Californian Connor De Phillippi repeated his 2011 win at Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Raceway with a dominant flag-to-flag win at the Night Before the 500 in his No. 2 Juncos Racing / ModSpace Racing / One24 Mazda, the fifth round of the 2012 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.
From pole, De Phillippi took off and, despite losing his lead margin several times on yellow flag periods, regained the momentum after the restarts. Both De Phillippi and runner-up Sage Karam reckoned De Phillippi's car had roughly a tenth to tenth-and-a-half advantage per lap, a strong improvement over where he was for the series' open test earlier in the month.
"Our plan was to build a lead over four or five laps and then control the pace of the race, which, even with two short yellows and two re-starts, is what we did," De Phillippi said. "This is probably my favorite victory so far because when we came here for the series test on May 5, we were about three-tenths off the pace. So we went back to the shop and went to work and figured it out as a team, and this is absolutely a victory not just for me but for the entire Juncos Racing organization.
The Andretti Autosport contingent had a strong night behind him, Karam and Zach Veach each registering a podium finish in second and third.
“I went for it at the end,” Karam said. “The car didn't fall off at all, it was strong throughout the runs, we were just a little bit off Connor. It's a great result for the team.”
Martin Scuncio and Petri Suvanto rounded out the top five, with USF2000 champion Suvanto best of the three-car Team Pelfrey contingent. Suvanto's teammates Gustavo Menezes and Jack Hawksworth came home sixth and seventh, and the result marks Hawksworth's worst of his rookie season. He still leads the championship by 12 points over De Phillippi.