2008 Star Mazda Finale: Kent Wins in Series Debut

British pilot Richard Kent was scheduled to run his first Star Mazda race in August at Mosport. Unfortunately,... or fortunately depending on how you look at it,... luck wasn't on his side that weekend as the 19 year old had shift linkage problems in his first session and engine problems in his second on-track session. Due to unforeseen mechanical circumstances, Richard decided against a qualifying effort and returned to his home in Olney, England.

Richard was still intent on making a Star Mazda start in 2008, so he stayed in touch with Anderson Racing. The opportunity arrived and he made his debut last weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. He made the most of his opportunity by setting the quickest time in the first official practice session, shocking those in the paddock. He proceeded to claim the pole position and the Star Mazda track record on Saturday morning with a lap time of 1:19.935. He was the only driver to break into the 1:19's. As if that weren't enough, Kent went on to win the series final race by 2.171 seconds over series' champion, John Edwards. He led every lap of the race in his Star Mazda debut. The paddock is now wondering if we will see Richard Kent back in 2009 for a full campaign.

The championship contenders stayed close in the series' finale, but a few familiar names were missing on the entry list. Both Charles Hall and Tom Gladdis, perennial front-runners, were no where to be seen. According to inside sources, both Charles and Tom had monetary issues restricting them from participating in the final event of 2008. The fact that both drivers spent 2008 under the Anderson Racing tent and both disappeared right before the series finale makes one wonder if there isn't more to the story. Both Tom and Charles have a tremendous amount of talent and it's a shame they weren't able to take part in Saturday's race.

John Edwards did his part and claimed the 2008 title by finishing second to Richard Kent. Edwards was later given the points for a first place finish since Kent wasn't registered in the points battle. Irishman Peter Dempsey claimed the final podium spot after an extremely successful season, which included four victories. However, American Joel Miller stayed close enough to finish fourth which put him into second in the overall title hunt. Star Mazda veteran Alex Ardoin completed the top five. Here are your full results from Laguna Seca.

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