Starworks Motorsport Mid-Ohio Race Review
Last Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Rolex Series event saw the two Starworks Motorsport show great pace and unfortunate racing incidents that led the #7 car to finish 11th and the #8 car to finish 13th. The team left Mid-Ohio disappointed with the finishes after showing incredible potential from both car. Despite the finishes, the team accrued additional racing experience and confidence that they are getting closer to their first victory. Starworks Motorsport had both of its cars take turns in the lead. Mike Forest led eight laps in the #8 Corsa Car Care entry, while Nelson Philippe paced 18 laps midway through the race in the #7 Flex-Box BMW/Riley started by Bill Lester and Ryan Dalziel turned the fastest race lap of the event by .3 seconds!
After qualifying 9th, Mike Forest, co-driver of the #8 Corsa Car Care Starworks Motorsport machine had a very competitive first stint leading a total of 8 laps in the first 30 minutes of the race before handing the wheel to Ryan Dalziel. After the driver change, the #8 car driven by Ryan Dalziel restarted in 10th place and was in contention for a brilliant finish before a drive shaft failure forced the car to head to the garage for a quick repair. The crew did an amazing job and Dalziel was able to rejoin the race to score points for his quest for the 2010 driver championship. During that time Ryan was able to sign the fastest lap of the race amongst all DP competitors, showing right there the speed of his race car at Mid-Ohio. The #8 car finished 13th.
The #7 Flex-Box with Bill Lester at the wheel qualified 13th on Friday and after a great first stint Lester handed the #7 car to Nelson Philippe in 3rd place. Nelson Philippe was immediately competitive in the car and after an incredible pass of the leading car, took command of the race on lap 38 and kept the lead during 18 laps. After Nelson made his final pit stop of the race, he found himself having to push back up the lead again preventing Nelson from getting there was Alex Gurney in the #99 DP, who is one of the most difficult to pass. Unfortunately, trying to force his way passed the 99 car the two cars came together and resulted in Nelson being forced of track with damage. After a pit stop to fix the problem, the Flex-Box car was relegated to finish 11th, truly not representative of what could have been.
Starworks Motorsport team principal, Peter Baron, is looking back at the results and sees positive signs for the near future. “There were positives to take away from this weekend,” announced Peter Baron. “I'm happy the Flex-Box #7 car started to run up front again. It was Nelson Philippe's second time in the car and he passed for the lead and led 18 laps. That car is starting to get its confidence back and I am sure it is going to have a strong 2nd half of the season. The Corsa Car Care #8 car was incredibly fast all weekend, led laps and had the fastest race lap. The set-up for Mid-Ohio will translate to many of the remaining tracks we are racing at this year, so I feel confident we are going to have a breakthrough win here sooner than later,” added Baron.
The Mid-Ohio event was the best so far this season for Bill Lester and the #7 Flex-Box race car. “The #7 Starworks Flex-Box team suffered a tough day at the office,” announced Bill Lester after the race. “After overcoming a major left front suspension failure on Friday to qualifying at the rear of the field, the weekend finally looked like it was going to come our way during the race. After an uneventful stint, I turned the car over to Nelson in good position to work his way into the lead of the race thanks to some stout driving and sound pit strategy. However, circumstances dealt us a cruel hand when an ill-timed caution dropped us down the order after pit stops. We had a strong car but ultimately a non-satisfying finish. However, despite the end result, it felt good to lead laps and be a contender for a while and we'll be looking to recapture that feeling at the next race at Daytona” continued Lester.
Former Champ Car race winner Frenchman, Nelson Philippe, did a great job at Mid-Ohio and even if he and Lester did not end up on the podium this time, they had a very good showing. “Overall, I think it was a good weekend for the #7 Flex-Box car,” Philippe said after the race. “I think it is the beginning of the turnaround for this team that has seen its fair share of bad luck this year. I feel like myself again, I feel I can be at the front, and I know I have a good car under me to take me there. It felt amazing to lead the race and I know the guys in the Starworks team were pumped to see the Flex-Box machine at the front! I am in the car again for the next event at Daytona, and since it's the closest race to home for me, I have really high hopes for this July 3rd event” announced Philippe.
The #8 Corsa Car Care co-driven by Ryan Dalziel and Mike Forest was really one of the fastest Daytona Prototype race cars at Mid-Ohio last Saturday. Even if they only finished 13th in the race despite showing winning potential, Dalziel and Forest only lost a few positions in the 2010 Rolex Series driver point standings and after this 7th round at Mid-Ohio, Dalziel is now ranked 3rd and Forest is 7th after seven races.
"Mid-Ohio has been a huge upset for the #8 Starworks Corsa Car Care entry,” announced Ryan Dalziel after the race. “We had an amazingly fast car all weekend and I truly believed Saturday was our day to get Starworks Motorsport their first victory. Unfortunately we had a driveshaft failure. I was proud that my crew did a fantastic job changing the driveshaft and getting me back into the race to collect some points. We set multiple fastest laps which gave us some satisfaction and redemption to our early race failure. I’m looking forward to Daytona," Dalziel continued.
Canadian Mike Forest was able to lead another race this season and was satisfied with the set-up and speed of his car last weekend. “Today was certainly an opportunity that passed us by,” said Mike Forest after the race. “We were in great shape. The car was amazing all weekend. We literally did not change a thing all weekend. I think we still were able to prove ourselves with me holding the lead and Ryan setting the fastest lap of the race. Sometimes you have part failures in racing. It just stings a little more when they occur on what seems to be the best weekend of the season” concluded Forest.
The next Rolex Series race will be the Brumos Porsche 250 on July 3rd at Daytona International Speedway.