Daly wins at Laguna Seca
Indianapolis native Conor Daly converted his pole position start to a victory in today's Round 3 of the 2010 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This is Daly's second win in a row from the pole this season driving the #22 Juncos Racing / INDECK / The College Network / Merchant Services Ltd. / Tom Lange Co. Mazda; he dominated Round 2 at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and heads into Round 4 next weekend at O'Reilly Raceway Park and the 125-lap 'Night Before the 500' with both team momentum and a solid lead in the championship points battle.
Scandinavian racer Anders 'The Viking' Krohn drove a strong race to his first podium of the season with a second-place finish in the #47 Andersen Racing / Norse Cutting & Abandonment / Trallfa / Colosseum Mazda. Rounding out the top-3 was young Quebec racer Mikael Grenier, also with his first podium of the season in the #17 Andersen Racing / Slow Cow / April Super Flow / NAPA Auto Parts / HS Telecom / Desharnais Mazda. The top-finishing Master Series (drivers 45 and older) was Gerry Kraut, of North Oaks, Minnesota, who drove his #55 JDC Motorsports / Dougherty & Co. / Dougherty Funding LLC Mazda to a strong finish in 10th overall. The top-finishing Expert Series (drivers aged 30-44) was Texan J.W. Roberts in the #65 Team GDT / General Data Tech Mazda who finished 13th overall in the 18-car field.
"There was a bit of drama at the start when a couple of cars had contact in Turn 2 and Tristan Vautier in the #38 got by me and led the first half of the race," observed Daly, who graduated from his Indianapolis high school on May 14. "I was saving my car a bit and trying to make sure I had something for him at the end of the race, but fortunately I didn't have to wait that long. He dropped a wheel off at the top of the Corkscrew and it bent his right rear suspension so he had to pit for repairs. That spared me having to make a banzai move in the closing laps and I'm happy with how the race worked out for us. We were the quickest in testing, on the pole and won the race; that's a pretty good weekend at the track. And I'm excited about my first race in front of a home-town crowd of friends, fans and sponsors next weekend at O'Reilly Raceway Park."
Frenchman Vautier, who led half the race is his #38 Andersen Racing / Moulin TP / Cecibon / Circuit du Laquais Mazda, was able to return to the race after making repairs and finished 15th, three laps down. Rounding out the top-5 with outstanding drives were Californian Connor De Phillippi who finished 4th in his #11 JDC Motorsports / MAZDASPEED Motorsports / Skip Barber Mazda. De Phillippi is the 2009 Skip Barber Pro Series champion and won his drive in the 2010 Star Mazda Championship courtesy of the prestigious MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder program. This is his best result of the season so far, having finished 7th in the season-opener at Sebring and 5th at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Making his first appearance in the top-5 was Mexico City racer Juan Piedrahita #28 Team Apex / Petrosur / GFK Motors; a big jump up the chart from the 19th and 11th we've seen from him in Rounds 1 and 2. Another driver starting to fulfill his pre-season promise is Chris Miller, the 2009 F2000 champion who races the #85 JDC Motorsports / Miller Milling / Red Line Oil. After finishing 9th and 15th at Sebring and St. Petersburg, he qualified 12 for today's race and raced his way up to 7th. Going the other direction were Canadian David Ostella who qualified 6th in #16 AIM Autosport / GP Global Precast Mazda, and Brazilian Joao Victor Horto who was 7th on the grid in his #18 Team Apex / Wabash Capital Investments Mazda. Both wound up involved in the first-lap, Turn 2 melee and ended their races without ever completing a lap.
Daly leads with 127 points, followed by Krohn with 107, Grenier with 101 and De Phillippi with 95. The Star Mazda Championship awards 44 points for a win and awards points down to 15th place. This was Round 3 of a 13-race season.
||INDECK, The College Network, Merchant Services Ltd., Tom Lang Co.|
||Norse Cutting and Abandonment, Trallfa Industries, Colosseum|
||Slow Cow, April Super Flow, NAPA Auto Parts, HS Telecom, Desharnais|
||Connor De Phillippi
||Mazdaspeed Motorsports, Skip Barber|
||Petro Sur, GFK Motors|
||Miller Milling, Red Line Oil|
||Motorola, Petro Comm.|
||Dougherty and Co./Dougherty Funding LLC.|
||Wabash Capital Investments|
||General Data Tech|
||Moulin TP, Cecibon, Circuit du Laquais, Fontanel|
||Wabash Capital Investments|
||GP Global Precast|
Activities surrounding Round 4 at O'Reilly Raceway Park and the 'Night Before the 500' event begin with a Road to Indy autograph session during Community Day at the Speedway on Wednesday, May 26. Thursday, May 27 will be taken up with various Road to Indy activities at the Speedway. On-track action begins with a 3:00 pm practice session on Friday, May 28. Sessions alternate between Star Mazda and USF2000 until 10:00 pm in the evening. The 1-hour qualifying session for Round 4 of the 2010 Star Mazda Championship begins at 2:30 pm, Saturday, May 29, with the green flag scheduled to wave for the start of the 100-lap / 45-minute race at 8:10 pm. Unlike Mazda Raceway and other road course facilities, the Star Mazda Championship cars will use a rolling start at O'Reilly Raceway Park (and also at the other oval on the schedule, Iowa Speedway on the IRL weekend, June 19).
The next round of Superleague Formula by Sonangol will take place on 19-20 June in Jarama, Spain.