Contact: Larry Mason
LMR Marketing Communications
RUNOFFS REPORT - TEAM LMR EARNS TOP FIVE FINISH!
Indianapolis, IN – Larry Mason and the Auto Diagnostic Services Team LMR Formula Mazda went into the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a strong desire to be competitive and fight for a podium finish. With one test day under his belt, Mason qualified fourth on the first day of four days of qualifying. Over the course of the next three days, Mason was always in the top six in qualifying and ended up with the fifth best qualifying time heading into the race.
The track configuration was unique for this event although it utilized some of the Formula One and Verizon IndyCar Series road course. Race morning dawned cool and clear at a chilly 54 degrees. The split start would feature Formula Continental cars in the first group and Formula Mazda about 30 seconds behind. The first attempt at a green flag was aborted due to the FC cars. This gave everyone an opportunity to try to build more heat in their tires with an extra pace lap.
When the green flag dropped, Mason had a decent start but hit the rev limiter and missed a shift which meant that heading into Turn 1 he was engulfed by a gaggle of other FM cars and was hit in the right rear tire. In fact he dropped back to 11th! Due to another incident a full-course caution ensued for about three laps. Mason couldn’t wait to get going and on the re-start he timed it perfectly and used the draft down the long 3700 foot front straight to get alongside the car immediately in front of him. Mason was able to out-brake him and two other cars heading into Turn 1! He kept up his assault on the cars that had passed him at the start and was soon back with a view of the leaders. He was able to ever-so-slightly close the gap but wasn’t close enough to get any lap time help from the draft. It seemed like when there was a waving yellow flag for an incident, the others in front would take advantage and put a bit more time into the gap with Mason in fourth place at this point.
With the laps winding down, the pole-sitter who had spun (twice) came back through the field and passed Mason with ease down the front straight. Mason was able to hound him a bit on the infield and then chaos ensued. The third place car spun on oil and the former National champ who was running second tried to make a move on the leader to grab the victory. That move didn’t work and he spun. With just one corner to go, the leader was by himself but second third and fourth (Mason) crossed the line within a couple of seconds of each other!
“I’m happy to have brought the car home in one piece and running competitively, but I really wanted a podium finish,” said Mason. “The former National champ told me that he couldn’t keep up with the leader on the front straight as the winner had put in a new engine this year. To finish behind those two and the pole-sitter who was driving for the factory team, is doing very well, but I certainly wanted more.”
“Special thanks go out to Mazda for their tremendous support throughout race week. We stayed under their tent, took advantage of their pro-driver coaching, and much, much more. Their contingency and tow monies are especially appreciated. Goodyear provided us with fantastic tires that were consistent throughout every session. Their trackside support was second to none. Summit Racing, Hawk brakes, and Spa Technique also provided contingencies and will be put to good use. Bell Racing Helmets were also trackside and I got to try on one of their latest full carbon fiber lightweight helmets – the RS7. The Fiberglass Body had a major hand in our success as the new nose and spare nose were revised for a better aerodynamic fit. Polar provided the means for me to get my fitness regimen in line with the event. In fact, the triathlon I had recently done matched perfectly with my peak heart rate in this race. Thanks also go out to Jim Webb Motorsports, Triathlon Lab, LA Tri Club, and Performance Plus. We were also proud to race with over 50 signatures and messages on top of the sidepods which raised over $600 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation!”
“Of course none of this could’ve even taken place if it weren’t for Tom and Stella from Auto Diagnostic Services who transported the race car to and from Indianapolis across this great country of ours. Tom’s tireless work ethic and master mechanic skills were on full display throughout the week as we worked hard to have the best package possible for the race. Last but not least, I owe a great debt of gratitude to my wife Sonia who sacrificed her vacation time to take pictures, clean the car, update the Facebook.com/TeamLMRUSA page, and did whatever was necessary to help make this event a success.”
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Larry Mason crossing the world famous “yard of bricks” at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway!
Photo by Stella Castro
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