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Abbott Ends EAST Championship Season with 1-2 Punch

Summit Point, WV (September 3, 2003) - Formula Mazda driver Mishael Abbott from Coral Springs, FL completed the 2003 Star Mazda EAST Championship Series season by finishing second in the eighth and final round of the Championship held over the Labor Day weekend at Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia. Varied weather conditions challenged the competitors all weekend with rain threatening and varied temperatures from the low 70's to 90's by race time.

Friday practice was Mishael's first opportunity to drive the two-mile, 10-turn circuit laid out in the West Virginia foothills. With one lengthy rain delay shortening practice to only three sessions, she soon was recording times within a 0.5 of a second of the track record.

Saturday qualifying was intense. Over 40 cars in the combined field competed for the top starting position with difficult traffic conditions and many other Formula Mazda competitors having extensive experience at "The Point". Abbott was relegated to fifth in her Formula Mazda group with a time of 1:15.98 and an average speed of 94.36 MPH. While becoming more familiar with the track, avoiding on-track incidents, and pushing her Velocity Motorsports Mazda each lap, Mishael was able to turn race laps in the low 1:15 range resulting in second place, which was her best season finish, and also earning her a third podium for the season.

The second place finish left Abbott a mere four points out of third place in the EAST Championship final standings and earned her the "Most Improved Driver of the Year" award.

To cap off the three-day holiday weekend, a second race was held on Labor Day. While not counting in the EAST Championship Series, a full field of 38 cars took the green flag late Monday afternoon. Abbott's previous qualifying effort on Saturday resulted in a pole starting position for Formula Mazda's. The 16-lap Monday race was as challenging as the previous day's event with numerous on track incidents including a 100 MPH rear-end bump delivered to Mishael at turn one on the first lap. Despite this incident, she was able to continue unabated and brought home the checkered flag for her first "1st Place" finish of 2003.

"The entire 2003 championship season has been an incredible thrill for me" Abbott quoted. "When we began this year our goal was to perform well and earn the respect of my fellow competitors. To actually finish fourth overall with three podium finishes and so close to a year-end podium, far exceeded my expectations. The consistent support of Velocity Motorsports and my sponsors; CDC Builders of Key Biscayne FL, The Byblos Group and Skyline Management Group of Miami, FL, and the outstanding racing brakes furnished by Cobalt Friction Products all were instrumental in my success this year."

One more professional race "The Star Mazda at the Petit Le Mans" scheduled for October 15-17 at Road Atlanta will close out the 2003 season. Plans for 2004 include returning to the Star Mazda EAST Championship Series, full-time competition in the Star Mazda North American Championship Pro Series and pending sponsorship support, running in the Infiniti Pro Series in support of the Indy Racing League. Other select opportunities my include USAC Midgets and Silver Crown along with IMSA and SCCA sedan racing.

 


Abbott Earns Second Podium

Danville, VA (August 13, 2003) - Virginia International Raceway (VIR), the "Country Club" of racing venues, located in southern Virginia was the site this past weekend of the seventh round of the Star Mazda Series EAST Championship and the Formula SCCA Pro Series event.

     

Weather played a significant role in the racing activities planned for the weekend. Friday practice was interrupted for nearly three hours by severe rain showers and Saturday afternoon qualifying was cancelled due to lightning and thunderstorms.

With the limited qualifying allowed Saturday morning, Coral Springs, Florida driver Mishael Abbott struggled with an ill-handling car and transmission problems to achieve only 12th in the EAST championship qualifying and 14th overall. Due to the cancelled Saturday afternoon session the race promoter provided a brief qualifying session on Sunday morning. With only four laps available Abbott set out to improve her starting position and completed her best lap at 1:59.213, nearly 2 full seconds faster than Saturday. This improved speed placed Mishael 5th in the EAST championship and 8th overall.

The combined Pro series and the EAST championship race was the feature event for the weekend at VIR. By race time late in the afternoon bright sun and high temperatures created an entirely new challenge.

