Connor De Phillippi, who won this race in 2010 was quick in the first of today's two Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear sessions, turning a 1:20.882 in his #2 Juncos Racing / ModSpace Racing / One24 Mazda. In the afternoon, it was Sage Karam, a three race winner in the #88 Andretti Autosport / Comfort Revolution Mazda and currently 4th in the championship who turned the quick time of 1:19.352. Both are still well shy of the 1:18.328 set by Peter Dempsey in 2008... but there's still plenty of time to find that elusive tick of the stopwatch. In both sessions, it was Gabby Chaves, second in the championship and winner of Race 2 at Mazda Raceway two weeks ago, who turned the quick time in the #19 JDC Motorsports / CLARO / Marca Colombia / Tecpro Mazda; 1:20.882 in the morning and 1:19.447 in the afternoon.
Turning laps at the sharp end of the time sheet in both sessions were Finnish racer Petri Suvanto, the 2011 USF2000 champion racing this season in Star Mazda with scholarship funding from the Mazda Road to Indy, and Zach Veach, Karam's Andretti Autosport teammate who recently turned the top time in the Indy Lights test on the Indy Motor Speedway F1 circuit. Suvanto, 5th in the championship, drives the #81 Team Pelfrey / Mazda Road to Indy Mazda while Veach is 10th in the championship driving his #77 Andretti Autosport / K12 / Zakosi Data Backup Mazda.
The two new drivers in the field making their Star Mazda debut here this weekend, Colorado racer Scott Anderson in the #16 JDC Motorsports / Laser Nail Centers / Neuropathy Testing Centers Mazda, was 11th and 9th in the morning and afternoon sessions. Cali, Colombia hotshoe Juan Camilo Acosta in the #97 Team GDT / STF Group / Studio F Mazda was still working to get the feel of the car and track and brought up the tail end of the time sheet in both sessions.
Star Mazda on-track action at the Petit Le Mans weekend on Road Atlanta's 2.54-mile (4.088 km), 12-turn road course continues with a pair of half-hour sessions, at 10:15 am and 4:15 pm Wednesday, Oct 17. Qualifying for the PEAK Performance Pole Award takes place at 12:15 pm, Thursday, Oct. 18, with all the drivers aiming to the Star Mazda track record of 1:18.328 set by Peter Dempsey in 2008. The 2012 season finale of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear is scheduled for 50 minutes and will take the green light for the series' spectacular F1-style standing start at 3:45 Friday, Oct. 19.
Star Mazda Championship cars all carry two Replay XD1080 cameras to provide exciting driver POV footage for races that are part of the Mazda Motorsports Hour broadcast tape-delayed on Discovery's Velocity Channel in the U.S. and globally on ESPN International. In the U.S., the race will air on Velocity at 12 Noon, Saturday, November 24.
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