Led by a hard charging Grant Ryley World Speed Motorsports placed all four of their entrants in the top ten for round six of the Star Mazda Series Best Western Championship at Road Atlanta and managed to keep their season long podium streak alive in the process.
Ryley, in the #14 Cupertino Electric/Del Monaco Specialty Foods Mazda, showed no ill effects of his difficult Portland weekend claiming third on the starting grid and fast lap during the race on his way to second place behind series points leader Bernardo Martinez. “I would’ve liked to have had a few more laps out there,” Ryley said after the race, “I came close to pulling off a pass there at the end and just needed to adjust the timing a little bit. I was driving the wheels off the car those last few laps.”
Also looking for a few more laps was Portland race winner Alex Figge, who brought home the #18 ZeroWait/ Bell Helmets machine in fourth place only a couple of tenths behind Jason Lapoint. “I got held up a bit on that last restart and that made all the difference on the track, again my engineer Mark Milazzo and the whole World Speed crew gave me a great car and a few more laps would’ve found us on the podium,” Figge said afterwards.
Scott Bradley in the #19 Polycom/Radvision/Peak Travel Mazda took the prize for most interesting race of the weekend moving up from his fifth place starting position into the top three before several driving errors left him down in 19th place halfway through the race. “I misjudged the exit of three and went off course losing valuable track position, I was able to move back up the field then on the first restart my clutch broke,” Scott said. A later off course excursion, and subsequently stalled engine, forced him to use the starter motor to bump start the car while in first gear. “It seemed like the entire field was passing me by while I tried to get the car restarted but once underway the car was great. I’m definitely glad I was able to bring the car back up to fifth place.”
A late race encounter with lapped traffic shuffled Chantz Wade in the #15 Shames Construction Mazda back to seventh place in the final standings after running towarsd the front of the field all race. “We were going into the first turn and the lapped car was trying to race us, made a late passing attempt and forced me off the track to avoid a collision,” Wade said. “I could only watch as several cars managed to slip past me before I could get back on the road to pick up the chase.”
With two rounds remaining in the Best Western Championship all four drivers are still mathematically in the championship hunt led by Bradley in second place on 200 points (40 behind first place), Ryley in third with 197 points, Wade in fifth with 181 points and Figge in sixth with 172 points. The series resumes on October 14th at Laguna Seca Raceway with the series finale on October 28th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.