The 27 race starters completed the first three laps of the scheduled 15-lap race without incident, a spinning stalled car on the rollercoaster section of the track resulted in the only full-course caution of the day. With the field slowed and regrouped a confusing restart jumbled the field. Demonstrating her trademark car handling skills Abbott was able to maneuver into 4th place by lap five. Intensive passing and long straightaway drafting created opportunities for passing and for the balance of the race. Abbott ultimately seized third place in the EAST Championship field and fourth overall by lap 12 and held off numerous challenges by fellow Velocity Motorsports teammate, Bryan Watts, to secure her second podium finish of 2003.

"This may have been my most satisfying race, the many obstacles which we over came this weekend with car problems and weather made this third place finish particularly rewarding. The support of Team Velocity, my Goodyear tires and Cobalt Friction brakes all performed flawlessly and certainly paid a significant role in this success."

The final race of the Star Mazda EAST championship will be held over Labor Day weekend at Summit Point WV. During the off weeks Abbott is continuing her efforts towards securing test rides and exploring additional opportunities for 2004.

Contact Mishael at mishael@mishaelabbott.com for sponsorship opportunities. More information is available on her website at www.mishaelabbott.com.

 


Mishael Finishes Fourth at Pocono

Long Pond, PA  (August 4, 2003) - The Pocono Mountains of eastern Pennsylvania are the home of Pocono International Raceway. The raceway is the site of the NASCAR Winston Cup Pennsylvania 500 and the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Pocono Tri-Region National Grand Prix, as well as the Star Mazda EAST Championship Series. The Pocono National Grand Prix and EAST Championship Series utilize two of the banked NASCAR turns and incorporate a complex winding infield section to create a road racing circuit. Close car drafting on the banked portions of the track combined with tight technical approaches to the infield turns result in a diverse and challenging circuit, calling for multiple driver talents. 

Competing in the EAST Championship Series race held August 1 and 2 was Formula Mazda driver, Mishael Abbott of Coral Springs, FL. Inclement weather, low clouds, and fog limited the first day of qualifying to a brief afternoon session. Abbott’s qualifying attempt on a completely green racing surface resulted in a fourth place grid position with the top four Formula Mazda competitors setting new track records with the balance of the strong national field close behind.

The second day of the event called for morning final qualifying and the feature race scheduled for midday. Sunny skies with temperatures in the mid 80’s provided a stark contrast with the previous days of qualifying. Abbott’s effort closed the gap from the third place qualifier to a mere 1/10th of a second but the top four Formula Mazda qualifying positions remained unchanged.

The opening lap of the event found all 30 drivers safely through the 2.5-mile, ten-turn circuit. However, by lap three, degenerating track conditions and tight traffic led Mishael to spin in turn one. Working to return to the track she lost three positions; but the incident further focused Abbott to the task at hand. Utilizing her impressive driving skills running laps equal to and faster than the leaders, Abbott deftly maneuvered through traffic and avoided a spinning car to move back into fourth place by the finish.   

“I felt as though we had the car set up to where I could certainly achieve no less than a third place finish. After the spin in turn one I was able to run faster than most of the field and was making good headway toward the front of the pack. Our results at Wakins Glen just a week ago had me confident of another podium finish. Even so, with my fellow Velocity Motorsports teammate Victor Seaber’s second place finish it was a great weekend for the team.”   

The weekend’s result places Mishael soundly in fourth place in the Star Mazda EAST Championship Series. With two races remaining, Mishael stands an excellent chance of finishing the season in the top three.   

The balance of August includes races at Virginia International Raceway, August 8-10, in which Mishael will compete in a Star Mazda EAST Championship Race as well as a Formula SCCA Pro event doubling the potential purse. The season final EAST Championship Race will be held over Labor Day weekend at Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia.  

Sponsorship support from Cobalt Friction Technologies, CDC Builders, The Byblos Group and Skyline Management group allow Mishael the ability to compete on a weekly basis leading toward her aspiration of racing in the Indy Racing League Infiniti Pro Series and ultimately racing the Indianapolis 500.

