FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Birmingham, AL (April 22, 2017) Today’s Round 4 of the Mazda USF2000 Grand Prix of Alabama Presented by Cooper Tires at Barber Motorsports Park got off to a pretty bad start. On the very first lap, six cars, including Andre Castro’s #37 machine were involved in an incident in Turn 3. That ended Castro’s day, as he suffered suspension damage.
Just a few seconds later, Dakota Dickerson got caught up in a three-car tangle at Turn 5, and fell back to 18th place, as the full-course yellow was brought out. Dickerson was patient, and on the re-start, with fourteen minutes left in the race, he fought his way back up to the very end and earned a 10th place finish for the Newman Wachs Racing team. Dickerson was quoted as being “the best recovery drive of the day”
As for Flinn Lazier, this weekend’s Nemwan Wachs “new-kid-on-the-block”, he was able to stay out of the first lap carnage, and drove intelligently throughout the whole race. Lazier showed what he was made of when he made two solid passes in the last part of the race, and ended up with a well-deserved 11th place finish, after starting in 22nd position.
They say tough times makes you stronger and builds character. Andre Castro certainly has grown stronger these last few races, and his acquired character has allowed him to stay positive and look forward to better times.
Stay tuned for our next USF2000 Championship race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway o May 11-13.
Dakota Dickerson (car #36) – “My start was much better today. I got up to 5th exiting Turn 1 right from the start but Robert (Megennis) got me back into Turn 2. At that point, going into Turn 5, I was trying to make a move on Calvin (Ming) and Robert (Megennis), but coming out of the corner, I’m not too sure what happened, but we ended up getting wheel-to-wheel contact with Calvin. Not sure if that had something to do with Robert, but that put us off track at the exit of Turn 5, and I ended up in 18th on the re-start with 14 minutes to go. At that point, it was just push-push nonstop to get as many positions as possible. I needed a few more laps to get a couple more spots, because the car was really good. It’s unfortunate that we were as far back as we were, because after getting into the top 5 on the first lap, I think I could have challenged Oliver (Askew) for the win.”
Andre Castro (Car #37) – “Our race lasted 2 corners. I was going down into Turn 2, and I had a car on my outside and he pinched me all the way up onto the white line. We just got hooked together somehow through the whole corner, and someone came flying on the inside and hit my right front and broke the suspension, so that was the end of our day. All in all, we didn’t get the results we were looking for, but finishing P9 yesterday was a good result for me. I learned a lot, so from this point forward, hopefully we’ll start having better luck and start seeing better results.
Flinn Lazier (car #38) – “The race started off pretty crazy, going into Turn 2. A lot of cars went off, so the whole back field slowed down, we all got a little cautious going through there, and then it continued during the next three or four Turns, there was carnage everywhere. And so, that brought out the yellow, and I think that affected our balance a little bit for later in the run, but I think we played a smart race, make some good progress from 2 days ago. We’re happy and I think if we come back, we can have an even stronger run. I had fun out there.”
Alan O’Leary (Team engineer) – “I’m very disappointed for Dakota. He had a really great pace in the race. He really had great pace all weekend, and was doing a really good job. He just got caught up in, once again, someone else’s accident, and he went off, but came back, did a fantastic job fighting his way back from 18th to finish 10th. And, in the process, he did the 3rd fastest race lap. So, big kudos to him for not giving up and fighting his way back.
As for Andre (Castro), thankfully, the damage is minimal on his car. It’s a tough blow for him, after having a tough weekend at St. Pete’s. He came here this weekend, was doing a good job, had a good race yesterday. He struggled a little in qualifying but had a good run. We were looking forward to a good race today, and through no fault of his, he ended up out of the race. But hopefully, he can come back and fight another day.
And, our third driver, Flinn (Lazier), new to the team this weekend, really did a great job. It was a steep learning curve for him. He had done no testing, just came in and jumped right into the race weekend. To be honest, he did a great job, more than we could ever ask of him. To finish 11th here, was very respectable, and hopefully we’ll see him again for another weekend.”
About the Newman Wachs Racing Team:
Newman Wachs Racing (NWR) is a racing team owned by Eddie Wachs and, until his death, American actor and racer himself, Paul Newman. NWR is based outside of Chicago, in Mundelein, Illinois. Newman and Wachs shared the same passion for racing and met when they both competed in the Can-Am Series in the mid-1970’s. They raced together for 15 years in Trans-Am, Can-Am, and many other SCCA professional venues. Over the years, they talked about joining forces to create a driver-development race team. They put together a Champ Car Atlantic team for the 2006 season to meet their objectives. In 2009, John Edwards won the Championship for NWR, beating teammate Jonathan Summerton in a tiebreaker.
About the USF2000 Series:
The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda debuted in 2010 and is a continuation of the highly regarded USF2000 series that ran from 1990 through 2006, launching the careers of many of today’s top drivers. Sanctioned by INDYCAR, the series is the first official step on the Mazda Road to Indy. In addition to providing a vital training ground for rising stars, the series champion will earn a scholarship package from Mazda to advance to the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, the next step in the ladder system.
Aside from being one of the most successful driver development programs in the world, the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system has attracted competitors from all over the world, while providing a unique, scholarship-funded path to reach the Verizon IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500.