iRacer Conor Daly won the 2010 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear with a win from the pole in last weekend’s Mobil 1 Presents the Grand Prix of Mosport.
Driving the #22 Juncos Racing / INDECK / The College Network / Merchant Services Ltd. Mazda to a record-breaking streak of nine poles and seven wins, the Indianapolis native had such a points lead that he technically became the series champion the moment the race started. Rather than play it safe and cruise to the checkered, however, Daly clinched the championship in style, leading every lap to cross the finish line 0.764 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, Venezuelan Jorge Goncalvez who started from the outside of the front row in the #9 Team Apex/Wabash Capital Investments Mazda.
“Even though I wasn’t worried about the championship I still wanted to win for the Juncos Racing team, and it was still a fairly tough race with Jorge right behind me for the first ten laps and I knew it was going to be tough to pull any kind of a gap,” said Daly, who graduated from high school earlier this season. “And with the yellow flag right at the end leaving us with a green/white/checkered situation I knew I had to be careful because the track was really slick by that point and I kind of tiptoed through the first turn and got a run while the guys behind me slid wide and that gave me a little bit of breathing room to bring it home.
“The Juncos team has put forward a tremendously professional effort all season and I can’t thank them enough. I’ll be going into the last race at Road Atlanta with the same attitude I’ve had all season; put it on the pole and win the race, but I will be thinking about how I can help my teammates get on the podium so we can wind up the season in style.”
Rounding out the top-three after moving up from his sixth-place qualifying position, was California racer Connor De Phillippe. This was De Phillippe’s second podium in a row driving the #11 JDC Motorsports / MAZASPEED Motorsports / Skip Barber Mazda. He also turned the quickest lap of the race, 1:17.055 on Lap 11. De Phillippi, the 2009 Skip Barber Pro Series champion, is racing in the Star Mazda Championship this season with backing from the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder. As a side note, Conor Daly was the 2008 Skip Barber champion and competed in his rookie Star Mazda season in 2009 as the MAZDASPEED Ladder driver. And, like De Phillippe, Daly is an alumnus of the Team USA Scholarship program.
Frenchman Tristan Vautier, winner of two races this year and starting from third on the grid brought his #38 Andersen Racing / Moulin TP / Cecibon / Circuit du Laquais / Fontanel Mazda home in fourth. Norwegian Anders ‘The Viking’ Krohn, the only driver who, before the start of the 45-minute race, still had a mathematical chance – however slim – of denying Daly the championship, qualified and finished 5th in #47 Andersen Racing / Norse Cutting & Abandonment / Trallfa / Colosseum Mazda.
Like Daly, Krohn built his season on consistency, finishing every race in the top-five; Daly, however, finished every race but one on the podium, and in that one ‘off’ race he finished fourth. Looking at the points, Daly has 502, Krohn is still second with 420, Goncalvez is third with 381, Connor De Phillippe is fourth with 372 and Grenier is tied for fifth with Vautier at 366.