DE PHILLIPPI SCORES FIRST STAR MAZDA PODIUM AT ROAD AMERICA MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver takes over Rookie of the Year lead in Wisconsin ELKHART LAKE, WIS. (August 23, 2010) - Connor De Phillippi enjoyed his best result to date in...
DE PHILLIPPI SCORES FIRST STAR MAZDA PODIUM AT ROAD AMERICA
MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver takes over Rookie of the Year lead in Wisconsin
ELKHART LAKE, WIS. (August 23, 2010) - Connor De Phillippi enjoyed his best result to date in the highly competitive Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear on Saturday (August 21), earning his first series podium finish. The talented MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver now leads the Rookie of the Year standings, after finishing an impressive third in Round 11 at Road America.
Given De Phillippi had previously enjoyed good success at the famed Road America track - winning twice in his 2009 Skip Barber National championship-winning season - the talented teenage racer entered the weekend confident he could challenge for top honors. Steadily working on fine tuning his No. 11 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development/Justice Brothers/Sparco/Rock View Farms/Oakley/Power Balance/Redline Athletics/Red Line Oil JDC MotorSports throughout the two Thursday promoter's day test sessions and Friday's two practice runs, De Phillippi was poised to achieve his pre-event goal of fighting for the win by ending up second quickest on the speedcharts prior to qualifying.
The Mazda-backed racer from California continued to shine in the lone qualifying session on Saturday, posting the second fastest time, earning his first Star Mazda front-row start.
When De Phillippi lined-up for the traditional formula one style start a few hours later, he had one objective^afight for the win. Things did not go exactly as planned when the lights went out however, as a driver from row two passed both De Phillippi and the polesitter within the first few corners. The nature of the fast 4.0-mile Wisconsin road course however meant that De Phillippi remained in contention for top honors, despite losing an additional place on lap three. While De Phillippi showed superb racecraft over the course of the next several laps, it was a late race full-course caution for a dramatic multi-car incident, and the subsequent one-lap dash to the checkered flag that gave the highly-rated racer the opportunity to challenge for the win. De Phillippi in the end crossed the stripe in third, earning his first series podium finish and advancing to first in the Rookie of the Year title chase.
"This weekend was what we have been working so hard for," stated De Phillippi. "Everything fell into place in the last practice session and continued in qualifying. In the race I didn't get a very good start and made things hard on myself. The final restart gave me a chance to make up for the poor start and get a podium finish. I would like to thank my team for all of their hard work, and I'm looking forward to racing at Mosport."
De Phillippi's Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear rookie campaign continues this coming weekend (August 27-28), with the third series event in as many weeks at Mosport International Raceway.