 


Abbott Earns Podium Finish at Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen, NY (July 17, 2003) - The weekend of July 12-13, 2003 found Coral Springs, Florida driver Mishael Abbott competing in Round Five of the Star Mazda EAST Championship Series at world famous Watkins Glen, NY. "The Glen" is a challenging 3.4-mile circuit located in the rolling hills of western New York the site of the United States Grand Prix and NASCAR Winston Cup races for many years.

This year the Star Mazda EAST Series race was combined with SCCA's "National at the Glen". Bringing top-level competitors from around the nation to this circuit.

Abbott's first exposure to the track was on Thursday with a promoters practice day allowing for a full day of driver familiarization and car set-up. By the second practice session she was circumnavigating the undulating banked turns within two seconds of the official track record. The dawning of qualifying brought an unusually cool summer morning. The threat of rain hung in the air making the first of two qualifying attempts especially critical as an afternoon rain would certainly effect lap times. Abbott attacked the racing surface early in the session with a sizzling quick lap of 1:58.51 at an average speed of 103.61 miles per hour, a mere 0.6 of a second off the track record placing her 5th in the EAST Series field.

Rain did not fall as predicted for the afternoon qualifying session. A miss calculation in fuel during the final session negated Abbott of what could have been a higher starting position.

Sunday, race day, was clear and warm with 46 cars taking the green in the combined field of Formula Mazda, Formula Atlantic, and SCCA Sports Racing classes. A first lap accident involving two fellow Formula Mazda competitors created a full-course yellow, which lasted for three laps. Once the field regrouped and received the green flag again on lap four, Mishael attacked the field third position in class. Another full-course caution on lap eight again bunched all remaining cars together creating a 100 MPH traffic jam. On lap ten, Mishael turned her quickest race circuit at 1:58.45, surpassing her qualifying time. Her careful yet quick driving style enabled her to avoid very difficult and congested track conditions, holding off all but two East Championship competitors realizing her first podium finish for the 2003 season.

"Learning this prestigious and challenging circuit was my initial goal for the weekend; to leave here with a third-place trophy and prize money far exceeded my expectations. Only with the help of Velocity Motorsports and driver coach/fellow competitor, Victor Seaber, was I able to reach this achievement."

Next on the schedule is the challenging month of August with events at Pocono Raceway, Virginia International Raceway, and the season finale at Summit Point in West Virginia. The success at Watkins Glen may result in an invitation to the SCCA National Championship held at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in September.


Mishael Returns to Road Atlanta for Star Mazda Series Pro Race

Braselton, GA (June 28, 2003) - Mishael Abbott returned to the Road Atlanta Motorsports Center the weekend of June 26-28, 2003 for the fourth round of the Star Mazda Series North American Championship. The weekend marked Mishael's first race of the season with Star Mazda's top ranked Pro Series.

Thursday and Friday brought practice sessions and allowed Mishael to re-familiarize herself with the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road track. With thirty-eight cars taking to the track for practice sessions, Abbott posted consistent lap times putting her in the middle of group for each session.

The Saturday morning qualifying session brought plenty of rain and a wet track that is turning out to be an advantage for Mishael. Using her characteristic smooth driving style on the wet and perilous track, Abbott improved dramatically on her practice positions and qualified thirteenth out of thirty-eight Star Mazda Pro Series drivers.

Dry track conditions on Saturday afternoon required her Velocity Motorsports team to institute a revised car set-up for the 24-lap race. Happy with her starting position and car set-up, Mishael was looking forward to the start of her first Pro race of the year. When the green flag fell Mishael lined up nose to tail heading into Corner 10 but unfortunately was hit from behind. Damage to her car was not significant but she was not able to resume the race, bringing an early end to her day.  

“It was great to be back competing again in the Star Mazda Pro Series this weekend at Road Atlanta,” Abbott stated. “My Velocity Motorsports crew gave me a great car that put me in the top third on the grid. If it wasn’t for that first lap incident, I’m sure I could have posted a top ten finish.”

