Leader Connor Daly on Pole for Round Three of 2010 Star Mazda Season
At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Star Mazda Championship points leader American Conor Daly will start from the pole for tomorrow’s Round 3 of the 2010 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Having set the quick time in both days of pre-race practice and testing, Daly, the son of F1/IndyCar racing legend Derek Daly, was the only driver to turn a lap in the 20s with a 1:20.875 in his #22 Juncos Racing / INDECK / The College Network / Merchant Services Ltd. / Tom Lange Co. Mazda. Daly won Round 2, the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg from the pole, and in this event last year, battled his way up from 15th on the grid to finish 4th.
“The conditions were pretty much perfect this morning with a lot of nice, cool air to get that Mazda rotary engine really pumping out the power,” says Daly, who graduated from his Indianapolis high school on May 14. “The Juncos Racing team has been making constant small improvements to the car, and I actually lost part of my front wing early in qualifying, so the fact that I was still able to get the pole says a lot about how good a car they gave me. We’ll be racing at about the same time of day and under similar conditions as qualifying, and while I’m on pole, the top eight cars are all within a second of each other, so it should be a great race.”
Starting alongside Daly will be Scandinavian racer Anders ‘The Viking’ Krohn, who turned a lap of 1:21.028 in the #47 Andersen Racing / Norse Cutting & Abandonment / Trallfa / Colosseum Mazda. Like Daly, Krohn is an experienced second-year Star Mazda Championship driver who won on the Milwaukee Oval in 2009. He started from the pole at the 2010 season-opener at the 12 Hours of Sebring and is currently fourth in the championship. And in this race last year, he started 8th and finished 3rd.
Lining up on the inside of the second row will be French racer Tristan Vautier, who won the first race of the season at Sebring and currently sits second in the championship battle. He turned a lap of 1:21.055 in the #38 Andersen Racing / Moulin TP / Cecibon / Circuit du Laquais Mazda. Next to him will be Quebec driver Mikael Grenier with a lap of 1:21.192 in his #17 Andersen Racing / Slow Cow / April Super Flow / NAPA Auto Parts / HS Telecom / Desharnais Mazda. He is a newcomer to Mazda Raceway, but has finished 4th and 6th in the two events so far this season and is 5th in the points. Rounding out the top-5 will Californian Connor De Phillippi, the 2009 Skip Barber Pro Series Champion who won his full-season drive in the Star Mazda Championship courtesy of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder. He turned a lap of 1:21.490 in his #11 JDC Motorsports / MAZDASPEED Motorsports / Skip Barber Mazda. His results so far this season include a 7th at Sebring and 5th at St. Petersburg; he sits 7th in the championship but it should be noted that his team, JDC Motorsports won this race, and the series championship, in 2009.
Among the Expert (drivers 30-44) and Master (45 and older) Series drivers, California racer Patrick O’Neill is the top-qualifying Expert with a lap of 1:23.011 in the #64 JDC Motorsports / O’Neill Construction Mazda. That places him 13th on the grid for the start of tomorrow’s race, but he finished in the top-10 at this event in 2009. The top-qualifying Master driver is Gerry Kraut of North Oaks, Minnesota. He set a time of 1:24.830 in his #55 JDC Motorsports / Dougherty & Co. / Dougherty Funding LLC Mazda, placing him 17th on the starting grid. He finished 13th overall at this race last year. Kraut, in addition to being CEO of Dougherty & Co. is co-owner of the JDC Motorsports team. The 45-minute Round 3 of the 2010 Star Mazda Championship scheduled to take the green light for the Series’ traditional standing start at 9:15 am Sunday, May 23.