FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lakeville, Conn. (October 11, 2009) Heading into race weekend with a small points lead and high hopes of winning the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge Summer Series Championship, Driver Phil Mather rose to the challenge, earning a second-place finish and taking the next step for entry into the 2009 Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout.
"Overall, the races at Lime Rock Park went very well," affirmed a positive Mather, who fought the flu throughout the weekend. "Friday's qualifying was wet and rainy, as was the race itself. Describing the race track as "treacherously slick," Mather started fourth for Friday's race, three places behind Lee Carpentier, his main competition for the championship.
During the first race, Mather fought hard, working his way up to second place. "I was pressuring the race leader, hoping to force him into a mistake," said Mather. Halfway through the race, Mather had slid back to fourth position, where he witnessed the driver immediately in front make contact with a guardrail exiting the uphill turn at Lime Rock Park. Said Mather, "I took evasive action, but luckily the other car did not come back onto the race track." Mather held third position and finished a clean race.
On Saturday, conditions were much improved. "The track was dry," said Mather, "but the grass was still wet. I knew any wheels off incident could result in disaster. I was still feeling quite ill, so I opted to run a consistent race." Mather started third and quickly made his way to second place by turn three. Of the second race, Mather said, "one challenge is that the car was handling quite differently, and it took a couple of laps for me to get a handle on what the car was doing." Halfway through the 20-lap race, a full-course caution gathered the field back up. "I was able to stay with the top two racers for the last six laps and finished the race in third," said Mather.
At the weekend's end, Mather had earned enough points for a solid a second-place finish in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge Summer Series Championship. The second place finish earned Mather an invitation to the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge Shootout in Kershaw, South Carolina at Carolina Motorsports Park October 24-25.
The winner of the Skip Barber Shootout will be invited to Buttonwillow, California for the Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout, which offers the winning driver the possibility of a seat with a professional racing team in the Mazda MX-5 Cup racing series.
Of the weekend, Mather said, "The championship battle was tight all season long. I was very pleased to earn second place overall in the Skip Barber Championship. The battle for first may have been lost, but the war for the big prize is not over. I will be back to 100% health by the time we get to Carolina Motorsports Park and I plan on racing harder than ever!"
Wrapping up the season, Mather added, "I want to thank my sponsors for all of their support. CG-Lock, SeatSnug, Royal Purple, and PerformanceDrift.com have been long-term, multi-season supporters of Team MatherMotorsport. I also want to thank my Dad, for his support and for coming to all of the races he could. It meant a lot to me to have him there!"