Indy ORP: Connor De Phillippi race report

DE PHILLIPPI SHOWS SPEED AND SKILL IN STAR MAZDA OVAL DEBUT Rookie of the Year contender challenged for podium finish early on before scoring seventh place result at ORP INDIANAPOLIS, IND. (May 31, 2010) - Connor De Phillippi showed he...

DE PHILLIPPI SHOWS SPEED AND SKILL IN STAR MAZDA OVAL DEBUT

Rookie of the Year contender challenged for podium finish early on before scoring seventh place result at ORP

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. (May 31, 2010) - Connor De Phillippi showed he can race and challenge for top honors on a variety of courses this Saturday (May 29), as the highly-rated young driver added another top-10 result to his Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear resume in his formula car oval debut at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indiana. The JDC MotorSports rookie briefly challenged for a podium position in the Round Four Night Before the 500 event, before eventually finishing seventh due to handling issues.

Only a few days after scoring a season-best fourth in front of family and friends at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, De Phillippi was back behind the wheel for his inaugural formula car oval race in Indiana. Given the talented California teenager has enjoyed previous short-track oval success via the Legends ranks, and he is continually gaining confidence and skill each time he sits in his No. 11 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development/Justice Brothers/Sparco/Rock View Farms/Oakley/Power Balance/Redline Athletics/Red Line Oil JDC MotorSports entry, it came as little surprise that De Phillippi quickly got up to speed during Friday's practice runs. At the end of the three hour-long sessions, the JDC racer had posted the fifth best time.

That trend of running near the top of the speed charts continued come race day on Saturday at ORP. De Phillippi was second fastest in the opening morning practice run, and followed that up with the fifth quickest time in the second morning practice run, setting the stage for a strong outing in single-car qualifying. While the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver didn't have the ideal setup for his two-lap run, he was able to post the fourth fastest combined time, earning a row two starting place for the evening race.

When the green flag waved under the lights a short time later, De Phillippi immediately impressed the large crowd on hand by challenging for the final podium position. Part of an entertaining battle for position lap after lap, the 17 year-old looked poised to potentially earn his first series top-three result. Unfortunately, the lack of cautions eventually resulted in the handling of his Star Mazda deteriorating. Battling an ever-increasing oversteer condition, the talented young racer briefly brushed the wall on more than one occasion, further hampering the effectiveness of his JDC steed. De Phillippi, showing the determination of a championship-winning driver, continued to battle all the way to the checkered flag. In the end, De Phillippi finished seventh, securing his fourth consecutive top-10 result to start his Star Mazda career.

"For my first oval race in the Star Mazda car, it was a success," stated De Phillippi. "Both myself and the team were happy to see we were able to battle for a podium position, but obviously by the end of the race the result wasn't quite what we wanted. We will go onward with what we've learned at ORP and go for the win at Iowa."

De Phillippi now has a brief break until June 19, when Round Five of the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear takes place at Iowa Speedway. The Californian enters the second and final oval race on the 2010 calendar sixth in the championship fight and third in the battle for Rookie of the Year honors.

-source: ConnorDePhillippi.com

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