DE PHILLIPPI WINS STAR MAZDA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD WITH SEASON-FINALE VICTORY AT ROAD ATLANTA First series win gives MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver third place in the 2010 title chase BRASELTON, GA. (October 3, 2010) -...
DE PHILLIPPI WINS STAR MAZDA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD WITH SEASON-FINALE VICTORY AT ROAD ATLANTA
First series win gives MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver third place in the 2010 title chase
BRASELTON, GA. (October 3, 2010) - American junior formula car standout Connor De Phillippi ended his 2010 race season in perfect fashion on Friday (October 1), winning the Round 13 season-finale of the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear at Road Atlanta. With his first series victory, the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver from California secured the prestigious Rookie of the Year award via third place in the overall championship standings.
De Phillippi entered the Star Mazda Championship season-finale poised in Georgia poised to end his 2010 race campaign on a high note, having earned back-to-back podium finishes in the previous two races in Canada and Wisconsin. Building on this success, the 2009 Skip Barber National series champion wasted little time getting up to speed at Road Atlanta, establishing himself as one of the drivers to beat via the fastest time in the final promoter's test day run. De Phillippi continued shine when official practice commenced one day later, turning the second quickest time overall and leading the second timed session.
With the Rookie of the Year award and potentially a third place finish in the championship chase on the line, De Phillippi was looking for another great run behind the wheel when qualifying took place on Thursday afternoon. With his JDC MotorSports crew warning the multiple karting champion that rain was on the way, De Phillippi immediately attacked the fast undulating road course when the green flag waved to start the scheduled 45-minute outing. This proved vital, as just as De Phillippi completed his second lap, the red flags waved to halt qualifying due to heavy rain and cars off-course. Posting a time of 1:20.101 in the No. 11 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development/Justice Brothers/Sparco/Rock View Farms/Oakley/Power Balance/Redline Athletics/Red Line Oil JDC MotorSports car, De Phillippi earned his inaugural pole position of the season and the always important bonus championship point.
Returning to the Road Atlanta track one day later, De Phillippi was focused on one thing^aconverting his P1 starting position into his first Star Mazda win. The MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver promptly got away cleanly from the traditional F1-style standing start, leading the field into and exiting the first turn. Showing the speed and racecraft of a rising open-wheel formula car star right from the get go, De Phillippi promptly held off challenges from the newly crowned series champion lap after lap. Never relinquishing the top-spot, De Phillippi took the checkered flag 4.554s ahead of second place, earning a well deserved first series victory. De Phillippi with the win finished third in the final points tally, earning the Rookie of the Year award and the $10,000 prize.
"We've been building up to this result during the last half of the season with teamwork and strong practice, qualifying and finishes," said De Phillippi. "The JDC MotorSports team worked extraordinarily hard and smart at this race, and then it was up to me to execute the plan, which I did. We got a great start, managed the tires, managed the distance back to the second-place car and won the race. This is obviously a great way to end my rookie season, and I'm hoping to be back in Star Mazda next year and run for the championship."
De Phillippi will now take a brief break to celebrate his Rookie of the Year campaign in the highly-competitive Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear, before beginning the search for funding for the upcoming 2011 race season. The talented young American is currently evaluating options for next year, with sponsorship support likely determining where he will get behind the wheel.