DE PHILLIPPI CLINCHES SKIP BARBER NATIONAL TITLE AT LIME ROCK PARK Newly announced Team USA Scholarship driver earned a fully funded ride in the 2010 Star Mazda Championship with the series crown LAKEVILLE, ONT. (October 13, 2009) -- Rising...
DE PHILLIPPI CLINCHES SKIP BARBER NATIONAL TITLE AT LIME ROCK PARK
Newly announced Team USA Scholarship driver earned a fully funded ride in the 2010 Star Mazda Championship with the series crown
LAKEVILLE, ONT. (October 13, 2009) -- Rising American junior formula car driver Connor De Phillippi completed his goal of winning the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National presented by Mazda title this weekend (October 9-10), with fourth and seventh place results in the season-finale at Lime Rock Park. As the 2009 series champion, the 16 year-old Team USA Scholarship winner earns a fully-funded ride in the 2010 Star Mazda Championship via the MAZDASPEED Driver Development Ladder program.
For De Phillippi, the goal right from the get go at the fast Lime Rock Park road course was to ensure he took the green flag for race one of the season-finale doubleheader. In doing so, the highly talented San Clemente, Calif., would secure the Skip Barber National title. That being said, De Phillippi was not going to merely just go out for a leisurely drive, given a pair of wins would give the teenager nine a career victories, a new series record.
While things didn't exactly as planned in the two qualifying sessions, De Phillippi still managed to position himself for a potential race-winning end to the year via the fourth and seventh fastest times in the two sessions.
Conditions were less than ideal when De Phillippi and the rest of the Skip Barber National field rolled on-course for Round 13, as rain and cool conditions greeted the drivers. De Phillippi hardly noticed however, as upon the green flag waving the field crossing the start/finish he was officially crowned the 2009 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National presented by Mazda champion. Having avoided any last minute drama, the Californian turned his attention to advancing up the timing charts. Unfortunately the slick conditions, combined with reduced visibility from the cars ahead made passing extremely difficult, resulting in the De Phillippi holding station in fourth. A subsequent lengthy full-course caution further prevented any change in position for several laps. While a late race dash to the checkered flag allowed for some passing attempts, De Phillippi remained fourth place all the way to the checkered flag, where he was greeted by a celebrating crew and family.
Returning the 1.53-mile Connecticut road course one day later, De Phillippi set his sights on tying the career win mark of eight in Round 14. Getting the green flag on a wet, but rapidly drying track, the newly crowned champion immediately advanced one position from his seventh place starting place. De Phillippi continued his charge towards the front until lap three, when a rare miscue by the seven-time winner resulted in an off-course excursion, rejoining at the rear of the field. Putting the error behind him, the Team USA Scholarship winner set about working his way back to the front. Routinely turning the fastest laps of the race, De Phillippi was among the top-five just after the halfway mark of the 25-lap affair. De Phillippi, continually pushing, was P3 with three laps to go. Completing a stunning run to the front, De Phillippi passed for the lead as the field crossed the stripe to commence the final lap. Unfortunately the fairytale finish did not occur, as a big twitch in "The Lefthander" resulted in De Phillippi briefly sliding off-course for a second time. Able to keep going without losing too much time, De Phillippi ended his 2009 Skip Barber National season with a seventh place finish.
"While it's not the way I wanted to end the season, I'm extremely happy to have won the 2009 Skip Barber National title," stated De Phillippi. "I'm already looking for to the 2010 Star Mazda season, but before that I'm off to England, where I hope to extend the Team USA Scholarship win streak in the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy."
As member of the Team USA Scholarship program De Phillippi will pilot a Cliff Dempsey Racing Ray GRS07/08 this coming weekend (October 17-18) in the Kent class of the famed Formula Ford Festival at the Brands Hatch Circuit in England, before taking part in the renowned Walter Hayes Trophy event on October 31-November 1 at the Silverstone Circuit in England.