The balance of 2003 will include Star Mazda EAST Championship Series events at world famous venues; Watkins Glen, NY, Pocono Speedway, PA, Summit Point, WV, and Virginia International Raceway, VA. Abbott will return to Road Atlanta and the Star Mazda Pro Series events at Road Atlanta Motor Sports Center in October. The highlight of the season will be the second test session with Sam Schmidt Racing in the Indy Racing League / Infiniti Pro Series (IRL/IPS) car later in the year, ultimately leading to her participation in the 2004 IRL/IPS series.


Mishael Abbott Finishes Fifth in Star Mazda EAST Championship Race

at Mid-Ohio

Lexington, OH (June 5, 2003) - The weekend of May 29, 30, and June 1, 2003 found Mishael Abbott of Coral Springs, FL competing in Round 4 of the Star Mazda EAST Championship Series held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. The Star Mazda EAST Championship series runs in conjunction with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Championship series throughout the 2003 racing season.

Unseasonably severe weather hampered this weekend at Mid-Ohio with torrential rains and 50 MPH winds plaguing Saturday's practice and qualifying. Twenty-four Formula Mazda competitors attempted qualifying runs on Saturday in wet-racing tune, as dictated by race officials. Calling on her characteristic smooth driving style, Abbott qualified 8th overall in the extremely strong national field.

The dawning of race day on Sunday brought clear skies but strong winds remained with temperatures only approaching 60 degrees. Track conditions and car set-up for Sunday's 20-lap event were difficult to predict with the cold and windy conditions making for a very perilous start. Fifty-six race cars took the green flag as officials elected to combine three other classes with the Formula Mazda race. Numerous on track incidents brought out a full-course caution on the opening lap, which continued until lap 5. Abbott successfully passed three competitors on the green lap but was forced to return to her original starting position due to the yellow flags. Once the green flew again on lap 5, Abbott progressed forward and improved her position lap after lap, winding through slower cars to ultimately finish 5th in the EAST Championship series. The 5th place finish improves Abbott's standing in the Championship to 5th overall and greatly enhances her main goal of winning the "Rookie of the Year" award for 2003.

"With the help of my Velocity Motorsports crew and fellow teammates I was able to overcome the unusual weather situations and tame this challenging race circuit which is one of the most physically demanding we compete on during the race season," Abbott stated.

The balance of 2003 will include Star Mazda EAST Championship Series events at world famous venues; Watkins Glen, NY, Pocono Speedway, PA, Summit Point, WV, and Virginia International Raceway, VA. Abbott will also compete in two Star Mazda Pro Series events at Road Atlanta Motor Sports Center in June and October. The highlight of the season will be the second test session with Sam Schmidt Motorsports in the Indy Racing League / Infiniti Pro Series (IRL/IPS) car later in the year, ultimately leading to her participation in the 2004 IRL/IPS series.

While not on the track, Abbott is actively seeking sponsorship support for the 2004 series, ultimately leading to her career optimum of competing in and winning the IRL Indianapolis 500.


Mishael Qualifies 6th in First Visit to Virginia International Raceway

Alton, VA (May 10, 2003) – Mishael Abbott spent Thursday practicing at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) for the third round of the Star Mazda EAST Championship Series.  This was Mishael’s first visit to VIR’s 3.26 mile, 17-turn road course.

Friday brought qualifying for Mishael and her Velocity Motorsports team for Saturday’s EAST Championship race.  The track was wet after early morning thunderstorms but Mishael qualified sixth for the Star Mazda EAST Championship event.  Mishael was in a race group consisting of eight car classes and was eleventh on the grid of thirty-five total race cars.

While not on the track, Abbott is actively seeking sponsorship support for the 2004 series, ultimately leading to her career optimum of competing in and winning the IRL Indianapolis 500.


Mishael Abbott to Race at VIR in Star Mazda EAST Championship Race this Weekend

Coral Springs, FL (May 5, 2003) – Mishael Abbott will race at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) May 8-11, for the third round of the Star Mazda EAST Championship Series event held in conjunction with a Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Double Regional race weekend.  This will be Mishael’s first time at VIR’s 3.26 mile, 17-turn road course, but she will be backed by the experience of her Velocity Motorsports team.  Open practice is scheduled for Thursday, May 8.  The EAST Championship race is scheduled for Saturday, May 10 with an SCCA Regional race on Sunday, May 11.

