By pretty much any standards, Race 2 of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear double-header at this weekend's Toronto Indy was an ugly mess. Any race with three full-course yellows and a finish that has the pace car crossing the finish line first isn't the way you want it to go… even if you happen to be leading with a tire going down and the race ending several laps early under yellow probably kept you from getting passed in a last-lap shootout. More about that in a moment.
As he did Saturday in Race 1, Team Pelfrey driver Jack Hawksworth never put a wheel wrong from green to checker and collected his second win of the weekend, his fourth win from the PEAK Performance pole of the season. What drama there was in his drive became apparent when he pulled the #82 Team Pelfrey / TORGOEN Swiss Watches / EXA Networks Mazda into Victory Circle with a flat left-rear tire that could have changed everything if the race had gone another lap or two.
Crossing the finish line second was Juan Piedrahita, who raced in Star Mazda two years ago, decided he needed more experience and so moved back to USF2000 last year. This season, driving the #9 JDC Motorsports / Petrosur / GFK Motors Mazda, his form and pace have been transformed.
The comeback story of the race was Sage Karam in the #88 Andretti Autosport / Comfort Revolution Mazda. The green light for yesterday's race left him sitting on the grid, having moved a total of about 4 inches before his differential failed. Today, with grid positions for Race 2 being set by each car's quick lap in Race 1, he started at the very tail end of the field. Making the most of the standing start he gained four places immediately, and with each few laps of green followed by another full-course yellow, he made the most of each opportunity and when the smoke cleared and the survivors crossed the finish line, his was the third car across. As he stepped from the car, his first words were "That was the most fun I ever had in an open-wheel race."
"I'm obviously delighted with how our race weekend has gone, particularly since we left Iowa Speedway two weeks ago with my car smashed to bits and the Pelfrey team did an absolutely amazing job to give me back a car capable of winning back-to-back races on a really tough street circuit," said Hawksworth. "This kind of weekend has been in the works for a while, actually, given how professional the team is and how hard they work, and I'm happy to leave Toronto and head for the Edmonton Indy with the championship lead and a lot of positive momentum."