix of Portland doubleheader race weekend, with both drivers recording career best finishes and placing in the top ten of both races in the highly competitive Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.
After a seven week break between races Vancouver’s Taylor Hacquard was glad to be back and he duly delivered a career-best fifth place finish behind the wheel of the #15 Wolfe Auto Group World Speed Motorsports entry on his return in Saturday’s 34-lap race to record his third top-ten in four starts this season. Hacquard would add to his top-ten tally with another tenth place finish in Sunday’s 36-lap event.
“I’m happy to get my best result yet, not least after the last round at Watkins Glen,” Hacquard commented. “I’d have liked to have had a bit more speed to contend in the race and stay with the leaders but I worked with what I had and scored some decent points. We’re improving each time we’re out and I’m happy to come away with a pair of top-tens and hopefully we can continue that when we go to Road America in a couple of weeks.”
Fellow Vancouver, British Columbia resident Cumming was equally impressive on the weekend, following Hacquard to the line on Saturday to record a sixth place finish in the #16 Inviro Medical World Speed Motorsports Mazda then coming back with an eighth place finish on Sunday. Cumming would also get to celebrate on the podium as the Expert Class winner for both rounds of the championship.
“This has been an exciting weekend to be racing somewhat close to home and to finish on the podium both days,” Cumming would relate afterwards. “I finally feel like I belong up here on the podium as I’m running with the lead pack and for that I have to thank everyone at World Speed starting with my mechanic Virgil Cacdac and my engineer John Olsen. I also have to thank my Standing Start driver coach Mikel Miller.”
With their solid results both Hacquard and Cumming have climbed into the top-ten standings in the championship, with Hacquard in eighth place overall with 135 points while Cumming sits in tenth with 125 points. Cumming also takes a commanding lead in the Expert Class, for drivers aged 30 through 44 years of age, with a 24-point lead over his closest competitor.
While Hacquard and Cumming were battling in the overall championship four other World Speed drivers, competing in Rounds Seven and Eight of the Star Mazda West Coast Championship, were also on track for the weekend. All of World Speed’s west coast contingent would have a strong Saturday, with no driver falling below twentieth in the thirty-strong field.
Dave House, the Saratoga California based driver, would lead the way on Saturday finishing fifteenth overall to claim the third West Coast Series podium spot behind Patrick O’Neill and Michael Guasch, while fellow teammates Frank McCormick, Michael Gesser and Stan Kohls would finish seventeenth, eighteenth and twentieth overall.
Competition intensified on Sunday as Kohls would finish seventeenth overall and climb the second step of the podium while House would record his second podium finish of the weekend in the race won by O’Neill. McCormick would finish twenty-fourth overall, while Gesser, competing in his first Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear race weekend, would finish twenty-fifth.
“We are proud of the entire team and all the drivers who participated in the Mazda Grand Prix of Portland,” said WSM Operations Manager Mark Milazzo. “When we packed up the rig we had four of our drivers leaving with trophies which is nice, but the really great part of the weekend was that all of our drivers saw big improvements during each session and many of them broke personal records and surpassed stated goals during the weekend. This event should be a spring board to better results in the future for all the participants.”
The World Speed Motorsports crew now splits up with Hacquard and Cumming looking ahead to Round Six of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear on August 9th at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, while the rest of the team returns to Infineon Raceway ahead of Round Nine and Ten of the Star Mazda West Coast Series as part of the Formula Mazda Challenge weekend on August 30th and September 1st.