 Mishael Abbott is shooting for the Rookie of the Year and EAST Championship titles in the Star Mazda EAST Championship Series this season.  You can follow Mishael’s progress and receive race updates and other information by visiting her web site, www.mishaelabbott.com.

 Mishael is working to obtain sponsorship to help her compete in selected Star Mazda Pro Series races this year and to compete in the Infiniti Pro Series (the newly formed feeder series for the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series) in 2004.  Please contact Mishael at mishael@mishaelabbott.com for information on partnership opportunities and to arrange media interviews.


Mishael Abbott Finishes Fourth in Star Mazda EAST Championship Race at Road Atlanta

Braselton, GA (April 3, 2003) – Mishael Abbott came to Road Atlanta, March 28-30, for the second round of the Star Mazda EAST Championship Series event held in conjunction with a Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National race weekend.  After missing round one of the EAST Championship season, Abbott joined with Velocity Motorsports and began her assault on the Rookie of the Year and EAST Championship titles. 

Back at Road Atlanta’s 12-turn circuit for the first time since last October, Abbott spent Friday practicing and setting up her Formula Mazda for Saturday’s qualifying sessions. Under sunny skies Abbott negotiated the 2.54-mile road track with her normal smoothness to qualify sixth among Star Mazda EAST Championship contenders and eleventh out of twenty-one Formula Mazdas.  

Sunday morning brought a deluge of rain over northern Georgia.  Being in the second race group of the day, quick decisions regarding car setup and tire choice were necessary.  With the rain stopping about the time the first race group hit the track, Mishael Abbott saw the potential for a drying race line and Velocity Motorsports prepared her car for semi-wet conditions and put on slick race tires.  By her race time there was a predominantly dry line and a few wet patches.  Taking advantage of her slick tires, Abbott quickly jumped up to eighth place. 

Avoiding a number of incidents and off-track excursions by other competitors, including an extended yellow flag period, Abbott finished a strong fourth in the Star Mazda EAST Championship race and sixth among all Formula Mazdas. 

Abbott was very pleased with her inaugural Star Mazda EAST Championship race with Velocity Motorsports.  “My goal was to run strong this weekend and position myself to compete for the Rookie of the Year and EAST Championship titles,” Mishael stated after the race.  “Missing the opening round race has put me a little behind but with this fourth place finish I’m right in the hunt.” 

Mishael Abbott’s next race will be the Star Mazda EAST Championship Series race at Virginia International Raceway (VIR), in Alton, VI on May 9-11, 2003.  Having not been to the Virginia International Raceway, Abbott hopes to work in a practice session at VIR sometime before the race weekend.  

During the next month Abbott will be working to obtain sponsorship to help her compete in selected Star Mazda Pro Series races this year and to compete in the Infiniti Pro Series (the newly formed feeder series for the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series) in 2004. 

Her sponsors include The Byblos Group, CDC Builders and Skyline Management Group.  Race updates and other information about Mishael can be found by visiting her web site, www.mishaelabbott.com. 

 


Mishael to race Star Mazda EAST Championship with Velocity Motorsports

Mishael has signed with Velocity Motorsports and will compete for the Star Mazda EAST Championship.  Eleven drivers have entered the East Championship Series through March 12.  Check out the Star Mazda EAST Championship website at http://www.starmazdaseries.com for drivers list, standings, prizes, and other information.  The official Star Mazda EAST Championship news release can be viewed at http://www.starmazdaseries.com/news/03-12-2003.htm.  Click “Schedules” on Mishael’s website to view the EAST Championship schedule and to check Mishael’s results as the season progresses.

 


Mishael Abbott Races at Sebring in Preparation for

2003 Star Mazda Season

As she continues to get ready for the upcoming racing season, 22-year old Mishael Abbott took the opportunity to practice at the SCCA National Race at Sebring, January 3-5, 2003.  The 12-hour, 3.7-mile course provided a wonderful gauge for Mishael to test out the track that will kick off the Star Mazda Series in March.

