Lichfield racing driver Adam Christodoulou has found himself in the thick of the American Star Mazda Championship after recording two second placed finishes.
The JDC Motorsports driver, who has already recorded victories at Sebring and Miller Motorsports Park, entered the weekend at Joliet, Illinois, seeking to recapture his championship points lead after falling from the top spot in Iowa.
But the Lichfield racer had an extra reason to perform – it was the first opportunity to race in front of his family this season.
“The weekend here was one to remember as the facilities were excellent, there were thousands of spectators, plenty of autograph signings, TV interviews and best thing of all was my biggest fans arrived to America for the first time, my Mom and Dad.
“We had a bit of a slow start unfortunately when my car suffered with a minor electronic problem in the opening practice, but my mechanic Dave and the rest of JDC work hard on the job and by the important part of the weekend started, everything was sorted, and the car ran faultlessly.”
Battling a damp track and stiff competition in Saturday’s early qualifying session Christodoulou scrapped his way to the second spot on the grid alongside points leader Peter Dempsey.
“Everyone was pushing their cars throughout the qualifying session, and the water on the track made it even trickier than normal, and I was pleased to come away with a strong second place spot on the grid.”
He got a blistering run on the standing start, jumping ahead of Dempsey as they raced down to the first turn but the dirtier outside line on the corner opened the door for Dempsey to slip past on the inside.
The Lichfield driver continued:
“I got an amazing start but wasn’t able to clear Peter completely and take the cleaner inside line on that opening lap. The rest of the race I was just pushing trying to close the gap on him, there was a brief safety car period which was my chance to get by Peter, but unfortunately he played the restart as I would expect any other driver to and got the gap on the restart. I was hoping to stay with Peter for the remainder of the race but I didn’t quite keep my tires up to temperature during the Safety car period and I found myself having to hold my ground for 2nd, where I finished the race.”
Qualifying for Sunday’s finale brought a close to a busy Saturday and once again Christodoulou was challenging for pole position after making several adjustments to the car.
Sunday’s race saw him in the same position as Saturday as he fought to chase down Dempsey, setting fast lap for both races in the process, before climbing the second spot on the podium.
“Sunday wasn’t quite as exciting as it was green from start to finish with no safety cars. Peter managed to improve on his start and I was just chasing him down for the whole race. There was a period during the race where I was improving on his times catching him and setting the fastest lap but unfortunately no points being handed out for this achievement.”
With four races left in the championship Christodoulou sits nineteen points behind Dempsey with 323 points overall to Dempsey’s 342 points. The series now heads into Canada for a two race swing starting with the Grand Prix du Trois-Rivieres on August 14-16.
Christodoulou is expecting a tough test at Trois-Rivieres but believes he can defy the odds. He said:
“I know it’s going to be extremely close battle until the end of the championship with only four races left and Trois-Rivieres will be my first street circuit, so there is going to be a steep learning curve, but I would like to think I can pick up this track fast like I have with all my others.”