JDC MotorSports Brings Strong Quartet to St. Pete
 March 27, 2015| 
  • Team News

Sophomores and rookies fill tent for Mazda Road to Indy season opener in Florida

St. Petersburg, Fla. – There is a great deal of enthusiasm and optimism in the JDC MotorSports paddock this year, with four talented young drivers all primed to commence the 2015 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires at this year’s Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.  Series sophomores Michael Johnson and Kyle Connery will lead the squad, while rookies Raoul Owens and Parker Nicklin are highly-motivated to contend from the very first green flag of the year.  JDC MotorSports is a multi-time Pro Mazda driver and team champion, and the entire staff is focused on getting out of the gate strongly following an extremely productive Cooper Tires Winterfest spring training effort in February.

“We’re thrilled to have Michael and Kyle back with JDC for 2015, as this provides us with the opportunity to springboard off all the work that we put in together last year,” offered Team Co-Owner John Church. “They will be aiming to pick up where they left off and push for ever better finishes.  Our rookies Raoul and Parker will arrive in St. Petersburg with a full head of steam.  Raoul improved throughout Winterfest and finished the series the an amazing fourth place run, while Parker is coming off a strong season on the West Coast in the Formula Car Challenge Pro Mazda category. Having all the data from these four drivers will give us important information to work with this season.”

Vero Beach, Florida’s Kyle Connery had a solid season during a limited schedule in 2014, finishing with a best result of fifth in St. Petersburg, among four top-10s. Connery, 23, also claimed four Quarter Master Hard Charger awards for gaining the most positions in a race.  Heading into the new year, Kyle elected to focus on testing and skipped Winterfest, so he is primed and ready to jump back into wheel-to-wheel racing.

Michael Johnson, of Flint, MI, is an incredibly inspiring story in the Mazda Road to Indy. Paralyzed from the chest down following a motocross accident in 2005 at the age of 16, Michael is totally committed to his racing career and he has worked his way up the ladder into the Pro Mazda category, where he continues to develop his skills in parallel to the continued development of his hand-control technology.  Last year, Johnson, 23, posted a top-10 finish in St. Petersburg.

Owens’ career path has brought him to the JDC MotorSports camp from the Formula Renault Northern European Cup, where he developed his racecraft over the past two years. Owens’ improved greatly through the Cooper Tire Winterfest as he gelled with the JDC engineering squad, finishing with a best result of fourth in the first race at Barber Motorsports Park.  Raoul, 20, will focus on continuing his progression as he becomes more and more comfortable with the Pro Mazda car.

Parker Nicklin’s signing with JDC MotorSports was announced just two weeks ago. Nicklin, 18, was the series runner-up in the West Coast Pro Mazda Formula Car Challenge series in 2014, winning two races and posting eight podium finishes.  He also made his Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires debut at Sonoma Raceway in August, finishing 10th and 11th in his two outings with M1 Racing.

The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires drivers will receive two practice sessions on Friday, the opening day of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (8:45 am and 2:45 pm).  Qualifying is scheduled for 8:45 am on Saturday morning, ahead of Race #1 at1:30 pm.  The second race of the doubleheader is set for 9:50 am on Sunday, March 29.

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