Under beautiful conditions in Central Florida the entire weekend, Mishael began her 2003 race season with a successful practice session on Friday.  At the first qualifying session on Saturday, she proceeded to qualify 11th with a time of 2:18.4 (96.257 mph) in a race group that featured a total of 55 drivers.  When the 13-lap race got under way on Sunday, Mishael came speeding out of the box.  As she jockied for position at the front, one of the leaders spun out in front of her, causing her to fall back a few spots.  Mishael contended with gear problems throughout the rest of the race and finished in 9th place. 

“I am pleased with my results as I was really using this opportunity simply as a test,” noted Mishael.  “I want to be comfortable on this track when the Star Mazda Series season begins here in March and this race provided me with the chance to re-familiarize myself with it.  I tested out some new techniques and learned what improvements I need to make for a successful race in March.”

Mishael plans to get back in the driver’s seat on February 17th for an Infiniti Pro Series test session at Homestead-Miami Speedway with Sam Schmidt Motorsports, an Indy Racing League IndyCar Series team owner.  While Mishael will be concentrating on the 2003 racing season, she will also be hard at work on her college studies.  She is currently enrolled at Broward Community College, studying marketing and education. 

Last year was Mishael’s first as a professional driver.  She racked up three Formula Mazda wins and qualified for South Atlantic Road Racing Championship (SARRC) runoff held at Road Atlanta in September.  She also qualified in the top 10 in two of three Star Mazda events in which she participated.


Mishael Abbott Tests Infiniti Pro Series

 

Las Vegas, NV (November 13, 2002) - Star Mazda Series professional auto racer Mishael Abbott accomplished a major goal this week when she tested with Schmidt and Parsons Motorsports for a spot in the 2003 Infiniti Pro Series which races in conjunction with the Indy Racing League at events in Indianapolis and other major tracks across North America. Running in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Mishael, a resident of Coral Springs, FL, posted the second fastest lap time of the day, 31.41 seconds at a speed of 172.078 MPH, on Wednesday November 13, 2002. 
 

Mishael, ready to test with Schmidt and Parsons Motorsports for a spot in the 2003 Infiniti Pro Series.

 

Getting ready.

On the track.

 
Sam Schmidt, an Indy Racing League team owner, was enthusiastic about the results of Mishael’s test.  Schmidt, a former IRL winner, manages the team with Ray Parsons handling the Infiniti Pro Series marketing effort.

 

“I was very impressed with her maturity level.  She was conservative and disciplined in her approach to getting up to speed and learning the gear box.  What made her performance even more impressive was that she had never raced in an Infiniti Pro car before, she had no experience with this type of gearbox, and yet her racing times were as good as, if not better than the other drivers who have been racing this type of car for quite some time,” said Schmidt.  “I was really pleased with the way the test went, and I’m excited about working on her marketing efforts with her over the next few months.  She listened extremely well and did exactly what she was told, which made it easier for her, and for me, as I enjoy working with people who listen.”

Abbott, a 21-year old college student, has been racing since the age of fourteen.  This year, her first as a professional driver, has been a rewarding one for Mishael.  She racked up three Formula Mazda wins and qualified for the South Atlantic Road Racing Championship (SARRC) runoff held at Road Atlanta in September. She also qualified in the top 10 in two of the three Star Mazda events in which she participated in this season. Testing with Schmidt’s team in the Infiniti Pro has served to cap off a successful 2002 racing season.

 

Mishael was excited about the experience with Schmidt and is looking forward to participating in the first full season of the Infiniti Pro Series in 2003.

 

“I was thrilled to have the opportunity to test for the Infiniti Pro Series with Sam Schmidt Motorsports,” Mishael stated.  “Sam is one of the premier names in the Indy Racing League, and it has always been my dream to compete at this level along side someone of his caliber.  The test went extremely well, and I was able to adjust quickly to driving the Infiniti car and achieve speeds comparable with more experienced oval competitors. The dream of competing in and winning the Indianapolis 500 is one giant step closer.”


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