A PAIR OF HAWKS - ENGLISH ROOKIE JACK HAWKSWORTH WINS SECOND STAR MAZDA RACE IN A ROW WITH A FLAG-TO-FLAG RUN IN RACE 1 AT BARBER
Englishman Jack Hawksworth, fresh off a win from the pole in Race 2 of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear season opener at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg last weekend, has won his second race in a row - from the pole - in today's Star Mazda Race 1. Driving his #82 Team Pelfrey / TORGOEN Swiss Watches / EXA Networks Mazda, Hawksworth (black suit) crossed the finish line 6.9 second ahead of 2nd-place finisher Sage Karam (orange / white) in the #88 Andretti Autosport / Comfort Revolution Mazda. This was his first podium of the season after winning two races last year but getting off to a rocky start with mechanical problems in Round 1 at St. Pete.
Rounding out the top-3 was European F3 and GP3 racer Gabby Chaves (far right), who also scored a podium finish in St. Pete, driving the #19 JDC Motorsports / OMP Mazda. The top-finishing Expert Series driver, as he was in St. Pete, was top AMA SuperBike racer Larry Pegram (far left) who periodically trades 2-wheels for 4 when he races his #72 AIM Autosport Foremost Insurance / Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery Mazda.
"The team and I are just over the moon about our results so far, but you can't reasonably after expect this kind of thing to continue, so you just have to make the best of it and keep working as hard as you can," says Hawksworth. "The minute you start taking the results for granted, they'll stop happening. Fortunately Team Pelfrey is a very professional organization, and even though the level of competition in this series is actually quite high, I'm confident that I have a winning car every time I roll out on track."
A second 30-minute race, with Hawksworth again having claimed the PEAK Performance Pole Award, will run immediately after the conclusion of the Grand Prix of Alabama at 4pm CT. The race was originally scheduled for Friday, but major storms in the area forced a postponement of all racing activities that afternoon.
Rounding out the top-5 are Martin Scuncio, who finished 4th in the #22 Juncos Racing / Pullman Bus Mazda after starting on the outside of the front row but getting freight-trained going into Turn 1 by Karam and Chaves. Connor De Phillippi, winner from the pole in Round 1 at St. Petersburg last weekend in the #2 Juncos Racing / ModSpace Racing / One24 Mazda,, qualified 4th and finished 5th on this track where it is notoriously difficult to pass. The lone female driver in the series, Ashley Freiberg, finished just outside the top-10, crossing the line 11th in her #91 JDC Motorsports / TrueCar Mazda.
The race was short on drama, a lazy spin and continue on Lap 6 by Zach Veach in the #77 Andretti Autosport / Zakoski Data Backup Mazda, a mistake that dropped him from 7th to 15th, and about 15-ft of off-roading by De Phillippi which produced no harm. There were, however, battles aplenty in mid-field with Petri Suvanto (#81 Team Pelfrey / Mazda Road to Indy Mazda), Gustavo Menezes (#83 Team Pelfrey / TrueCar.com Mazda) and Bruno Palli (#15 Juncos Racing / Team Viso Venezuela)slugging it out for 6th, 7th and 8th. Toward the end of the 30-minute race Chaves was within striking distance of Karam for 2nd, but couldn't make the pass stick, in part because he was being attacked from behind by Scuncio. When all was said and done, however, the race was 'clean and green' with only one brief local yellow. Figuring in the results of two weekends and three races so far, Hawksworth has the championship points lead with 88, followed by Connor De Phillippi (64), Gabby Chaves 63), Juan Piedrahita (57) and Petri Suvanto (54). Full results can be found here.
With grid positions for Race 2 set by each car's quick time in Race 1, the front row for Race 2 will be Hawksworth on the pole with Scuncio alongside. Row 2 will be Petri Suvanto and Connor De Phillippi, with Row 3 featuring Sage Karam and Gabby Chaves. Row 4 matches Zack Meyer and Gustavo Menezes, while Row 5 has Stefan Rzadzinski and Juan Piedrahita lining up side-by-side.
Star Mazda races will be broadcast on Velocity TV and ESPN International; for air dates and times, go to StarMazda.com and click the Star Mazda TV icon.