Star Mazda - Honda Indy Toronto Is Character Builder For Tveter


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TORONTO, Jul. 9, 2012: Both of the primary reasons that race car drivers don’t finish races — mechanical difficulties and accidents — struck Ryan Tveter in the Star Mazda doubleheader at Honda Indy Toronto Saturday and Sunday at Toronto’s Exhibition Place.

Two other things that can ruin a driver’s day — blocking and rain — spoiled his qualifying session on Saturday.

The whole weekend was a learning experience and a character builder for Team GDT’s rising star from Oyster Bay, N.Y.

Despite the race results Tveter still provided great exposure for his sponsors, Rogers TV and Motorola Mobility Canada, and great drama for the documentary that Rogers TV will air later this year. It’s part of Rogers TV’s unique, behind-the-scenes look at the event and the struggles of young formula car drivers paying their dues as they try to claw their way up the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system and into the major leagues of open-wheel racing.

The drivers of the series, which is presented by Goodyear, only got eight laps completed during Saturday’s qualifying session when a quick rainstorm stopped all the action. Tveter never got a clear lap during that limited time span because another driver blocked him repeatedly.

That put him near the back of the field for the standing start of Saturday’s 30-minute race. Unfortunately that’s when the mechanical gremlins struck, as the differential broke on the standing start. The Team GDT pit crew somehow got the car started and Tveter rejoined the field, but it didn’t last long.

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“The differential broke on the standing start,” he explained after Saturday’s race. “The Team GDT crew pushed me back to pit lane and somehow they got it back going. I got to Turn 3, downshifted to first, and the same thing happened again. I pulled off on the entry to Turn 5 and the Holmatro safety team pushed me off the track to an escape road. We have a new differential to put in, so we’ll try again tomorrow. Everything seemed fine on the warm-up lap; it’s just one of those things.”

At that point some of the people who make auto racing a team sport took over, as Team GDT’s mechanics worked long hours Saturday night to replace the differential so Tveter could compete in Sunday morning’s race.

He had a great standing start on Sunday and improved his 20th starting spot by five positions — a quarter of the field — on the very first lap. The impressive charge came to an early end, however, when he crashed in Turn 11 with two laps down.

As the Jumbotrons around the circuit and the TV cameras filming the action for later worldwide network broadcasts recorded, Tveter emerged unhurt. His white and red No. 33 was done for the day, however, due to the damage to its front wing, nose and front suspension pieces.

Afterwards Tveter said he wasn’t exactly sure how things unfolded to cause the accident, and he was looking forward to seeing the on-board video of the crash.

“My plan was to follow Sage [Karam, the winner of the last event and another driver who lost a differential in his car on Saturday],” he said.

“It worked for awhile. I had a good standing start, and then Sage cleared the way. I had some contact on the first lap when I was passing cars, and then my accident happened in the last turn — Turn 11. I hit the wall, but the car isn’t too bad. I lost the front end and a few suspension pieces.

“It just wasn’t our weekend,” Tveter said philosophically. He also noted that he learned a lot on his first visit to the demanding, 2.84-kilometer/1.755-mile, 11-turn temporary street course that challenges cars’ grip levels with its surface changes from concrete to asphalt.

“I want to thank Team GDT for all their hard work,” he emphasized. “I also really want to thank my sponsors: Rogers TV and Motorola Mobility Canada. I want to thank the Rogers TV crew that is doing a documentary on us here. They were great. I didn’t feel any pressure at all.

“We’ll go on from here and hope for better luck at Edmonton.”

Tveter’s next race is another doubleheader at Edmonton, Alberta on July 21-22.

Fans can follow Tveter through his Facebook page or on Twitter @RyanTveter.

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