Star Mazda – St. Petersburg Starting Grid and Preview

The Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear begins its 2012 season on the Streets of St. Petersburg this weekend, and it looks like they will start with a pretty healthy grid. While not the 30+ cars they used to have, its still nice to see that 21 cars will take laps in anger around the hybrid airport/street circuit in St. Petersburg, Florida for two races this Saturday and Sunday.

Juncos Racing looks to be very strong this season with the addition of Connor Di Philippi and the resigning of Martin Scuncio. Last year, Team Pelfrey showed that they were a legitimate threat for the championship even in their inaugural season, and this year they return with 2011 USF2000 Champion Petri Suvanto, Star Mazda sophomore Gustavo Menezes, and Jack Hawksworth. Andretti Autosport’s Sage Karam is also poised for a strong challenge in his sophomore year in the series. We should see a great three-way fight between these teams.

I’d like to prognosticate and try to make a guess at the podium, but the above teams are really well matched. This first race will be a bit of a crapshoot. If I had to pick, I think you’ll see the street circuits like St. Pete favor Connor Di Philippi. He was the winner of last year’s two races at St. Petersburg and was strong all year on the street circuit also pulling out a win at Circuit Trois-Rivières. Suvanto, although very quick in testing, may take a race or two to get comfortable with the Star Mazda machine in racing situations. Sage Karam will challenge for a podium position, but he’ll have to take advantage of every opportunity to wrest the race lead away from Connor or Petri. Of course, come raceday, all my forecasting could amount to so much gator dung, especially if it rains. If it is a wet track, look for Zach Veach to come on strong! The young driver is an absolute rainmeister, and with a 20% chance of rain on Saturday and a 60% chance on Sunday, a win for Veach is certainly a real possibility. Things should be interesting this weekend!

Star Mazda On-Track Schedule

Thursday, March 22
6:10-6:40 Practice Session #1

Friday, March 23
11:05-11:35 Practice Session #2
4:40-5:10 Qualifying

Saturday, March 24
1:00-1:40 Race#1

Sunday, March 25
10:05-10:45 Race#2

Follow Live Timing-and-Scoring at

Star Mazda Entry List for St. Petersburg

Car No. Driver Hometown Team Sponsor
2 Connor De Phillippi  San Clemente, CA  Juncos Racing  ModSpace Racing /  One24
9 Juan Piedrahita  Mexico City, Mexico  JDC Motorsports  Petrosur / GFK Motors
10 Jérimy Daniel  Châteauguay, Quebec  The Racing Company  FixAuto / Sherwin-Williams
15 Bruno Palli  Maracay, Venezuela   Juncos Racing  Team Viso Venezuela
19 Gabby Chaves  Bogotá, Colombia JDC Motorsports  OMP
21 Camilo Schmidt  Mérida, Venezuela  #21 Linares Racing
22 Martin Scuncio  Bahia Blanca, Argentina  Juncos Racing
23 Walt Bowlin  Tarpon Springs, Florida  AIM Autosport  Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery
38 Dom Bastien  West Palm Beach, FL
53 Andrés Méndez  Bogotá, Colombia  Team GDT /
57 Diego Ferreira  Maracay, Venezuela  Juncos Racing  Team Viso Venezuela
65 Cory Lewis  Nazareth, PA  Team GDT  Monticello Motor Club / Bell Helmets / GDT
66 Zack Meyer  Toronto, Canada  AIM Autosport  Partners III
72 Larry Pegram  Baltimore, OH  AIM Autosport  Foremost Insurance
77 Zach Veach  Stockdale, Ohio  Andretti Autosport  Zakosi Data Backup / ADS IT Solutions
81 Petri Suvanto  Nurmo, Finland  Team Pelfrey Mazda  Mazda Road to Indy (>)
82 Jack Hawksworth  West Yorkshire, England  Team Pelfrey  TORGOEN Swiss Watches / EXA Networks
83 Gustavo Menezes  Coto de Caza, California  Team Pelfrey
88 Sage Karam  Nazareth, PA  Andretti Autosport  Comfort Revolution
91 Ashley Freiberg  Homer Glen, IL  JDC Motorsports
99 Stefan Rzadainski  Edmonton, Canada  JDC Motorsports

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