Saturday, June 23, 2012
Momentum and Moisture Take a Hand as Karam Leads Flag-to-Flag in Completing His Iowa Hat Trick at The Iowa Speedway Foundation Star Mazda 100
NEWTON, Iowa -- Starting from the pole for the third time in three years, Andretti Autosport driver Sage Karam completed his Iowa hat trick with a flag-to-flag run driving the #88 Andretti Autosport / Comfort Revolution Mazda in Round 6 of the 2012 Star Mazda Championship. The race was cut ten laps short by a combination of lightning and rain, but not before championship points leader Jack Hawksworth - who qualified on the outside of the front row and was running in third hot on the heels of the leaders - spun and crashed in Turn 4 at the three-quarter mark.
After a lengthy cleanup, the survivors were greeted not by a green flag and a 10-lap shootout, but rather by a checkered flag that favored the survivors; Martin Scuncio, who qualified 4th driving the #22 Juncos Racing / Pullman Bus Mazda finished second, and Connor De Phillippi, who started 8th with mechanical issues in qualifying, came home 3rd.
De Phillippi's podium finish in the #2 Juncos Racing / ModSpace Racing / One24 Mazda, combined with Hawksworth's incident, moves him into the championship points lead headed into a trio of Canadian street races. This is Karam's first pole and first win of the season; Scuncio won Race 2 of Round 2 at Barber Motorsports Park and De Phillippi has wins at the St. Pete season-opener and the Night Before the 500 at the Lucas Oil Raceway oval.
"The Star Mazda field is so close and competitive this season that you never know the results until the checkered flag waves," said Karam, who won from the pole at Iowa in USF200 in 2010 and in Star Mazda in 2011. "We had a really good car here and I don't think the race going the full distance instead of ending ten laps short would have made any difference. This win was really important because it gives us some momentum going into the Canadian races, where we were fast last year, and puts us in the hunt for the championship."
Rounding out the top-5 were Finnish racer Petri Suvanto, driving the #81 Team Pelfrey / Mazda Road to Indy Mazda and Gabby Chaves in the #19 JDC Motorsports / COMCEL / Marca Colombia Mazda. Suvanto is the 2011 USF2000 champion and is racing in the Star Mazda Championship with scholarship funding from the Mazda Road to Indy.
De Phillippi, who came to Iowa second in the points, leaves with 139 and the lead. Hawksworth, who has
led the championship battle since the first race, is credited with a last-place finish and drops to second with 135 points. Martin Scuncio remains in third with 122 while Sage Karam moves up from sixth to fourth with 117. Chaves sits fifth in the points with 109 and Suvanto is 6th with 105.
Connor De Phillippi
ModSpace Racing / One24
Mazda Road to Indy
Comcel/ Telmex/ Marca Colombia
K12.com / Zakosi Data Backup
Team Viso Venezuela
Team Viso Venezuela
GrupoKriterion.com / DataFile.com.co
Petrosur / GFK Motors
TORGOEN Swiss Watches/ EXA Networks
This weekend's Round 6 of the 2012 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear was the second of two ovals on a 2012 schedule that includes a well-rounded menu of ovals, street circuits and natural-terrain road courses. Most are double-headers with two races per weekend, and most are with IndyCar. Following these two ovals in a row is a string of three Canadian races in a row, beginning with the Indy Toronto, followed by Indy Edmonton and then by the legendary GP3R Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres, where Star Mazda will share the stage with Indy Lights.
Star Mazda Championship cars all carry two Replay XD1080 cameras to provide exciting driver POV footage for races that are broadcast tape-delayed on Discovery's Velocity Channel and globally on ESPN International. In the U.S., the race will air on Velocity at 12 Noon, Saturday, July 28.
For more information on the Star Mazda Championship and its drivers, as well as the Mazda Motorsports ladder system, please visit www.starmazda.com and www.mazdausa.com.
For information, interviews and photos, please contact Star Mazda Communications Director Peter Frey at (818) 398-5733 or email@example.com.