SBRS: NAT: 2008 National champion named

ALTON, Va. (Oct.5) In the year's final two races of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda, with a win on Saturday and a second place on Sunday at Virginia International Raceway Conor Daly clinched the championship and its...

ALTON, Va. (Oct.5) In the year's final two races of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda, with a win on Saturday and a second place on Sunday at Virginia International Raceway Conor Daly clinched the championship and its $350,000 title bonus. Daly, 16, finished with 388 points to edge Josef Newgarden (372 points) and Felipe Polehtto (366). The son of former racing star Derek Daly won five of the championship's 14 races, finishing in the top five a total of 10 times and taking three pole positions. Newgarden won Sunday's race, his third of the year, and earned a series-leading six poles.

"If you had asked me a 18 months ago whether I saw myself here now, champion of the Skip Barber National, no way," said Daly. "This series has so many fast drivers, you can't believe how competitive it is... It's made me a much smarter racer than I was at the beginning of the year. Getting my first win [at Mosport, in June] gave me confidence, told me that I had as good a chance to win as anyone. Man, that I came out in front of a half-dozen super-fast guys, not just one or two... Winning the championship? It's so unbelievable, so great. But I can't wait to start testing in Star Mazda!"

Daly's $350,000 will go to a 2009 Star Mazda ride with a title-contending team, as part of the multi-step MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development ladder system that includes the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda, Star Mazda and the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.

Next week, Daly and Newgarden are headed to England as teammates to race in the Formula Ford Festivals, both of them chosen as winners of the Team USA Scholarship.

-credit: sbr

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