Third Victory of the Year for Skip Barber Challenge Driver Mather
Two Races Remain for Championship Leader
Elkhart Lake, Wis. (August 24, 2009) - Driver Phil Mather's second visit of the year to challenging Road America for races nine and ten of the Skip Barber Mazdaspeed Challenge ended in 1st and 5th place finishes for the Adrian, MI driver.
Saturday started off strong, with Mather clocking in fastest among the competition in both practice sessions by over 0.5 seconds and earning his first pole of the series in qualifier. "The car felt like it was driving on rails," said Mather, adding, "I felt as if I could have put it in cruise control for the lap!"
In Saturday's race, Mather had to deal with adversity up front: "I missed a shift right at the start/finish, but recovered quickly and slid into second place into turn one." Mather regained the lead by turn three and focused on opening up a gap on his competitors. Halfway through the race, drivers in P2-3 worked their way up to the front, and Mather swapped positions with them many times. Ten laps later, Mather had earned his third victory of the year.
In the Skip Barber Mazdaspeed Challenge, the starting grid for Sunday's race is determined by finishing position of Saturday's race. Mather again started on pole on Sunday, leading for two laps. Mather was passed by a drafting competitor and explained, "the draft is so important at Road America. If you don't have a drafting partner, you cannot pull away from the others."
As is often the case with race cars, Mather reported that his car's handling felt different on Sunday, possibly due to changing track conditions. Said Mather, "my lap times were about the same, but the car was not as predictable, making it much more difficult to drive."
Adversity struck on the last lap of Sunday's race: on the last lap, Mather was passed by the car in P4 with three turns to go. Going into the last turn, the two cars made contact, and Mather running four wheels off in the grass. Said Mather, "I immediately dove to the pit entrance for a penalty," adding, "the contact was completely un-intentional." Mather landed in P5. "I wish race results had not been determined by contact, but those were the cards we were dealt."
With two races left in the Skip Barber Mazdaspeed Challenge, the championship points race is close. After the weekend at Road America, Mather is tied for the lead. With all races included, Mather has an eight point lead in the championship standings.
After recapping the weekend, Mather said, "I couldn't do this without my sponsors, CG-Lock, Seat Snug, and Royal Purple! I'd also like to thank my friends and family for their continued support. The Skip Barber coaches, mechanics, and staff put on a great racing series."
The last two races of the Skip Barber Mazdaspeed Challenge will be held at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut, October 9th and 10th. For more information, please visit TeamMatherMotorsport.com
August 16, 2009 - Adrian, MI
The Road to Road America
It's a week before the Skip Barber Mazdaspeed Challenge's second visit to Road America on August 22nd, and Team MatherMotorsport is focused on final preparations for the event. The race will mark Phil Mather's fifth appearance in the series.
"In the Skip Barber series, I don't have to worry about preparing my car before the race," said Mather, adding, "the series does that for us, which is an advantage. The majority of my focus is on mental preparation, and on keeping my skills sharp in between races." Mather, who placed 2nd and 1st the last time he raced at Elkhart Lake's Road America, feels like his preparation is well underway.
"Having participated in four weekends of Skip Barber Mazdaspeed Challenge races this year, I feel like I am very well acquainted with the competition, and I look forward to racing against some very talented guys," About Road America, Mather said, "it is a very fast flowing and technical track, with high, medium, and low speed turns," adding, "I am looking forward to the challenge!"
The Skip Barber MazdaSpeed Challenge, an equal-car racing championship featuring Mazda's iconic MX-5 Miata sports car, has truly served to highlight Mather's ability behind the wheel. To date, he has earned podium finishes in each of the seven of eight series races he has competed in, finishing no lower than P4.
Says Mather, "Race weekends are intense, but fun. When you arrive at the racetrack, you know competition is going to be tough. Cars are randomly assigned to drivers at the beginning of the weekend and we aren't allowed to make any adjustments. There is typically one day of practice, one qualifying session, and two 30-minute races."
Check here next week for the race results !