JDC MotorSports Starts Season with Valuable Points Finishes
 April 2, 2014| 
  • Team News
Connery and Booth lead four-car charge with top-five and top-10 finishes on streets of St. Petersburg

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. – The start of the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires season proved to be a mixed affair for JDC MotorSports this weekend (March 29-30), with the three-time series champion ultimately taking home precious championship points via a top-five and a pair of top-10 finishes. Kyle Connery led the four-car effort, securing a hard fought fifth place in the first round of the season-opening twin bill, while rookie Ryan Booth added a pair of top-10 results on the Streets of St. Petersburg. Michael Johnson, despite not garnering the results desired, showcased good pace in his series debut, while an opening race incident restricted rookie Vicky Piria to the first round.

With an eye on adding to its race and championship-winning Pro Mazda resume, JDC MotorSports entered the 2014 season-opener in Florida ready to fight for top honors. As planned, the opening practice sessions were utilized working with the skilled foursome of Booth, Connery, Johnson and Piria on car setups for the 1.8-mile street circuit. Despite not focusing on overall fast laps, the squad indicated its intentions, with Johnson cracking the top-four in his hand-controlled No. 54 Universal Coating/SpeediCath/FlatOutNation.com/Alpinestars/Bell/Red Line Oil/HR-Sportswear racer. It was all not good news though, as Connery made heavy contact with one of the concrete retaining walls, resulting in a trip to the local hospital for observations before being released.

When the JDC drivers, including Connery, returned to the cockpits early the next morning for qualifying, spirits were good under the team awning. The timed session, however, didn't run quite according to plan. Never finding the pace desired, Booth's pace proved to have the best outing in his No. 19 Red Line Oil/HR-Sportswear racer, turning the seventh best time, edging Johnson in 11th, Connery in 15th, and Piria in 17th.

The entire JDC squad remained confident entering the race one of the doubleheader, despite not getting the fast laps desired in qualifying, given the squad's proven track record on streets circuits. Before the Pro Mazda racers could go racing, Mother Nature had other ideas, with severe weather forcing the first points battle of the season to be delayed for several hours. The action finally did get underway in tricky conditions, proving to be an up-and-down affair for the JDC foursome. Piloting the No. 91 SeaRock/Connery Concrete/CleanAir Technologies/Red Line Oil/HR-Sportswear, Connery was a driver on the move. The Floridian, in what was a superb drive, passed car after car, working his way all the way up to fifth when the checkered flag waved, securing the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award. Booth made it two JDC cars inside the top-10, crossing the line in seventh in his debut run. Johnson, having been among the top-10 battle for the majority of the race, came home in 11th. Likewise, Piria was among the top-10 for the majority of the 17-lap endeavor, was classified 19th following significant contact with one of the concrete retaining walls on lap four. Unfortunately, the incident subsequently ended her event prematurely.

The JDC contingent returned to action one day later under sunny morning skies, excited to build momentum in race two of the season-opening doubleheader after two strong results, and valuable points in the record books already. What followed proved to be an uneventful, but solid affair. Booth, becoming more acclimated to his return to the open-wheel ranks, added to his top-10 tally with a second consecutive seventh place finish, leading Connery (12th) and Johnson (15th) to the checkered flag.

"After a big shunt on Friday, it was great to get back in the car and put the No 91 SeaRock/JDC machine in the top-five," said Connery. "It was huge for my confidence, and for the team it was a much needed positive boost. Sunday did not go as well as we planned. We tried a few changes that didn't pan out as expected, and I made some driving errors throughout the race which didn't help matters. However, we learned an incredible amount from Sunday, and I realize how difficult this season will be. I am now more prepared for the future weekends, and I have a better understanding of the level of focus and concentration I need to bring to every event. We came out of St. Pete a better team, and that will make the difference going forward."

"My first Pro Mazda race weekend in St. Pete was very good!" stated Johnson. "I improved my speed and confidence every session. I'm really looking forward to Barber in a few weeks."

The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires title fight now takes a break until April 26-27, when the action resumes with a doubleheader at Barber Motorsports Park. JDC MotorSports travels to Alabama fourth in the team title chase, with Booth seventh, Connery eighth, Johnson 12th, and Piria 20th in the driver championship fight. Highlights from the Pro Mazda Championship doubleheader on the streets of St. Petersburg will be air on NBC Sports on May 24th from 1:30 am to 2:30 am ET.

JDC MotorSports races with associate sponsorship from RedLineOil.com and HR-Sportswear.com.

Additional information on JDC MotorSports can be obtained from the team’s website, jdcmotorsport.com. For direct contact, please contact John Church at 952-233-3075.

Learn more about Ryan booth via Twitter @RyanBoothRacing and Facebook at Ryan Booth Racing.

Learn more about Kyle Connery at KyleConnery.com and keep up to date via Twitter @K_Connery91 and Facebook at Kyle Connery.

Learn more about Michael Johnson at MichaelJohnsonRacing.com and keep up to date via Twitter @Racer54isCool and Facebook at Michael Johnson Racing Videos also available on YouTube @ Michael Johnson Racing.

Keep up to date with Vicky Piria via Twitter @VickyPiria and Facebook at Vicky Piria.

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 Phillippi, 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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