DE PHILLIPPI CONTINUES ROOKIE OF THE YEAR CHARGE IN IOWA MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver just missed a podium finish in Round Five of the Star Mazda Championship NEWTON, IOWA (June 22, 2010) - Connor De Phillippi continued ...
DE PHILLIPPI CONTINUES ROOKIE OF THE YEAR CHARGE IN IOWA
MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver just missed a podium finish in Round Five of the Star Mazda Championship
NEWTON, IOWA (June 22, 2010) - Connor De Phillippi continued his impressive rookie showing in the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear on Saturday night (June 19), just missing a podium finish in Round Five at the Iowa Speedway. The MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver showed good speed throughout the 100-lap night race, eventually taking the checkered flag in fourth place in his JDC MotorSports entry, placing him second in the competitive Rookie of the Year chase.
With top-10 finishes in all four of his previous Star Mazda starts, including a strong run just over two weeks ago in Indiana on another short oval, De Phillippi entered the Iowa Speedway round confident he could run near the front and potentially challenge for top honors. With this in mind, the highly rated Californian spent day one of the two-day event focusing on developing his car for the high-speed banked 7/8-mile oval. The end result were times among the top-eight in all three sessions - two tests and one practice - and a car he felt was well suited for the Saturday night race.
While De Phillippi did not turn the sort of speed he desired in Saturday afternoon single-car qualifying, the reigning Skip Barber National champion remained convinced he had the skill, speed and car to work his way forward from his seventh place starting in the race later that night. Piloting the No. 11 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development/Justice Brothers/Sparco/Rock View Farms/Oakley/Power Balance/Redline Athletics/Red Line Oil JDC MotorSports entry, De Phillippi did just that when the green flag waved. The highly rated MAZDASPEED Motorsports backed racer was the driver on the move among the top-10, steadily working his way up the timing charts. Matching the pace of the lead pack, it was not long before De Phillippi was part of the chase for a podium position. While De Phillippi was not quite able to score his inaugural series top-three, his second fourth place result and fifth consecutive top-10 finish to start his Star Mazda career was enough to advance him to second in the Rookie of the Year standings and fifth overall in the highly competitive junior formula car development series.
"The team and myself were both going into Iowa with higher expectations," stated De Phillippi. "Although during practice we never really showed a blistering pace, we knew we had a good car for the race. Qualifying in seventh made things difficult, and in the end we came up short of a podium. Now with even more experience under might belt, I'm looking forward to New Jersey this next weekend. I have two previous victories there, and we are hungry for podium results."
Next up for De Phillippi and his JDC MotorSports crew is Rounds Six and Seven of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear this coming weekend (June 26-27) at New Jersey Motorsports Park. The California teenager enters the first of back-to-back doubleheaders having previously achieved good success at NJMP. In 2009, De Phillippi won both races of the Skip Barber National doubleheader in New Jersey en route to capturing the series title.