Joel Miller of Hesperia finished third in round five of the Star Mazda Championship at Portland International Raceway Sunday to regain the championship points lead by five points. The MAZDASPEED young development driver got to a rough start in Saturday's race as he was crashed into at the start. The JDC Motorsports team was able to repair the car's front corner which allowed Miller to finish. With this effort, he was able to salvage valuable points in the championship.
Miller qualified sixth for the second race of the double header weekend and fell in line at the start. However, another incident happened in front of his #20 MAZDASPEED/K&N Filters/Mockett/JDC Motorsports car which made him take to the dirt to avoid contact. He came out in fourth but over 10 seconds down from third place. Miller ran consistent laps the whole race to close the gap, along with some help from lap traffic. With six laps to go Joel passed Charles Hall for third spot and held that position until the checkered. With the remarkable pit effort from the JDC crew on Saturday, and Miller's third place finish Sunday, he comes away from the weekend leading the championship by five points.
"I wanted to reward my crew by getting on the podium," Miller said. "Rick Cameron, my engineer, was coaching me the whole race telling me I was catching third so I kept putting together consistent laps."
In the first five races of the season Miller has been able to finish on the podium four out of five times. "Consistency will win the championship, and with this third place finish today it gives my team great momentum for the month of August to continue with our consistancy" he said.
Miller also thanked Larry Rochelle from Classic Stone for attending this weekends activities. Also, he would like to thank MAZDA, K&N Air Filters, MOCKETT, Classic Stone, DreamCars Automotive, as well as John, Scott Church and Rick Cameron from JDC Motorsports. The next round of the Star Mazda Championship will be in two weeks at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI.