Star Mazda – Road Atlanta Recap

The final race of the 2012 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear saw the checkered flags this afternoon putting a cap on the 2012 season. Gabby Chavez of JDC MotorSports won the pole position yesterday afternoon, edging out Andretti Autosports’ Sage Karam by a mere 0.05s! While the first two positions in the championship standings are already determined, Positions 3 and 4 are still hotly contested by Juncos Racing pilot Connor De Phillippi and Sage Karam. Going into this final round, Connor lead Sage by four points, 303 to 299. With De Phillippi suffering a huge off during qualifying and starting mid-pack in P9 and Karam starting on the front row, Sage had a perfect opportunity to gain one more spot in the championship.

From Lap 1 Chavez ran out into a short lead ahead of Karam and stretched that lead to a little over a second until a full-course caution. On the subsequent restart, Sage took the lead from Gabby but never could pull away. Meanwhile, De Phillippi kept slicing his way up through the field making it up to P4. Chavez eventually reclaimed the race lead and pulled out a gap of about 0.6 seconds. Falling back to P2 meant that Karam’s teammate, Zach Veach, was his only buffer. Veach would fall back after a couple of driving errors, leaving De Phillippi in P3, albeit several seconds adrift of Karam. Sage should be very thankful for those several seconds as on the last lap of the race, he made one last effort to get around Chavez and spun. He was able to get back underway and maintain his position, but the battle for the race win was over.

“I knew that as soon as the race started I had clinched second in the championship, but that actually freed me to take an all-or-nothing attitude toward the race; I was going to win it or spin it. Even though I led all the way, it was a very tight race with Sage’s car always there in my mirrors. I was fortunate that he was never able to get a run on me and try to pass, which might have worked out well for Connor, but probably not for Sage or I. I’m so happy to be able to repay the JDC Motorsports team for all their hard work during the season, and my family and sponsors for all their help and faith. We’ll go to the awards banquet tomorrow, take it easy for a few days and then get to work on what I’m going to race next year.” — Gabby Chavez, #19 JDC Motorsports

“Star Mazda Championship race runner-up Sage Karam told the media after the race, before mounting the podium that race winner Gabby Chavez had had a fast car in turns one through six while Karam’s car was better than Chavez’s in turns 6-12,” said OpenPaddock photographer Brian McKay who was on-site covering the event. “Karam lamented his inability to pass Chavez in turns 7 or 8, where his car handled very well, because he couldn’t reach Chavez. Karam said that the cars were, on the whole, evenly matched and said that pole-winner Chavez was fast all day and didn’t make mistakes. Karam was glad to go to the podium, make a good showing in the last race yet wished to be on the top.”

The podium finish for De Phillippi wasn’t quite enough to secure his third place position in the championship. Karam and De Phillipi end the season tied with 325 points, but Karam’s three victories this year as compared to De Phillippi’s two gives him the higher P3 placement in the final accounting.

Now the hunt for 2013 rides begin. Karam has his ride already situated as does Veach as the duo will move up to Firestone Indy Lights for Andretti Autosport. Jack Hawksworth has the full-season scholarship for a 2013 Firestone Indy Lights ride as result of his championship winning efforts this year. For many of the rest, including Gabby Chavez and Connor De Phillippi, it’s time to start hitting the phones and visiting board rooms.

Race Results

Pos No. Name Laps Total Tm Diff Gap Avg. Speed Best Tm Best Speed In Lap Sponsor
1 19 Gabby Chaves 38 50:59.411 113.575 1:19.887 114.462 9 Claro/ Marca Colombia / Tecpro
2 88 Sage Karam 38 51:04.794 5.383 5.383 113.375 1:19.744 114.667 11 Comfort Revolution
3 2 Connor De Phillippi 38 51:19.767 20.356 14.973 112.824 1:20.307 113.863 18 ModSpace Racing / One24
4 57 Diego Ferreira 38 51:28.716 29.305 8.949 112.497 1:20.421 113.702 6 Team Viso Venezuela
5 15 Bruno Palli 38 51:31.001 31.590 2.285 112.414 1:20.333 113.826 6 Team Viso Venezuela
6 81 Petri Suvanto 38 51:31.397 31.986 0.396 112.400 1:20.684 113.331 16 Mazda Road to Indy
7 83 Gustavo Menezes 38 51:33.064 33.653 1.667 112.339 1:20.653 113.375 15 Team Pelfrey / Safety Park / Oakley
8 77 Zach Veach 38 51:35.541 36.130 2.477 112.249 1:19.979 114.330 11 / Zakosi Data Backup
9 9 Juan Piedrahita 38 51:40.247 40.836 4.706 112.079 1:20.838 113.115 13 Petrosur / Colombia es pasion / GFK Motors / Lamd Link
10 66 Zack Meyer 38 51:47.481 48.070 7.234 111.818 1:20.811 113.153 12 Partners III
11 91 Ashley Freiberg 38 51:59.163 59.752 11.682 111.399 1:21.347 112.407 13
12 16 Scott Anderson 38 51:59.779 1:00.368 0.616 111.377 1:21.131 112.707 7 Laser Nail Centers / Neuropathy Testing Centers
13 97 Juan Camillo Acosta 38 52:01.725 1:02.314 1.946 111.308 1:21.358 112.392 12 STF Group / Studio F
14 82 Ryan Tveter 37 51:09.695 1 Lap 1 Lap 110.215 1:21.653 111.986 16 CIMIER Swiss Watches / Motorola Mobility LLC
15 53 Andres Mendez 37 51:17.269 1 Lap 7.574 109.944 1:21.279 112.501 17 /
16 21 Camilo Schmidt 35 48:38.936 3 Laps 2 Laps 109.643 1:21.183 112.634 6
17 23 Walt Bowlin 34 51:09.055 4 Laps 1 Lap 101.300 1:23.888 109.002 29 Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery

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