OpenPaddock.net wishes to extend our congratulations to the 2010 champions of the USF2000 National Championship presented by Cooper Tires powered by Mazda and the Star Mazda Championship powered by Mazda. Both series are official parts of the new Road to Indy program designed to produce a clear path for young drivers to advance through the ranks and eventually race at the top level of American open-wheel racing, the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Sage Karam dominated the reborn US F2000 National Championship from start to finish, including dominating wins at the two races ending the season last weekend at Road Atlanta. Sage won 10 of the 12 rounds, scoring pole position at most of those races as well. The only two races that were not won by Sage were won by Irishman Patrick McKenna. As winner of the season championship, Sage earned a $350k scholarship from Mazda to compete in the Star Mazda Championship in 2011. Right now, Andretti Autosport doesn’t have a Star Mazda team, but they certainly have a lot of interest in Mr. Karam. Discussions are happening this week regarding Karam’s and Andretti Autosport’s relationship and racing plans for 2011. Hopefully, by our next podcast, we’ll have some definite answers, but I think its pretty likely that we’ll see Andretti Autosport become the first team to have an involvement at every stage on the Road to Indy.
no images were found“I’m so happy and honored to have won the Championship driver title today after winning the first race. We started out the week on a rough note with a little incident on Tuesday, but it really can’t get better than this. I want to thank everybody: Michael Andretti, the Michael Fux Foundation, Comfort Revolution, Mazda, Cooper Tires, the Road to Indy program and my awesome crew. I can’t thank Andretti Autosport enough for the opportunity to race this season, and I hope I can make them proud again tomorrow morning.
“Winning this championship is a great honor. I really have to thank Michael Fux. We got together when I was 13 when I didnʼt have enough money to go racing, and he has been a huge help.
“Andretti Autosport gave me an awesome car. It kept improving and improving, and it was really good at the end of the race.
“Itʼs Zach and my first one-two. We said we have to finish one-two just like we do
on Xbox. Today we did, and weʼre thrilled!” — Sage Karam after clinching the championship by winning Race 1 at Road Atlanta
In almost, but perhaps not QUITE as dominant of a fashion, Conor Daly secured his championship title in the Star Mazda Championship one race early at Mosport after winning 7 of the 13 races in 2010 with nine pole positions. The race at Road Atlanta was in the nature of a victory lap for the 1st generation Irish-American, but he still made the podium finishing in third. Winning the series championship grants Conor a full-season, factory-backed ride in the Grand Am GT series driving the Mazda RX-8 GT car. It also gives him a $100k cash money and a test with a Firestone Indy Lights team. Sports car racing isn’t Conor’s preferred direction, as we know from his past statements expressing a desire to race in Formula 1, but its hard to turn down a free full-season factory ride!
no images were found“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, 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.” — Conor Daly after securing the season title at Mosport.