JDC MotorSports Duo Battles Through Road to Indy Events
 June 19, 2015| 
  • Team News

Connery avoids Pro Mazda main event chaos to score pair of top-10 finishes

TORONTO, ONTARIO – Driver development is a primary focus of the Mazda Road to Indy, and the ladder series’ competitors were provided with ample opportunity to learn during this past weekend’s trip north to the Honda Indy Toronto.  An extremely challenging track was made even more difficult with changing weather conditions, pushing JDC MotorSports drivers Kyle Connery and Parker Thompson to expand their skill set and base of experience. Each pilot showed the speed and the racecraft necessary to challenge for quality finishes, but the extreme nature of the conditions made this difficult to accomplish.

Florida’s Kyle Connery avoided a wild opening lap accident to take sixth in the first Pro Mazda Championship race of the weekend, and he backed this up with a solid tenth in Race 2 to record a pair of top-10s. Fellow JDC MotorSports pilot Parker Thompson was quick in his USF2000 Championship entry, but he got caught up in the mid-pack chaos in both races after a minor qualifying miscue mired him deep in the field.

“Toronto is a very popular event on the circuit, and it’s not surprising, considering the nature of the circuit and the hospitality shown by the city,” offered John Church, JDC MotorSports Team Principal. “But the weather was on and off all weekend again this year, so the track was very challenging and it presented our drivers with the opportunity to grow their racing abilities. It was a character-building weekend for both Kyle and Parker for sure, and I know that they will be even more determined for success when we get to Mid-Ohio in August. It was great to see Kyle escape the bad luck that has chased him all year, and he rose up again in Race 1 to show us what he can do!”

Connery again showed his speed on these tough temporary street circuits, but the wet conditions of Friday morning’s shortened practice hindered his chance to get quickly up to speed in his first trip to the Toronto street course.  With only three on-track sessions preceding Saturday afternoon’s Race 1, Kyle improved his pace as he closed the gap on the times of those in the top-five.  Connery qualified 15th for the Race 1 and expertly avoided a huge opening lap wreck to emerge from the carnage unscathed.  When the mess was finally cleaned up and the race sent back to green flag action, Connery attacked aggressively and advanced to sixth.  The Florida pilot continued to push his #91 Hi-Tide Boat Lifts / SeaRock Pro Mazda to its limits, applying significant pressure on eventual Sunday winner Garett Grist, who was running fifth. Kyle eventually crossed the line in sixth position, recording a very impressive top-10 result.

In Sunday’s Race 2, Connery and the rest of the Pro Mazda field were presented with a wet track to start, and then drying conditions that made things challenging. Kyle started 15th based on using his second fastest lap in qualifying, and this put him in a precarious position at the green flag with zero visibility caused by the rooster tails of water coming from the cars ahead of him.  Despite not being able to see the road ahead, Connery pushed hard over the opening laps of the race and advanced numerous positions, eventually working into tenth spot during the late-going as the track began to dry.  The final result on Sunday was tenth, providing Kyle with a pair of top-10 finishes from a weekend that was challenging to say the least.

Like Connery, JDC MotorSports’ USF2000 driver Parker Thompson was in for a long weekend dealing with the ever-changing conditions.  The 17-year-old Canadian rookie showed good pace from the opening sessions, finishing within the top-six during both practice runs on Friday. Despite showing well in practice, Thompson was not able to improve his pace in qualifying, which left him in tenth for the start of the first race.  The opening lap of the weekend’s first race set the overall tone, as he was hit by another driver, bending the suspension on his #80 machine, sending him to pit lane so that the crew could do what they could to bend his suspension back into working order.  Parker soldiered on to finish 11th, but he could not improve on his qualifying time and started deep in the field for Race 2 as well.  The second event was run in heavy rain, and the visibility was minimal.  After an incredible start launched him from 11th to fifth in the opening laps, Thompson was pushing hard when he lost all visibility and missed a corner apex, dropping him down the order, and then he tapped the wall and damaged his car, ending his day early.

Looking at positives, Parker gained valuable experience in the difficult wet weather conditions, and especially in regards to managing an event with very limited visibility.  His desire for success and personal improvement remains strong and he is already looking forward to the next event on the schedule.

The team will now focus on preparing the JDC race cars for the next event on their schedule, which will take them to the famed Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 1-3.  JDC MotorSports races with associate sponsorship from RedLineOil.com, HR Sportswear and Showdown Displays.

JDC MOTORSPORTS – DRIVER INFORMATION:

Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires
Kyle Connery - #91

Qualified: 15th – 1:10.819 (+1.097 secs)
Race #1: 6th
Race #2: 10th

2015 Record:
Point Standings: 14th – 97 points
Best Finish: 5th – St. Petersburg (Race 2)

Driver Quote: “A lot of positives came from Toronto. We have finally solved our shifting issues, which was relieving. We were a little on the conservative side to start the weekend, but when the green flag dropped for Race 1, we charged forward. Thankfully, I was able to avoid making contact with anyone on the opening lap. Once the race resumed, we started picking off cars one by one. I'll say this, it was great to fight like that again. My outside move on my old teammate Raoul was part of a great battle. We raced each other incredibly hard but fair and that's what the fans came to see. Sunday’s race was an interesting story in itself. I couldn't see anything on the approach to Turn 3. Absolutely nothing. From there, we gained a few spots and brought the car home in one piece.”

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda
Parker Thompson - #80

Qualified: 10th – 1:12.7305 (+1.951 secs)
Race #1: 11th
Race #2: 12th

2015 Record:

Point Standings: 5th – 144 points
Best Finish: 4th – NOLA (Race 2)

Driver Quote: “It's fair to say that I am disappointed with my weekend in Toronto. We had the pace on both race days, but failed to capitalize due to incidents on-track. Saturday was a tough day for the #80 JDC Motorsports crew and myself. Qualifying didn't go as well as expected, but we knew we had it for the race. In Race 1, I got involved in a first lap incident where another driver made contact with the right front of my car. I had to bring it into the pit box and bend the suspension to get it as straight as possible. I got back out to finish 11th, but unfortunately, Race 1’s times were used for qualifying for Race 2. With the bent suspension, there wasn't much I could do. Sunday's race was a wet one. In the first two laps I moved from 11th to fifth. Unfortunately, I made a mistake on the restart under braking. I could not see the corner in front of me with the spray, and out-braked myself. This put me down the order, and with even worse visibility, I made contact with the wall a couple laps later, ending my race. I’m really devastated for JDC Motorsports and all my partners and supporters. So now it's back to the gym and focusing forward on how I can make myself better in the cockpit. We will be back stronger than ever in Ohio for the next round.”

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