Chaves charges to Star Mazda Championship Podium on streets of Toronto

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JDC MotorSports racer showcased racecraft during street race doubleheader with third place finish in Round Seven and fourth place result in Round Eight.

MIAMI, FLA (July 11, 2012) – Junior formula car standout Gabby Chaves enjoyed a successful return to street racing action in the Star Mazda Championship over the weekend (July 7-8), adding another podium result to his ever-increasing racing resume. Driving for JDC MotorSports, the highly-regarded teenager made the most of every opportunity around the Canadian National Exhibition course in Toronto, ultimately earning a third place finish in Round Seven and a fourth place result in Round Eight. With the two strong outings, Chaves continues the six-race Canadian swing on the series schedule third in the title fight.

For Chaves, the return to road course and street circuit racing - after two oval rounds - was the ideal opportunity to re-assert himself as a driver worth watching in the Mazda Road to Indy backed Star Mazda Championship. While the fast and bumpy the 2.84-km track around the CNE grounds provides plenty of challenges via a mix of asphalt and concrete surfaces, the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy racer wasted little time going after a fast lap and working on finding the right setup with his JDC crew. Chaves, despite never quite finding the overall speed desired in the sweltering hot conditions, still had hope to improve the setup of the car to challenge for top honors come qualifying, ending the opening day's practice runs P5 on the time charts.

The lone qualifying run for the Star Mazda cars proved to be a frustrating affair for Chaves. The plan was to run two setups during the timed session in order to maximize the potential for a front-row starting position. Unfortunately, a significant crash - which halted the session - followed by heavy rain and lightning when the action resumed meant he never got the opportunity to post his ideal fast lap. The end result was a somewhat disappointing seventh place grid position.

When Chaves returned to his No. 19 machine that features support from Claro, Marca Colombia, Tecpro, and OMP, he was confident he could work his way forward and challenge the leaders in the first race of the weekend. Gabby, despite not feeling the optimum balance he hoped for, promptly displayed his skills behind the wheel, executing some bold overtaking moves. Pushing all the way to the checkered flag, Chaves ultimately crossed the line in third via an impressive drive.

With each racer's fastest lap from race one setting the grid for race two in downtown Toronto, Gabby's No. 19 car was only fast enough to once again line-up in seventh for race two despite his third place finish. Given his performance in the opening affair, it was no surprise that both Chaves and the JDC crew believed another charge to the front was in the cards when the cars launched from the traditional start. The 19 year-old did not disappoint, taking full advantage of every opportunity and making the most of other racer's mistakes. While Chaves was not quite able to reach the podium for a second consecutive day, he did impress onlookers with a fourth place result.

"Overall it was a successful weekend," stated Chaves. "While we never found the optimal setup for the mix of asphalt and concrete, we managed to have two good races and earn valuable points in the pursuit of a championship title. Both the JDC MotorSports crew and I will keep working hard to improve, and we are excited about building on this success in the upcoming races in Canada."

Thanks to his third podium finish of 2012, and seventh top-five result, Chaves now lies third in the highly-competitive development race series, and poised to challenge for top honors throughout the second half of the Star Mazda Championship.

Chaves continues the Canadian swing of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear schedule in two weeks time (July 21-22), with Rounds Nine and Ten at the Edmonton City Centre Airport in Alberta.