A wild, unpredictable and at times bizarre opening round of Star Mazda's doubleheader in Edmonton ended with a surprise winner. Linares Racing's Camilo Schmidt, a 16-year-old rookie who hadn't finished better than ninth this year, weaved his way through the chaos to capture the victory. Polesitter Sage Karam (Andretti Autosport) was second with JDC Motorsports rookie Gabby Chaves in third.
Schmidt, who started 15th, had climbed to fifth by lap 5 in what became a 15-lap race, slowed and interrupted by rain and yellow flags.
His engineer, Stephen Dreizler, made the call to keep Schmidt on slick Goodyear tires throughout the race. Although Schmidt spun and kept going twice during the early stages of his dramatic charge, he not only persevered throughout the rain that steadily increased throughout the event. He advanced from fourth to first in a wild restart on lap 13 and then sealed up the victory when the race ended under caution two laps later.
Prior to Saturday, Schmidt hadn't even led a single lap in Star Mazda competition before, but he led the last two laps in Saturday's wet and wild 30-minute, 15-lap race.
“I want to thank the entire Linares Racing team, and especially my engineer, Stephen Dreizler, who made that call on the radio,” Schmidt said afterwards, although he barely speaks English. “It was the craziest race I was ever in, but my car was great!”
Behind the podium finishers, Juncos Racing's pair of Martin Scuncio and Connor De Phillippi completed the top five, De Phillippi somehow doing so despite a car four seconds off the pace, an unscheduled pit stop for a new nose, and a second visit for further adjustments.
Points leader Jack Hawksworth finished seventh in a case of limiting the damage to his championship chances. Team Pelfrey teammate Gustavo Menezes got into him at one stage, sending the two into a synchronized spin, and while both recovered, Menezes later crashed out.
Hawksworth still leads the points by 37 over De Phillippi, with Chaves only three points further back. The series races again Sunday morning.