Booth Provides JDC MotorSports with Mid-Ohio Podium
 August 7, 2014| 
  • Team News
Team drivers improve all weekend to post strong results highlighted by advancement

LAKEVILLE, MINN. – The current Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires has been a steady focus on improvement for the JDC MotorSports crew and its trio of talented drivers. Entering the 2014 championship with three series rookies presented its own set of challenges, but a strong focus on driver development has being paying off and the pilots have improved both their pace and results on a consistent basis. This past weekend JDC MotorSports was at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio for the 10th and 11th rounds of the series, and Ryan Booth turned in his best result of the season by nabbing his first podium in the Saturday main event with a huge runner-up finish in challenging conditions. Michael Johnson continued his journey up the Pro Mazda learning curve with improved weekend pace, while Kyle Connery returned to action following ankle surgery to post a pair of top-12 finishes.

Booth started off slowly in Mid-Ohio, battling some nagging electrical issues, but once diagnosed, he moved his way up the time charts during the official practice sessions on Friday. In Saturday morning qualifying he timed in sixth quickest in the 19-car grid, turning his fastest laps of the weekend. The opening race of the doubleheader capped Friday’s schedule, and Booth used the grippy track surface to jump quickly from his third row starting spot to third in the lead pack, earning the Replay XD Move of the Race during his attack on his competition. After a mid-race caution, the Charlotte, N.C., resident then benefitted from the retirement of Kyle Kaiser to advance to second. Once in this position he pressured the eventual winner hard for the lead but came up just short of scoring his first series victory.  With the runner-up finish from Saturday providing extra motivation, Booth was confident for race two on Sunday.  However, after being checked up on the start and surviving contact that resulted in the loss of his front wing, Ryan salvaged a 12th-place finish that has placed him ninth overall in the series standings.

"After a slow start to the weekend and missing two practice sessions, then a great opening race, and a terrible second one, you could say I rode an emotional roller coaster,” Booth admitted. “We qualified P6 and P7 for the two races, which is not terrible but not the best. After the carnage at the start, we ended up P3 by the end of the first lap. Kyle (Kaiser) had a problem and pulled off on a caution lap, putting us in P2, and I stayed there the rest of the race. The second race didn't go as well. Due to all the cars checking up at the start, I had lost a couple positions by the time we hit turn one. I was boxed in and lost a couple more positions. After a racing incident between me and another car, I had lost my front wing. After that, I was basically in survival mode and just maintained as best as possible. Such highs and lows during the weekend, but I can't thank JDC MotorSports enough for all the work and Wisko Racing for the support. Hopefully we have a strong finish to the season.”

Kyle Connery made his return to Pro Mazda competition at Mid-Ohio, having recovered fully from ankle surgery in June.  The Florida driver used the initial test session to become re-acclimated with his car, testing the strength and mobility of his ankle to his satisfaction. Once confident in his physical condition, Connery pushed hard in the second test run and despite it being halted continually with red flags, he was happy with his segment times.  Disappointingly, a blown motor on Friday morning would put him on the sidelines until Saturday morning when a new engine could be delivered, and once the powerplant had been installed, Kyle proceeded to advance eight positions in Race #1 to earn the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award, driving from 19th to 11th. In the second main event, Connery was extremely pleased with the adjustments that the team made from Saturday and he was once again on the move, powering from 15th to ninth in the second 20-lap main.

“Mid-Ohio was an incredible roller coaster weekend that thankfully ended on a high note,” Connery detailed. “From the motor letting go on Friday morning and not allowing us to run a single qualifying lap, all the way to the end with two decent finishes coming from the back. Thankfully, after three years of running my own race team before, I know the ups and downs of racing. Watching the team install the motor and firing it up in under an hour was nothing short of awesome! Sunday was quite the rebound for the team and myself. All year I had been lacking patience and Sunday was a perfect execution of our strategy. We've made some changes with my friend Matthias now walking me through the race and helping me with critical information. Otherwise, I am really looking forward to the super fast Milwaukee Mile. I have watched Champ Car and IndyCar race there for years, and now I finally have my shot at the Mile.”

Michael Johnson continues to impress the paddock in his rookie season of Pro Mazda competition.  As the only paraplegic driver in the Mazda Road to Indy, Michael faces his own unique challenges each weekend, although they do not slow him down. At Mid-Ohio, his development continues and he gained speed with each new on-track session, eventually closing the gap on the leader’s pace from 2.8 seconds in the opening test session on Thursday to just 1.7 seconds in qualifying.  The focus of this 2014 freshman campaign is to learn the Pro Mazda car and its dynamics, as well as the new circuits presented trough the series.  This weekend, Michael qualified 14th, and then took 17th in the first race of the doubleheader.  He came back on Sunday and finished 14th, nearly matching his qualifying time.

“It was a challenging weekend for me, as I was struggling to find the setup from the first test session,” offered Johnson, detailing his continuing speed improvement. “Each session seemed to get better, but I was still off. We were also dealing with a motor issue, which I hope we get figured out by Milwaukee. I'm having a lot of fun with driving this Pro Mazda car. I can't wait until everything clicks and I start getting good finishes! I'm excited for the Milwaukee Mile and getting back on an oval. It should be a lot of fun!!

JDC MotorSports’ and its ever-improving driver line-up will now head to the second oval event of the season at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, WI for the Milwaukee IndyFest on August 20-22.  The team had a strong run on the 5/8-mile Lucas Oil Raceway back in may,

About JDC MotorSports:
Involved in formula car racing since its inception in 1994, JDC MotorSports has established itself as one of the leading junior open-wheel teams in North America. Initially making its mark in the F2000 class of club racing competition, JDC Motorsports was soon a team worth watching in the pro ranks. Competing in the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship, the team not only won races, but also helped develop multiple young drivers. In 2005, JDC Motorsports expanded its efforts, entering the Star Mazda Championship. Quickly becoming one of the top teams in the series, JDC captured both the driver and team titles in 2007, as well as Rookie of the Year honors, with Dane Cameron scoring a series-high three wins. In 2008, JDC Motorsports was the runner-up in the Star Mazda Championship and finished fourth in its inaugural season of F2000 Championship Series competition. The Minnesota-based team won the Star Mazda Championship title with Rookie of the Year Adam Christodoulou, and the F2000 Championship Series title with Chris Miller in 2009. The following year, JDC continued its winning ways, earning the Rookie of the Year award in the Star Mazda Championship with Connor De Philippi, and scoring a non-points win in the USF2000 National Championship. In 2011, the Minneapolis-based squad captured its third Star Mazda Championship title with Tristan Vautier, scored a win in the USF2000 National Championship, and made its Prototype Lites Championship debut, earning five podium finishes. JDC Motorsports added to its Star Mazda Championship win tally, USF2000 Championship podium total, and finished as the Prototype Lites Championship runner-up in 2012. Last year, the squad continued its run of Pro Mazda and USF2000 podium finishes, and was third in the Prototype Lites title fight.
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