2004 Star Mazda Series North American Championship presented by Goodyear – Round 6 at Mosport

Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport
Mosport International Raceway – Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
August 5 – 7, 2004

McDowell captures fourth victory of season at Mosport

Saturday, August 7, 2004. Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. Michael McDowell has captured his fourth victory of the season in the Star Mazda Series North American Championship presented by Goodyear, bringing his Drive4USA/Star Race Cars/Sparco Mazda from third on the grid to the top of the charts in Round Six today at Mosport International Raceway.

McDowell, from Phoenix, Arizona, fought his way past Dan DiLeo and Raphael Matos, and had built up a three second lead before a full course caution period with six laps remaining closed the gap and found him fighting to hang on to the victory. “When the final full course caution came out I was nervous,” admitted McDowell. “The gap I had built up went away and I knew Dan was going to do all he could to get around me, but I managed to hang on for the win.”

Finishing second, his sixth straight trip to the podium, was series points leader DiLeo, of Toronto, Canada, who set the fastest lap of the weekend as he tried to find a way around his Star Race Cars teammate. “It was frustrating as I tried everything I could over those final four laps to get around Michael,” DiLeo explained. “I would get a run down the backstraight and as soon as I would pull out of his draft I would hit the rev-limiter and have to fall back behind him. On the last lap I could have made an aggressive move to try to take the top spot but at this point in the season, with the points lead I have, it wouldn’t make sense to do that.”

Completing the top three was another series rookie making his first appearance of the season on the podium, Raphael Matos. Matos, from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, earned his first pole position for the Showtime/Samsung/Skip Barber Mazda prepared by Hearn Motorsports earlier in the day, but spent his race battling blistered tires as he worked to retain a spot on the podium. “It’s a great feeling to finish on the podium finally as everyone at Hearn Motorsports has worked hard every weekend,” Matos said. “My left rear tire was blistered by the fourth or fifth lap which caused the car to oversteer in corners one, three and eight.”

Continuing his string of strong finishes was Scott Jenkins, of Portland, Oregon, who finished fourth in the Environmental Fibers International Mazda and now sits third in the championship behind DiLeo and McDowell. “We didn’t have a podium car today,” admitted Jenkins afterwards. “With points at a premium in this series I’m happy that I was able to bring it home fourth but we’ve got some work ahead of us to run DiLeo and McDowell down.”

Fifth place overall was locked down by Jonathan Klein in the Kalfact Plastics/Fettes, Love and Sieben Mazda, as the Long Grove Illinois native held off a hard charging Moses Smith at the finish by a car length. “We changed the muffler after qualifying and gained four miles an hour on the straights in the race which helped in the end,” revealed Klein afterwards.

One of the most impressive drives of the race belonged to defending race winner Luis Schiavo. Starting from the back of the grid after losing his qualifying times for a technical infraction, Schiavo, from Caracas, Venezuela, shot his way through the field in the Energy Freight/Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda and was flirting with the top-ten when contact sent him of the track in turn two with four laps remaining. Despite the contact Schiavo was able to bring his car home in the sixteenth spot.

The thirty lap race was interrupted by two caution periods, the first on the opening lap when Michael Potekhen and Micky Gilbert made contact entering the first corner, the second full course caution period came in the closing stages of the race when Richard Haskell’s car became high-centered on the curbing.

Round Seven of the Star Mazda Series North American Championship presented by Goodyear will be held with the American Le Mans Series event at Road America on August 18-20. The Mosport International Raceway round of the championship will be broadcast by Speed Channel on August 29 at 2:00 PM Eastern Time. For more information please visit www.starmazda.com.

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