Posted (04/17/2007) -
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (April 17, 2007)-- SpeedSource Race Engineering secured a top five finish this past weekend at Homestead Miami Speedway. The #69 Mondial Forwarding Freedom Harley Davidson Mazda RX-8 came home as the top finishing Mazda in thirty five car strong Street Tuner class. Dan Allen and Jose Armengol shared the driving controls for the Southern Florida event. The duo bettered their season opening Daytona result by one position. The fifth place finish at Homestead places the pair in fourth place in the KONI Challenge Series Street Tuner class Driver Championship.
"The driving pair did an excellent job with running a fast and clean race," commented Team Owner Sylvain Tremblay. "Dan led in the middle of the race. After pitstops sorted the field out, Jose made his way from mid pack up to a fifth place finish."
"Starting the race in Miami was an absolute thrill as right away we gained couple of positions going into turn one," commented Allen. "We started 19th and very quickly kept moving up until at one point we were in first. It was an amazing feeling leading the race. Early in the race I got in a rhythm of tracking down cars up ahead and capitalizing on their mistakes. Being up front allowed me to put my head down and get some fast, clean laps in without traffic.
"Throughout the race the humidity seemed to amplify the heat tremendously but only affected our lap times towards the end of my stint. After the driver change, my team mate Jose took care of business as he began his stint in eleventh and worked his way up to fifth by the end of the race. The car performed flawlessly due to the expertise of the entire SpeedSource crew, and the support from Freedom Harley Davidson of Denver, and Mondial Forwarding."
"The Homestead race was a very special for me in a number of ways," added Armengol. "Being able to race at my 'home track' in a professional race was a big thrill. To see the number of friends and family that were there to lend their support was such a thrill. When Dan took the lead and the #69 was shown at the top of the boards there was a distinct roar from where they were watching."
"Dan did an incredible job today," added Armengol. "For a twenty year old rookie in the Koni Challenge Series, he drove like a seasoned pro. It really says a lot about him that he not only was able to take the car into the lead, but just as importantly to keep the nose clean and hand over the car in perfect condition."
The fifth place finish for the #69 car was made even more special as the team was on a steep learning curve all weekend long to learn the new Koni shocks. For the first time this season the SpeedSource effort fitted the Koni shocks to the car to adapt to the new future required shock of the series. The team learned a lot about the handling characteristic and were pleased with their development of the setup for the Mazda.
"We struggled with the setup on the car on Friday and Saturday, as they were our first track sessions having made the switch to the very first set of Koni dampers designed specifically for the Koni Challenge RX-8 on the #69 car," Armengol explained about the challenges. "However I have to give all the credit in the world to Sylvain and the SpeedSource team for making the adjustments to the car to get the balance of the car perfect in such short order. Those adjustments gave Dan and me the confidence to really turn up the wick during the race itself. Of course there's still a big learning curve ahead of us with the new Koni dampers, but we're very encouraged with the results so far."
Also in the SpeedSource effort was the #68 Mazda RX-8 driven by SpeedSource veteran Scott Schlesinger and Team Engineer David Haskell. A potential for a great run was dampened twice by contact. Schlesinger first had contact early in the race however the car was able to continue. When Haskell climbed aboard he was as high as fourth place when contact took the car out of the race.