DE PHILLIPPI EXTENDS SKIP BARBER LEAD WITH WIN AND RUNNER-UP FINISHES Solid weekend in Alabama gives young driver breathing room in title fight San Clemente, CA (July 19, 2009) -- A win and a second place finish in the seventh and eighth rounds...
DE PHILLIPPI EXTENDS SKIP BARBER LEAD WITH WIN AND RUNNER-UP FINISHES
Solid weekend in Alabama gives young driver breathing room in title fight
San Clemente, CA (July 19, 2009) -- A win and a second place finish in the seventh and eighth rounds of the Skip Barber National Championship has allowed rising American formula car star Connor De Phillippi to extend his points lead, as the young pilot was on his game once again, this time running extremely well at Barber Motorsports Park this past weekend. With the 2009 season just past the halfway point, De Phillippi now has a 32-point lead over Felipe Polehtto.
"I extended my points lead, which is exactly what I needed to do this weekend," said De Phillippi after the on-track action had wrapped. "I need to keep pushing and running up front, but I am happy with the season so far. If I can keep doing what I'm doing, I'm in great shape for the end of the season."
De Phillippi came strongly out of the gate, running at the front of the pack during the Friday practice sessions. "The car was fast right away, so I focused on being very consistent and being able to run in the draft," he said. That work paid off as the 16-year-old Californian qualified twice on the front row, missing pole in the second race by a scant .006 seconds after having won the top spot for Race #1.
In the first race of the weekend doubleheader, De Phillippi utilized his off-pole starting position to jump into a five-car pack that ran together for much of the race. The tight pack racing was typical of Skip Barber National competition and saw lots of position-swapping throughout the 15-lap event. On the final lap, Connor had positioned himself correctly within the lead group and moved from third to first, scoring his series-leading fifth win of the season. The final margin of victory was less than one second.
"We had a good pack going and I got a couple good runs on the final lap and was able to get past both Court (Vernon) and Felipe (Polehtto)," added De Phillippi.
In the second race, De Phillippi again started alongside Vernon on the front row. This time, the duo stayed in single file formation, which allowed them to take full advantage of both their pace and the draft to put a gap between themselves and the first chase group. As the race drew to a close, the front row duo went to work to decide who was going to score the victory. Leading Vernon going into the 11th of Barber's 17 corners, De Phillippi lost the point to his challenge, who made a solid overtaking maneuver to the inside. Unable to mount a counter attack, De Phillippi crossed the line in second, a mere 0.25 seconds behind the winner.
"Overall, it was a good weekend," he added. "I came in 25 points out front and I am leaving with a 32-point lead. I'm pretty happy."
Next up for De Phillippi is Road America on the August 21-23, where the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda headlines a card that includes the Skip Barber Summer Race Series and Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge.