DE PHILLIPPI INCHES CLOSER TO SKIP BARBER NATIONAL TITLE WITH PODIUM FINISH AT ROAD ATLANTA Newly announced Team USA driver finished among the top-three for an 11th time in Round 12 BRASELTON, GA. (September 28, 2009) -- American standout...
DE PHILLIPPI INCHES CLOSER TO SKIP BARBER NATIONAL TITLE WITH PODIUM FINISH AT ROAD ATLANTA
Newly announced Team USA driver finished among the top-three for an 11th time in Round 12
BRASELTON, GA. (September 28, 2009) -- American standout Connor De Phillippi continued his pursuit of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National presented by Mazda title with another podium finish during the September 24-25 doubleheader at the famed Road Atlanta road course. In addition to adding to his points leads in the Skip Barber National title fight, the 16 year-old up-and-comer was announced as one two recipients of the prestigious Team USA Scholarship for 2009.
De Phillippi, having set a new Skip Barber National record with his seventh win of the season in the previous event at Road America, entered the penultimate event at Road Atlanta confident he could again challenge for top honors and further extend his large lead in the title fight. This optimism proved justified; as the teenager turned the fastest time in the opening qualifying session, earning yet another pole position for race one at the high-speed road course. De Phillippi followed up his pole-winning run with a third place effort in the rescheduled afternoon qualifying session, ensuring the newly announced Team USA driver was well positioned to challenge for both wins during the Friday doubleheader.
As fans and fellow drivers have come to expect, De Phillippi got a good launch when the green flag waved for Round 11 under Friday morning (September 25) sunshine. While the polesitter was able to hold the lead for the opening three laps, it quickly became apparent that the win would come done to the final lap, with the draft playing a key role. De Phillippi came up on the short end of the stick during the final run down the long back straight, being shuffled back to sixth place when the lead pack crossed the start/finish.
While De Phillippi was not overjoyed about the end result of race one, he quickly but it behind him, focusing on the task at hand, race two of the doubleheader. The Californian immediately indicated his intentions to add to both his series win record and championship points lead, moving up to P1 by the completion of lap one. The order never remained constant up-front however, with multiple cars trading the lead position. As in the previous race, the Round 12 win came down to the final lap and the run down the long back straight. For De Phillippi the end result was a narrow second place finish, giving the talented young race pilot an impressive 11th podium finish in 12 races.
Away from the cockpit, the Road Atlanta doubleheader proved to quite successful for De Phillippi as well. On Friday afternoon (September 25), renowned motorsports journalist and program founder Jeremy Shaw announced that De Phillippi had been selected as one of two Team USA Scholarship winners for 2009. In winning the prestigious award, the California teenager will join fellow award winner Brett Smrz behind the wheel of a Formula Ford at both the historic Formula Ford Festival at the Brands Hatch Circuit in England, and the famed Walter Hayes Trophy event at the Silverstone Circuit in England this fall. Previous Team USA Scholarship winners include Champ Car World Series champion Jimmy Vasser, Indy Lights champion Bryan Herta, Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, Grand-Am champion Andy Lally, Champ Car World Series race winner A.J. Allmendinger and Indy Lights champion J.R. Hildebrand.
"I am thrilled to be representing the United States and the Team USA Scholarship," said De Phillippi. "It is my first big shot to prove myself on the European circuit. I look forward to meeting many new people in the racing community and hopefully posting some excellent results."
De Phillipi resumes his chase for the 2009 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National presented Mazda championship title on October 9-10, with Rounds 13 and 14 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Entering the season-finale doubleheader in Northern California, De Phillippi has a 52-point advantage in the championship standings.