Snap-on Stars of Karting Graduate Newgarden Becomes First American to Win Formula Ford Festival, Daly finishes sixth Former Snap-on Stars of Karting Series competitors Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly made the tip to Europe to compete in this...
Snap-on Stars of Karting Graduate Newgarden Becomes First American to Win Formula Ford Festival, Daly finishes sixth
Former Snap-on Stars of Karting Series competitors Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly made the tip to Europe to compete in this past weekend's Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch. Looking to make history, Newgarden did just that as he became the first ever American to win the festival while Team USA teammate Conor Daly came from the last row on the grid to finish sixth.
After progressing through the qualifying session, Newgarden would start on the outside of the second row for the first semi-final where he had a terrific start. Vaulting himself up to second by the end of the opening lap, Newgarden made an opportunistic move to take the lead on the second lap. Turning fast and consistent race laps, the talented American checked out from the rest of the field scoring a four second victory while turning the quickest lap of the race at 50.508.
Fellow American pilot Conor Daly would start his Sunday from 20th place on the grid due to a broken throttle linkage in Saturday's action. Showing his true drive and desire, the Indiana resident advanced forward gaining 14 positions in the 15 lap event. Turning one of the quickest laps of semi-final two, Daly would finish on the tail of the lead group in the sixth position. The 25 lap final event was next on the docket and would begin with Newgarden on the pole position and Daly on the outside of the sixth row in P12 of the 28 car field.
"I made sure to do plenty of burnouts and had another stellar start," recounted the Tennessee resident, Newgarden. "I led the first six laps until the caution flags came out. I knew I had to be on the ball once the safety car's lights were off so that I could get a gap on the field. I did just an ok job at that and just managed to hold off the pack into Paddock Hill Bend. As we got deeper into the laps, I was getting increased pressure from the train of cars behind me. About halfway into the race, I made a slight bobble into Paddock Hill and Patrick McKenna was able to slip his nose inside of me and take the position. At this point I was just focusing on crowding his mirrors and waiting for any opportunity to make a move. I looked twice into Kidney Corner and finally was able to complete my pass into Clearways on Lap 13. In the next couple of laps I was able to break the draft and finally get some breathing room."
Newgarden continued, "This was the point were I became the most nervous. I focused on doing the same thing I did in the semi-final by putting my head down and just running fast, consistent laps. There was a rush of relief at the checkered flag. I was so happy to take the victory. I was so happy for the Team USA Scholarship program and Cliff Dempsey Racing and the thought of having my name stand in the record books with guys like Mark Webber and Jenson Button was overwhelming. I know this victory and the memories I have will stay with me for a lifetime."
Having just as good of a race was American Conor Daly. Son of Formula One and IndyCar driver Derek Daly, the former Stars of Karting TaG front runner underlined the potency of the Team USA/Cliff Dempsey Racing squad and used his race prowess to move forward and finish in the sixth position on a track where overtaking is notoriously difficult.
The two youngsters will have a busy week ahead of them with visits to the AT&T Williams Formula 1 team, Lola Cars factory, the Subaru World Rally Team and Aston Martin Racing. They will also undertake one more test day in preparation for the Walter Hayes Trophy event which will take place at Silverstone on the weekend of November 1-2, 2008.
The 2008 Snap-on Stars of Karting Series is now complete and the focus will begin to shift to the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) All-Stars Karting Classic held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. PRI and 2009 series news will continue to stream into the media in the weeks to come.