Daly Wins Round Two from Pole Position at Streets of St. Petersburg ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., March 28, 2010 - Conor Daly started today's race on the Streets of St. Petersburg from pole position, led from green flag to checker and took his first win...
Daly Wins Round Two from Pole Position at Streets of St. Petersburg
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., March 28, 2010 - Conor Daly started today's race on the Streets of St. Petersburg from pole position, led from green flag to checker and took his first win of the season in the #22 Juncos Racing / INDECK / College Network / Merchant Services Ltd. / Tom Lange Co. machine. The 18-year-old secured a perfect start and two great restarts during the 45-minute event, forming as much as a 3-second gap over second place driver Joao Horto, and even clocked in the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1:11.603. Daly's third place finish at the season-opener in Sebring last week plus today's win will see him leaving the "Sunshine State" with the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear lead.
"The race was near perfect," said Daly. "The car was perfect and really consistent, and the team gave me the best equipment out there to win the race today. It was tough dealing with the yellow flags at first, but I was able to build good gaps as soon as the green flag waved. It's a really good finish for the championship, and I'm really looking forward to the next race."
Teammates Tatiana Calderon and Hayden Duerson started today's race side-by-side on row eight, both drivers looking for a strong and consistent race and possibly two top-ten finishes. Unfortunately, both Duerson and Calderon found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time-they were both involved in a first-lap incident at turn four with another driver, damaging their cars and calling the drivers to the pits for repairs. Duerson managed to exit the pits in time to remain on the lead lap and immediately began his charge back up through the field. Five or six laps later, however, a damaged steering rod from the earlier incident snapped, ending his hometown race early.
"I had a decent start and things were going well," said Duerson. "When we went into turn four, another car locked up and hopped the curb, taking my front wing off and smashing into the back of Tatiana (Calderon). I got going again and came back out on the lead lap, but my steering rod snapped five or six laps later and I was done. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the results I hoped for, but I'm looking forward to testing at Roebling Road and New Jersey soon so I will be ready for my next race."
Tatiana Calderon exited the pits after her repair to rejoin the field one lap behind. The young Colombian still ran on the pace, however, and even clocked in lap times as fast as her qualifying session yesterday. She raced hard and finished strongly one lap down in 19th position.
"Apart from the incident in the race, this weekend went really well," said Calderon. "The car was really good, I was really confident and I learned so many things that are going to help me next time I test and race. I'm really happy because the gap between me and Conor is getting smaller every time, and I was even running the same times in the race as I did in qualifying. Right now, I'm still concentrating on being fast. Once I do that, I will focus on finishing in the top-ten, then on winning. I'm looking forward to the upcoming tests, especially the oval. I think that experience will help me a lot."
"I'm extremely happy with our first win with Conor and our first win this season," said Team Owner Ricardo Juncos. "The entire weekend went exactly like we planned. After the first practice, we found what we needed to do and from there, everything went perfectly. The drivers, mechanics and whole team did an incredible job. I'm so happy for Conor. We thought we could win at Sebring, and now we proved that we can. We are also leading the championship which is exactly the position we want to be in.
"I'm very impressed with Hayden and Tatiana. This is only the second time Hayden has been in the car, and he was able to compete on this street course without any seat time or testing which is very difficult. He looked for his limits and didn't make mistakes, but unfortunately he was involved in an incident in corner four at beginning of race. He had to pit for a new nose then the suspension broke so he couldn't finish the race. He is really committed to keep working hard with us though and be ready for the next race.
"I'm also really happy with Tatiana. Unfortunately, she was involved in the same incident as Hayden and had to come into the pits for repairs. After losing a lap, she was still determined and consistent, improving lap by lap. At the end of the race, she was doing lap times that were only one second off of Conor's and half of a second off the second group of drivers. Overall it was a great weekend, and we are now looking forward to more testing and the next race."
Juncos Racing will leave Florida with experience for Duerson and Calderon and a Championship lead for Daly. Next up for the team is the official series test at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indiana at the beginning of May. The team hopes to gain some valuable experience and track time in preparation for Round Three of the Star Mazda Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 22.
-source: juncos racing