Starting from the pole for the fourth time this season, Conor Daly was reasonably expecting to break the all-time Star Mazda Championship win record of four in a row. Until the green light signaling the traditional Star Mazda standing start, that is. What the officials saw on TV was both Daly and Vautier, starting side-by-side on the front row, accelerating before the green… which resulted in a drive-through penalty for both drivers that dropped them to the back of the field.
Then after a multi-car melee between several of the top runners, compounded by yet another incident as the re-formed field approached the starter's stand for a resumption of racing. Throughout this long full-course yellow, third-season Brazilian racer Caio Lara, driving the No. 19 JDC Motorsports / MLD / ATW Mazda, was in the lead… a lead he lost when second-place finisher Anders Krohn passed him briefly – and was re-passed in return on the same lap. Meanwhile, Daly carved his way back up through the field to salvage a podium finish.
"I'm so happy to finally score my first win in Star Mazda and all my thanks to the JDC Motorsports team for giving me a car capable of winning the race," said Lara, who has scored top-5 finishes in both races at NJMP last season and, by virtue of his victory today, has move up to 5th in the championship with 193 points. "The car was the best is has been all season, and now with the confidence of this win, we must work hard to qualify well tomorrow and try to repeat this outcome."
Lara has been a consistently fast competitor this year; he has already scored one podium – and finished in the top-10 at every race. Daly remains in the lead with 254 points while Krohn remains second with 211.
Vautier, who started from the front row alongside Daly and suffered the same drive-through penalty- also slashed his way back up through the field in his Andersen Racing / Moulin TP / Cecibon / Circuit du Laquais Mazda to finish sixth. In between, MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder driver Connor De Phillippi moved up from seventh on the starting grid to finish fourth, while young Quebec racer Mikael Grenier placed fifth.