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Team Pelfrey Shows Speed but Lacks Luck at Iowa Speedway

Team Pelfrey Press Release

NEWTON, IOWA (June 24, 2012) - Team Pelfrey challenged for the victory in Saturday evening's sixth round of the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear at Iowa Speedway but ultimately had to settle for a best finish of fourth through the efforts of Petri Suvanto. After qualifying second and slipping to fifth in the early stages, championship leader Jack Hawksworth charged hard through the second half of the race which was scheduled for 100 laps of the seven-eighths mile oval. He passed Connor De Phillippi for third place on Lap 24 and then whittled down a deficit of more than seven seconds to race leader and polesitter Sage Karam and closest rival Martin Scuncio to just a few car lengths by Lap 63. Competing in his only second-ever oval track race, the Englishman piled the pressure on Karam and Scuncio, only for all his hard work to end abruptly on Lap 79 when a failure which remains under investigation caused him to crash heavily in Turn Four. Hawksworth, who was unhurt in the incident, had set the second fastest lap of the race, merely 0.062s behind race winner Karam, and was classified 15th when the checkered flag was displayed.

Teammates Suvanto and Gustavo Menezes also had made strong progress after being involved in an incident on the opening lap. Suvanto, who started third but was shuffled back to eighth at the start, moved into fifth on Lap 21 and inherited fourth following Hawksworth's accident. Menezes, meanwhile, after qualifying fifth, charged from 11th to fifth before encountering yet more misfortune when his car picked up some debris from Hawksworth's accident, puncturing the oil radiator and causing the engine to fail during the ensuing caution period.

"The team did an outstanding job this weekend," said Team Pelfrey Team Manager Geoff Fickling. "We qualified all three of our drivers in the top five and they were all very fast in the race. Unfortunately, as soon as the race started, our luck went south. It's unfortunate but that's the way racing goes sometimes. We'll regroup, continue to work hard and look forward to the next race."

The Star Mazda Championship now heads north of the border for the first of three consecutive events in Canada. Rounds Seven and Eight will take place on the streets surrounding Exhibition Place as part of the traditional Grand Prix of Toronto, in support of the IZOD IndyCar Series, on July 7/8.

Jack Hawksworth (#82 Team Pelfrey/TORGOEN Swiss Watches/EXA Networks), qualified second, finished 15th: "For some reason I didn't get the best of starts. I lost a lot of momentum and I ended up back in fifth. I passed one of the Juncos cars and then I worked on (Connor) De Phillippi for a lot of laps and was able to get past him and there was a big gap to the front two but we closed it in. I had a superb car. Obviously, knowing that (championship rival) Connor was in fourth, I wasn't going to risk anything because I wanted to extend the lead in the points, but I had such a great car that I was able to cruise up behind them and then, while we were right behind Scuncio, we had a mechanical failure. It was just one of those things, so you have to move on. I'm gutted for myself but also the team because we had a great car. It's very disappointing but I know the team is doing a great job and we should be good in the races to come, so hopefully we will get our reward."

Petri Suvanto (#81 Team Pelfrey/Mazda Road to Indy), qualified third, finished fourth: "I qualified third, so Gustavo was behind me, and I got a good start and I was right behind Sage. We started in second gear and I got on the rev limiter a little bit and Gustavo didn't have time to react to it, so his nose went underneath my car and I went sideways and the whole inside row kind of stopped and the outside row kept going, so I fell to about eighth. It was a bit unfortunate because we really had the speed this weekend. In the final practice I was second and in qualifying we were third even though the track was a bit wet when I did my lap and the two guys in front of me had a dry track. It was really a race I could have won or at least been second or third. Still, fourth is not bad. I'm now sixth in points and it's very close. If I win the next race I can be in third, so I'm confident for the upcoming races."

Gustavo Menezes (#83 Team Pelfrey/SafetyPark), qualified fifth, finished 13th: "We qualified fifth and I got an amazing jump on the start but unfortunately another driver checked up and I got stuck underneath him, which scrubbed off all my speed. I fell to 11th and drove my way back to fifth by the time the safety car came out. We were at most points of the race by far the fastest car on track and definitely had a shot to win or at least finish on the podium, but unfortunately with 20 laps to go I lost my engine, coming to a stop along the back straight."

About Team Pelfrey: Dale Pelfrey's race team, based in the St. Petersburg, Fla., area, is built upon the same principles he used 35 years ago when establishing his business career - hire the best, acquire the best and demand the best in order to achieve the most. After fielding cars in the IZOD IndyCar Series from 1998 until 2000, Team Pelfrey was reformed in 2011, winning on its Star Mazda debut and going on to earn the Team Championship as well as second and third in the drivers' title-chase with Connor De Phillippi and Nick Andries. Team Pelfrey is fielding three cars in the 2012 Star Mazda series in addition to expanding its driver development program within the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system by supporting Spencer Pigot in the USF2000 Championship.

Press Realease by Team Pelfrey

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