Gabby ChavesGabby Chaves remains part of the hotly contested battle for Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear supremacy, after overcoming multiple challenges over the weekend (September 1-2) on the streets of Baltimore. The highly-regarded young racer battled back from track induced car damage early in the doubleheader event to add yet another podium finish to his impressive 2012 resume in Round 13, and followed that up with a hard-fought eighth place in Round 14. With three races remaining on the series calendar, the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy racer is one four drivers still in contention for the championship crown.

Unlike several of his Star Mazda counterparts, Chaves entered the doubleheader in Baltimore with no previous race experience around the fast but treacherous street circuit located in the Inner Harbor section of town. The JDC MotorSports racer, however, was unfazed, given the success he has garnered to date on similar courses, including a recent runner-up results at the historic Trois-Rivieres street race. That being said, nothing could prepare Chaves and his talented crew for the initial track conditions, highlighted by a chaotic rail crossing on the front-straight. The bump/jump over the light rail tracks not only led to adverse handling, but promptly damaged Chaves racing steed, along with many others, ending his first practice run very prematurely. While INDYCAR and track officials attempted to rectify the problem via some repairs, the second practice session once again witnessed Chaves’ No. 19 CLARO/Marca Colombia/Tecpro Barriers/ JDC MotorSports Mazda being damaged due to the track conditions following only a few laps.

Thanks to some late night repairs, Chaves returned to action one day later greeted with yet more changes to track, with a chicane now placed across the train rails for race one of the doubleheader.

Chaves lined-up P3 for the traditional series standing start, with grid set by championship points due to the track problems. While Chaves got away cleanly when the lights went green, he immediately came under attack from the cars behind. Involved in a spirited dice for position from start to finish, the former Formula BMW Americas champion overcame not only a lack of track knowledge and experience, but also a damaged front wing via contact, holding third place all the way to the checkered flag. With his seventh podium finish in 13 races, the FIA Young Driver Excellence Academy racer regained second place in the title fight.

While Chaves had impressed in race one of the Maryland twin bill, the damaged front wing had reduced his overall speed, resulting in an unrepresentative sixth fastest race lap, and a row three starting place for Round 14. Unlike every previous road course and street circuit race, the second round in Baltimore featured a rolling start. Not getting an ideal get away, Chaves immediately fell to seventh place. The talented teenager though rapidly counter-attacked, not only regaining his lost position, but also challenging for a top-five place. Chaves took the position, however, was judged by race officials to have caused avoidable contact in the process, and thus was given a drive through penalty. Rejoining the race in 15th, Chaves put his head down and focused on going forward. The JDC racer further showcased his talents in the few remaining laps, advancing all the way back up to eighth by the checkered, despite a limited number of passing zones.

“That’s was definitely a crazy weekend,” stated Chaves. “The damage caused by the jump over railroad tracks really set us back. I entered race one with virtually no time on track and no changes to the car setup. Somehow I managed to hold on to third place in the race one, adding another podium to my resume. Race two was an up and down affair. I didn’t get a great start I wanted, but I was working my way back to the leaders when I got the penalty. After that, I just focused on getting as many positions back as possible and earning valuable points.”

In addition to the on-track action, Chaves had a busy and productive weekend outside of the cockpit in Baltimore. The 19 year-old as a member of the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy has been actively involved in programs promoting safety among teenage drivers, particularly with regards to distracted driving. Chaves as a result was recognized by Mazda North American Operations and the National Highway Traffic Administration for his efforts.

Chaves has little time to reflect on the two races in Baltimore, as he immediately returns to the cockpit of his JDC MotorSports racing steed this coming weekend (September 8-9), with Rounds 15 and 16 of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The CLARO/Marca Colombia/Tecpro Barriers-backed driver travels to northern California currently third in the championship standings, and one of four racers still in contention for the series title.

Those interested in supporting Chaves’ charge towards a career in the upper echelon of motorsports are encouraged to contact Chaves and/or his management team.

Additional information on Gabby Chaves can be obtained from his website @ www.GabbyChaves.com

For direct contact, please email gabbyracing@yahoo.com