Colombian racer Gabby Chaves scored his first victory in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear in Sunday's Race 2 at Mazda Raceway. Starting from the pole and leading every lap in the No. 19 JDC Motorsports / CLARO / Marca Colombia / Tecpro Mazda, he took the checkered 15 seconds ahead of yesterday's winner and 2012 series champion Jack Hawksworth in the No. 82 Team Pelfrey / TORGOEN Swiss Watches / EXA Networks Mazda. With his victory, Chaves became the sixth race winner of the season, including Hawksworth, Sage Karam, Connor De Phillippi, Martin Scuncio and Camilo Schmidt.
Finishing third and scoring his second podium of the weekend was Connor De Phillippi, driving the No. 2 Juncos Racing / ModSpace Racing / One24 Mazda; he won this race from the pole last year. Walt Bowlin won the Expert Series race-within-a-race for drivers 30 and older, finishing 16th overall in his No. 23 AIM Autosport / Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery Mazda.
"This win is a great victory for me personally, for the JDC Motorsports team and my sponsors, CLARO and Marca Colombia," said a jubilant Chaves, who also set the fastest race lap. "I had a very fast car yesterday even though I finished second to Jack, and today, as soon as the race started, I felt very much in control and was able to pull out a good gap and work on driving each lap as perfectly as possible. We have had a very consistent season, with nine podium finishes, but now that I know what a Star Mazda victory tastes like, I'll go to the final race at Petit Le Mans in a few weeks hungry for another one."
Of the other battles being fought this weekend, Hawksworth, a rookie in the series, clinched the Rookie of the Year title as well as the series championship, and his team, Team Pelfrey, clinched the team championship. And with six in-class victories, Walt Bowlin also won the Expert Series championship.
Suffering most from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune this weekend was Sage Karam and the Andretti Autosport team. A pair of off-course excursions in yesterday's Race 1 put an end to his hopes of snatching the championship away from Hawksworth, and today, after starting 4th and running with the leaders, had a suspension failure put an end to his day and dropped him to a 19th-place finish.
Making things even worse for the Andretti squad, teammate, Zach Veach went off in the closing laps, damaging his suspension and forcing him to retire just two laps from the end. He was credited with a 17th-place finish.