Starting from the pole for the third time in three years, Andretti Autosport driver Sage Karam completed his Iowa “hat trick” with a flag-to-flag run driving the No. 88 Andretti Autosport / Comfort Revolution Mazda in Round 6 of the 2012 Star Mazda Championship. The race was cut ten laps short by a combination of lightning and rain, but not before championship leader Jack Hawksworth - who qualified on the outside of the front row and was running in third hot on the heels of the leaders - spun and crashed in Turn 4 at the three-quarter mark, giving third place finisher Connor De Phillippi the advantage in the points lead.
After a lengthy cleanup, the survivors were greeted not by a green flag and a 10-lap shootout, but rather by a checkered flag that favored the survivors: Martin Scuncio, who qualified fourth driving the No. 22 Juncos Racing / Pullman Bus Mazda finished second, and De Phillippi, who started eighth with mechanical issues in qualifying.
De Phillippi's podium finish in the No. 2 Juncos Racing / ModSpace Racing / One24 Mazda, combined with Hawksworth's incident, moves him into the championship points lead headed into a trio of Canadian street races. This is Karam's first pole and first win of the season. Scuncio won Race 2 of Round 2 at Barber Motorsports Park and De Phillippi has wins at the St. Pete season opener and the Night Before the 500 at the Lucas Oil Raceway oval.
"The Star Mazda field is so close and competitive this season that you never know the results until the checkered flag waves," said Karam, who won from the pole at Iowa in USF200 in 2010 and in Star Mazda in 2011. "We had a really good car here and I don't think the race going the full distance instead of ending ten laps short would have made any difference. This win was really important because it gives us some momentum going into the Canadian races, where we were fast last year, and puts us in the hunt for the championship."
Rounding out the top-five were Finnish racer Petri Suvanto, driving the No. 81 Team Pelfrey / Mazda Road to Indy Mazda and Gabby Chaves in the No. 19 JDC Motorsports / COMCEL / Marca Colombia Mazda. Suvanto is the 2011 USF2000 champion and is racing in the Star Mazda Championship with scholarship funding from the Mazda Road to Indy.
Watch Star Mazda highlights from the Iowa Speedway: Saturday, July 28th at 12:00pm ET on Velocity by Discovery