2004 RUNOFFS REPORT
True to form Pro-One had once again qualified more drivers for the SCCA National Championship Final than any other FM team in the country. John Kramer (#54), Jim Masters (#97), JR Walker (#74) and Fabio Castellani (#77) started the week long event with the Monday practice in excellent weather conditions. Although the weather promised to be perfect all week, the random run times of each day, the combining of classes during several qualifying runs (putting as many as 50 cars on track at one time) and the ever changing rubber on track (function of the group running immediately before) presented a huge challenge for Crew Chief Geoff Bushor and his team (Chris, Dustin and Tom).
Driving styles and different levels of familiarity with the challenging circuit made Geoff’s work that much more difficult. Jim and John were able to get a good baseline early in the week but John was greatly penalized by having to miss the only solo qualifying session of Wednesday, which also proved to be by far the fastest. JR struggled with brake and power problems and Fabio was penalized by a qualifying strategy ruined by a shortened session on Wednesday and by a driver mistake on Thursday.
Final changes were made to the cars and the Friday warm up showed that the team might just have hit the perfect set-up in time for the event.
True to prediction both JR and Fabio made an excellent start, quickly gaining several positions. JR’s charge was cut short however when the #87 car closed the door on him in the Carousel severely damaging his front wing. JR was able to bring his damaged racecar back to the pit where the only remaining wing and wing pole were ripped off by the crew. Without any front wings JR went back out and completed the race finishing an amazing 20th.
Fabio, after easily disposing of cars # 47 and 81, also suffered damage to his front wing while attempting a pass for 3rd place. Although not nearly as severe as JR’s, the damage to Fabio’s wing was significant enough that his car picked up a major push in 1 and 13 which prevented him from continuing his charge to the front and ultimately cost him a spot. He finished in 5th place.
Jim suffered from a bad push for the first part of the race but once his tires came up he began working his way through the field. All his efforts were however for not when car #79 collected him in 13 while being passed. As a result, both cars were out of the race. Although a disappointing result, Jim’s driving performance was a very clear indication of his talent and of the level of success that he will surely achieve next season.
John, not content with his already amazing accomplishment of having qualified for the Runoffs in his first ever season of racing, kept getting better and better with every session and every lap. Unlike some of his much more experienced teammates he was able to keep his nose clean for the entire race and proudly brought his #54 Formula Mazda home in an incredible 14th place.
At the Runoffs Pro-One concluded a very strong year that saw it drivers win National events, capture 2nd and 3rd in the CenDiv championship, finish the Central Star Mazda Series in 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th as well as winning the series’ Hard Charger Awards.
For 2005, the team is determined to raise the bar a notch and take top honors in both series, win the Runoffs and compete at the highest level in the Star Mazda pro-Series.
|WIN AND TWO TOP 6 FRO PRO-ONE AT CAT NATIONAL|