Cullingworth’s Jack Hawksworth has raced clear of his rivals in the chase for the 2012 Star Mazda Championship crown with his second victory in swift succession since relocating to America.
Having triumphed on his maiden appearance in the St Petersburg curtain-raiser in Florida a week earlier, Hawksworth opened up a 29-point advantage after the second event at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.
The former Parkside School pupil qualified in pole position for the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, despite driving his Team Pelfrey-run single-seater in wet conditions for the first time.
With the weekend’s two races both taking place under sunnier skies two days later, Hawksworth stormed away in the opening encounter, leaving his pursuers trailing in a dominant display that saw him take the chequered flag almost seven seconds to the good.
“I had an awesome car underneath me, and I pushed really hard over the first few laps to open up a gap,” he said.
“I was able to manage the pace really easily, and after that, it was just a case of making sure I looked after my tyres and bringing it home.
“Everything came together perfectly, and we were the quickest on every single lap. It was a very different race to the one I had won at St. Petersburg, which had been repeatedly broken up by caution periods and safety cars – and to win by the margin that we did just underlines the great job the team did to give me such a good car.”
Fastest lap earned the former national and international karting star pole position again for race two, but a few minor set-up changes failed to pay off and caused him to concede ground in the initial stages, before grittily fighting his way back to clinch the runner-up spoils.
With almost a two-month hiatus now before the next event – the ‘Night Before the 500’ at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, just 24 hours prior to the legendary Indy 500 – Hawksworth is bullish about his prospects looking ahead.
“It’s really nice to go into the break with a decent points advantage,” he said.
“It’s a great feeling. I think anybody would be happy with the start to the season we’ve had; two wins, two second places, three pole positions and four fastest laps – it doesn’t get much better than that, and it’s a good confidence-builder as well.
“We’ve got a group test at Lucas Oil Raceway which will hopefully allow me to get up-to-speed. Oval racing will definitely be a challenge for me and another new experience, but from what I’ve heard, it’s a lot of fun.
“Team Pelfrey had a really good record on oval courses last year, too, so there’s no reason why we can’t go into them with as good a chance as anybody else.”