JDC MotorSports Drivers Show Speed/Racecraft at Cooper Tires Winterfest
 March 10, 2015| 
  • Team News

MINNEAPOLIS, MN. – Pro Mazda drivers Raoul Owens and Michael Johnson  together with JDC MotorSports newly signed Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship driver Parker Thompson were part of a three-car line-up for the 2015 Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship.

The trio was looking to gain momentum during the pre-season championship in preparation for the start of the regular season later this month in St. Petersburg.

The championship started February 19 on the 2.75-mile, 16-turn road course at NOLA Motorsports Park (North) located in Avondale, LA with Races 1, 2, and 3 and concluded the following week with Races 4 and 5 at Barber Motorsports Park.

Right from the start all JDC MotorSports drivers showed impressive speeds and racecraft with Thompson and Owens constantly running in the top ten in all sessions and races at NOLA. Owens finished fourth in Pro Mazda Race Two and Thompson recorded a trio of seventh-place finishes at NOLA.

After a short two day rest it was off to Barber Motorsports Park at Birmingham, AL for another two races and the conclusion of the 2015 Cooper Tires Winterfest Championship.    

Racing wasn’t the focus when the team arrived at Barber, with weather that took the name Winterfest Championship to heart with snow on the ground and freezing temperatures. 

As a result of the weather, Day One of the Cooper Tires Winterfest at Barber Motorsports Park ended early after just one shortened practice session in Pro Mazda which saw Owens on top of the time sheet followed by Michael Johnson in fourth.  Parker Thompson showed great pace qualifing fifth for the USF 2000 race before things came to an end for the day.

All track activity was postponed to the following day on the 2.3 mile, 17-turn road course at Barber Motorsports Park and the Pro Mazda starting grid for Race 1 was set by points received from the first three races of Winterfest at NOLA.  

In the first race, Thompson backed up his great qualifying performance from the previous day with a solid fifth-place finish in USF 2000 Race 1. 

Pro Mazda completed only 10 minutes of green flag running due to a first lap incident in Race 1.  Owens finished with a strong fourth-place drive and Johnson was 11th.

Due to the weather delays and the needed adjustments to the schedule, only one final race would conclude the 2015 Cooper Tires Winterfest for both series USF 2000 and Pro Mazda.

Thompson had another strong run in Race 2, running solidly in third place for most of the race until a brief off-track moment dropped him to 10th before racing his way back to sixth at the checkers.  With double points awarded, his strong run moved him to sixth in the overall Winterfest point standings.

Then it was on to the final race for Pro Mazda.  At the start Owens moved himself into fourth place and was closing on third, running very consistent laps and gaining valuable experience.

A late full course yellow neutralized the race with only two laps to go, and it was a shootout to the checkered flag with Owens running in fourth with a chance at a podium in the final race. Unfortunately, luck was not on his side when he was hit from behind by a competitor after the race resumed under green taking him out of the race with a 12th-place finishing position. His teammate Johnson brought home a 10th-place finish.

Driver Quotes:

Parker Thompson (USF2000 car # 80):

"Together the team and I gained extremely valuable experience throughout the Winterfest Championship. There was a lot to learn, and I feel we came out of the Winterfest with tons of knowledge moving forward into the regular USF2000 season. For my first races ever in a car I think the results were very respectable, but what was worth more than that was the vast experience I gained. We faced sunny, windy, cold and wet conditions. Looking forward to the regular season, I feel comfortable we are in a great place. The team and I worked fantastic together and I can't wait to see where we sit in St. Petersburg for the first race."

Raoul Owens (Pro Mazda car # 19):

"I thought the Winterfest could have gone better than it did. I am still happy with the pace that we showed throughout the two events as we were always top three for speed during the races. We learnt a lot along the way and we are going to use that moving forward into the season. I believe we are well prepared heading into St. Petersburg and I'm really looking forward to it!"

Michael Johnson (Pro Mazda car # 54):

“Winterfest at Nola and Barber was a good start to get me back into the groove of racing and running with other cars. I think all the hard work we did in the off-season testing is helping, but there is much more to come from me driving the car. I wish my finishing positions would have been better, but I’m excited to improve during the two rounds at St. Petersburg in a couple weeks. It should be a lot fun”.

The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda kicks off the 2015 season on March 28-29 on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

JDC MotorSports races with associate sponsorship from RedLineOil.com, HR Sportswear and Showdown Displays.

Additional information on JDC MotorSports can be obtained from the team’s website at www.jdcmotorsports.com.  

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