JDC MotorSports Garners More Top-10s
 May 2, 2014| 
  • Team News
Booth provides championship caliber team with top-10 finishes at Barber

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. – The 2014 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires season resumed this past weekend (April 25-27) for JDC MotorSports as the three-time series championship squad fielded four rookie drivers at the Grand Prix of Alabama. The majestic and challenging Barber Motorsports Park played host to a double-round event for the series’ first visit to the Leeds, Alabama circuit. Ryan Booth led the four-car effort, securing a pair of top-10 finishes, while Kyle Connery came up just short. Michael Johnson and Vicky Piria may not have garnering the results they desired, but improving their pace with each session and becoming more familiar with the operations of the JDC was certainly accomplished.

The three-day event was preceded by a promoter’s test session, which offered the Pro Mazda Championship teams time to gain more knowledge around the flowing 2.3-mile circuit. JDC MotorSports drivers appeared to be comfortable right off the hauler, gaining valuable data heading into the competition weekend. Friday afternoon served as the lone qualifying session to line up the drivers for Round Three, which would be contested on Saturday afternoon. The session was plagued with multiple red flags that halted any chance the drivers had to work into a rhythm on-course. Connery was among the reasons for a red flag when he went off in Turn 1, losing his fastest lap as a penalty, which placed him at the tail of the 20-car field. When the checkered flag waved to end the session, Booth had piloted his No. 19 Red Line Oil/HR-Sportswear racer to the 12th quickest time of the session to lead the JDC quartet.

The JDC drivers returned to their cockpits on Saturday after going over the race strategies for the first battle of the weekend. Booth took advantage of his position as the top qualifier in the squad, and gained five positions on-track to finish seventh for a third straight race. Piloting the No. 91 SeaRock/Connery Concrete/CleanAir Technologies/Red Line Oil/HR-Sportswear, Connery was on the move throughout the event. The redemption from qualifying landed him one position shy of a top-10 finish, as he took an impressive 11th place result. JDC drivers Johnson and Piria were right on his gearbox, crossing the stripe in 12th and 13th, respectively.

Sunday dawned with the second 20-lap event of the twin-bill event in Alabama scheduled as the first race of the day, in much cooler conditions. The starting grid was set by the better of either a driver’s second fastest lap in qualifying or their fastest lap of race one.  When the checkered flag had waved, Booth led the JDC squad once again, earning his second top-10 finish. Starting 13th, the rookie gained three positions over the course of the race to land himself in tenth. 

“For just jumping straight into the race weekend with only a day’s worth of testing, I am pleased with the progress,” stated Booth. “Race One went well for where I was starting and it was extremely fun. I was really happy to gain some positions, especially on a track like this where it is difficult to pass. I did not pick up as many positions as we'd hoped for in Race Two, but still was a solid finish to the weekend. The more I work with the guys at JDC, the more comfortable I will be in the car, which will lead us to challenge for the podium. I can't thank them enough for all the work.”

Piria, an Italian driver with F3 and GP3 experience, navigated her No. 13 machine to a season-best 13th place result, advancing two spots from her grid position. Connery started the event in 14th, and was off to a great start. That is, until he attempted a clean pass and the competitor drove him off course.  This dropped him to the tail of the field once again, but the 23-year-old from Florida attempted to gain positions back until a slight mistake cost him ground to the field, eventually placing him 17th. Johnson, who is paralyzed from the chest down, had a unique outcome as he battling electrical issues in his hand-controlled No. 54 Universal Coating/SpeediCath/FlatOutNation.com/Alpinestars/Bell/Red Line Oil/HR-Sportswear racer after a slight error pushed him off course in Turn One. The shifter failed to work, forcing him to onto pit lane twice in the race. He would then use the race as an extended test session and finished one lap down in 20th. 

“We showed great speed here during Winterfest and we were third quickest at one point, however, we lost the balance of the car with the warmer temperatures,” added Connery. “My mistake in qualifying cost us our fast laps and any chance for a good starting position. We rebounded quite well, fighting our way just outside the top-10 on a track that is extremely hard to pass on. I was satisfied with our performance in Race One, however, Race Two did not go so well. We learned that we can pass and that we have good speed. I have pinpointed a number of things to improve on before we head to Indy. I know I have a great team and crew behind me that are working their hearts out.”

The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires title fight returns to action at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix on May 8-10. JDC MotorSports will complete the historic month of May with Round Seven held at the Lucas Oil Raceway on May 24 as part of annual ‘Night Before the 500’ event.  In the championship chase, Booth is the top JDC MotorSports driver, holding the seventh spot after four rounds of racing. Connery (ninth), Johnson (15th) and Piria (19th) round out the team’s roster.

About JDC MotorSports:
Involved in formula car racing since its inception in 1994, JDC MotorSports has established itself as one of the leading junior open-wheel teams in North America. Initially making its mark in the F2000 class of club racing competition, JDC MotorSports was soon a team worth watching in the pro ranks. Competing in the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship, the team not only won races, but also helped develop multiple young drivers. In 2005, JDC MotorSports expanded its efforts, entering the Star Mazda Championship. Quickly becoming one of the top teams in the series, JDC captured both the driver and team titles in 2007, as well as Rookie of the Year honors, with Dane Cameron scoring a series-high three wins. In 2008, JDC MotorSports was the runner-up in the Star Mazda Championship and finished fourth in its inaugural season of F2000 Championship Series competition. The Minnesota-based team won the Star Mazda Championship title with Rookie of the Year Adam Christodoulou, and the F2000 Championship Series title with Chris Miller in 2009. The following year, JDC continued its winning ways, earning the Rookie of the Year award in the Star Mazda Championship with Connor De Phillippi, and scoring a non-points win in the USF2000 National Championship. In 2011, the Minneapolis-based squad captured its third Star Mazda Championship title with Tristan Vautier, scored a win in the USF2000 National Championship, and made its Prototype Lites Championship debut, earning five podium finishes. JDC MotorSports added to its Star Mazda Championship win tally, USF2000 Championship podium total, and finished as the Prototype Lites Championship runner-up in 2012. Last year, the squad continued its run of Pro Mazda and USF2000 podium finishes, and was third in the Prototype Lites title fight.

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