De Phillippi Wins Star Mazda Round 3 at the Night Before the 500
Connor De Phillippi
Connor De Phillippi, staring from the pole and leading from flag-to-flag, won Round 3 of the 2011 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, the 85-lap 'Night Before the 500' at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; this was the California driver's second victory of the season driving the #11 Team Pelfrey / Justice Brothers Products / Trademark Garage Floors Mazda; he won the season-opener at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
De Phillippi crossed the finish line two hours late due to a rain delay, but still with 2.4 seconds in hand over his Team Pelfrey teammate Nick Andries of St. Petersburg, Fl, who started from the outside of the front row in the #81 Team Pelfrey / Lithionics Battery / GS610 Brake Fluid / Trademark Garage Floors Mazda. Andries started from the pole in St. Pete and finished 2nd in Round 2 at Barber Motorsports Park.
Rounding out the top-5 were 2010 USF2000 champion and Mazda Road to Indy scholarship winner Sage Karam, of Nazareth, PA, who qualified and finished 3rd in the #88 Andretti Autosport / MAZDASPEED / Comfort Revolution Mazda. Finishing fourth was French racer Tristan Vautier in the #5 JDC Motorsports / Cecibon / Circuit du Laquais Mazda; won Round 2 at Barber Motorsports Park and came into the race leading the championship.
Finishing 5th was Brazilian racer J.V. Horto, who started from 6th on the grid. The top-finishing driver in the Expert Series for racers 30 and older was last year's Expert Series champion, Texan J.W. Roberts who came home 12th overall in the #65 Team GDT / General Data Tech Mazda.
The race went green all the way and the top half of the field finished pretty much in starting order, moving up only as 4th-palace qualifier Tatiana Calderon, the lone female driver in the field and faced with handling woes, faded back to finish 9th in the #10 Juncos Racing / JAC Motors Mazda.
Tristan Vautier remains in the championship points lead with 117 points, while De Phillippi, despite two wins from the pole, stays in 2nd with 116 due to a 10th-place finish in Round 2. In third with 101 points is Nick Andries, who, in addition to 2nd-place points tonight, earned an extra point for the quickest race lap, a 20.510 (120.410 mph).
Connor De Phillippi
Round 4 of the 2011 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear is the Milwaukee Mile on June 19. This is the second of three ovals in a row, followed on June 25 by Iowa Speedway. Both events are IndyCar race weekends.
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