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Jack Hawksworth wins Star Mazda race

ST. PETERSBURG — During Saturday's Star Mazda season opener, Jack Hawksworth was more of a lingerer, staying close to the leader before trying to make his move at the right time.

It didn't result in a victory. (He took second). But his late burst did give him the fastest lap and an advantage for Sunday's race in the developmental series: the pole position.

Starting from the front, Hawks­worth did not relinquish the lead winning by 1.954 seconds over Juan Piedrahita.

Connor De Phillippi, who won Saturday's race, had a difficult time maneuvering his way to the front because of several major yellows that broke up the race and finished fifth.

Hawksworth, an Englishman who finished fourth in the Formula Renault UK Championship last year, won for the first time on a street course.

"I had a pretty easy time of it since all the carnage was behind me," Hawksworth said. "Though having a race broken up with that many major full-course yellows does make it harder to concentrate. And you have to be very careful about keeping the tires up to operating temperature for the restarts."

Petri Suvanto finished third.

Larry Pegram won the Expert Class, his second victory of the weekend.

World Challenge: Having already established himself as the driver to beat this season, Lawson Aschenbach won by 4.591 seconds over Johnny O'Connell.

This time, Aschenback did it without drawing the attention of racing officials.

Aschenbach's victory on Saturday was taken away because he passed multiple cars and took the lead during a local yellow flag between Turns 3 and 4 on the final lap. He got a 60-second penalty, dropping him to 11th in GT class and 26th in the standings and allowing O'Connell to win.

Two drivers, Brad Adams and Patrick Seguin, were docked 20 championship points and fined $1,000 for avoidable contact during Saturday's race.

Starting from the pole on Sunday, Aschenbach quickly put aside any frustrations and stayed in front the whole way.

Justin Bell won the GTS Class, and Michael Cooper won the Touring Car Class.

USF2000: Another race, another dominating performance for St. Petersburg-based Cape Motor­sports with Wayne Taylor Racing, which had the top two drivers in both races this weekend.

Sunday, Spencer Pigot won for the second time, beating teammate Matt Brabham. Brabham had the pole, but Pigot took the lead by going outside on Turn 1 of the opening lap.

Pigot had to battle to stay in front after a full-course caution. During the final five laps, Brabham tried to overtake Pigot by going inside on Turn 1. Brabham briefly held the lead once but slid wide, allowing Pigot to move ahead. Brabham lost part of his front wing but held on for second.

"It was another really close race between (Brabham) and I on the first lap of the race," Pigot said. "I was able to get by him at the start, which was really important because it is so difficult to pass here. We had a brief battle at the restart, but I was able to hold him off. And it was pretty smooth sailing from then on."

New Port Richey's RC Enerson, who also races for Cape Motor­sports, won the National Class for the second time this weekend.

Jack Hawksworth wins Star Mazda race 03/25/12 [Last modified: Sunday, March 25, 2012 6:59pm]
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