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Mar 31, 2014 - 10:06 AM
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M1 Racing Pro Mazda Race Reports
Posted by: newsla on Mar 31, 2014 - 09:58 AM
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M1 Racing Pro Mazda Race Reports


M1 Racing's drivers showed a great deal of heart in Round 1 of the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires Saturday at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

 

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Making his first start ever with the Dallas-based team, Nicolas Costa of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil battled back from the rear of the field after an early incident to finish eighth in the #99, which is sponsored by IMM (Impermeabilizacões), Alufama, Oakley and Inova Marketing Esportivo.

Jay Horak of Mesa, Ariz., earned the Expert class victory with his AutoEnginuity No. 37. He started 18th and finished 13th, holding off Bobby Eberle by 0.2888 of a second for the class victory. He's the defending Expert class champion, a title he won while driving for M1 Racing last year.

Rookie Jason Bedasse of Kingston, Jamaica rebounded from a hard crash in practice Friday to improve two starting positions with his No. 62, finishing 18th. His car is sponsored by Bedasse Racing, Panton Capital Holdings (PCH), Foxcode, Firebird Asset Management, 5i Research, World of Eyes, Zeifmans, TorontoSkins.com and DM4.

Costa qualified ninth but he had to stop on the track in Turn 5 at the start of the race in order to avoid crashing into two drivers who tangled in front of him. Unscathed, he reported to 18th position for the restart and then did everything he could to move back up through the field. He got as far as eighth before the checkered in the event, which was shortened from 45 minutes to 25 minutes and delayed about an hour and a half due to rain.

Costa's performance is even more remarkable considering that only 12 of the 17 laps run in the allotted time were done under green-flag conditions. He was up to 14th on lap four when the second yellow waved for Vicky Piria, who crashed exiting Turn 9, but he got to restart in 12th because Piria had been ahead of him and he had passed Michele Bumgarner right before the full-course yellow came out. He got 11th on the restart on lap eight by passing Julia Ballario. He broke into the top-10 on lap 10 when Michael Johnson spun in front of him.

Dalton Kellett was 0.82 of a second ahead of him in ninth place with only 4:53 remaining in the race, but Costa whittled that down until he was able to make the pass for eighth on the white-flag lap. He set his fastest lap of the race on that lap, and he was 0.74 of a second ahead of Kellett at the checkered flag.

Horak had two goals: stay out of trouble and stay ahead of the driver he battled all last year, Bobby Eberle. The latter came on strong at the end but Horak held him off by just 0.2888 of a second for the class victory.

After destroying the right side of his car working lap 12 in the first practice session on Friday, Bedasse just wanted to finish and get some seat time. He chased Eberle and later Johnson and was running 17th until he spun at the end, but he still finished 18th as the sun was setting on a long, wet day in Florida.

The team will try to build on those results in tomorrow's race, which is scheduled to get the green flag at 10:30 a.m. The weather forecast for Sunday shows sunny skies and zero percent chance of rain. Live timing and scoring can be found under the "Results" tab on promazdaseries.com.

The team's Web site is at M1Racing.co, and it has a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

Costa's Web site is at NicolasCosta.com.br. He has a Facebook page too, and his Twitter handle is @NicolasCosta99.

Bedasse has a Facebook fan page at Bedasse Racing and he can be followed on Twitter @BedasseRacing.

Highlights of the St. Petersburg races are scheduled to air on the NBC Sports Network from 1:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. ET May 24 and on Motors TV in Europe at 6:54 p.m. GMT June 3.


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