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January 02, 2009 News
EFCN Top-10: Skip Barber National
 

Daly will advance up the racing ladder to the Star Mazda Championship in 2009 thanks to the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder program (Photo: Pete Klinger)
Daly will advance up the racing ladder to the Star Mazda Championship in 2009 thanks to the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder program
(Photo: Pete Klinger)

1. Conor Daly
Series Champion
5 wins, 8 podiums, 3 pole positions

In what was his first full season of racing cars, Conor Daly certainly made an impression. The second-generation race pilot got off to a slow start, but quickly became one of the drivers to watch. In the second half of the season, Daly really made his mark, eventually ending the year as the series champion via a series-high five wins and eight podiums finishes. With the Skip Barber National title on his resume, Daly now joins the MAZDASPEED Mototorsports Driver Development Ladder program, earning a fully funded ride in the 2009 Star Mazda Championship. Having signed with the defending team champions Andersen Racing, fans can expect to once again see Daly standing on the top step of the podium during race weekends in 2009.













 

Josef Newgarden scored three wins in his return the Skip Barber National action in 2008 (Photo: Skip Barber)
Josef Newgarden scored three wins in his return the Skip Barber National action in 2008
(Photo: Skip Barber)

2. Josef Newgarden
2nd in Championship
3 wins, 4 podiums, 6 pole positions
5th in 2007 EFCN Skip Barber National Top-10

While 2008 was ultimately a very successful season for Josef Newgarden, the talented young driver will be slightly disappointed with the end result. As one of the top-returning drivers to the Skip Barber National series, much was expected of Newgarden and he delivered. Part of the championship fight until the final race, the teenager was often the quickest driver on track as evidenced by his series-high six pole positions. Unfortunately, when the final points tally was calculated, his three wins and four podium finishes left him just short of the series title. In 2009, Newgarden will make the transition to Europe, having won a Formula Ford race in England while impressing many as part of the Team USA Scholarship program. EFCN has learned that he will likely campaign in the British Formula Ford Championship.













 

Connor De Phillippi stood on the podium eight times as the 2008 karting scholarship winner (Photo: Skip Barber)
Connor De Phillippi stood on the podium eight times as the 2008 karting scholarship winner
(Photo: Skip Barber)

3. Connor De Phillippi
6th in Championship
8 podiums, 9 top-five, 3 fast laps

For Connor De Phillippi, his inaugural season of racing cars proved to be both educational and successful. As expected, the early stages of the season featured the talented young driver coming to grips with the car and the tracks. Showing why he was chosen as the Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shoot-out winner, it was not long before De Phillippi was among those challenging for top honors on a regular basis. With eight podium finishes now under his belt, De Phillippi is poised to be a title contender and regular race winner should he return for a second season in 2009.













 

Gabby Chaves won three of the five races he contested in 2008 (Photo: Skip Barber)
Gabby Chaves won three of the five races he contested in 2008
(Photo: Skip Barber)

4. Gabby Chaves
14th in Championship
3 wins, 3 podiums, 1 pole position

While Gabby Chaves did not contest the entire campaign in 2008, he certainly was a factor when in attendance. Remaining one of the youngest drivers in the field, the Colombian once again showcased tremendous skill behind the wheel, battling for the win in all five of the races he took part in. Despite visiting victory lane three times (Sebring and VIR twice), Chaves was not part of the title fight, having switched to a different series midway through the season. Given his success in entry-level of open-wheel racing, fans can expect to see Chaves back behind the wheel of race car in 2009, either in America or Europe.













 

Felipe Polehtto scored a win in his inaugural season of Skip Barber competition (Photo: Skip Barber)
Felipe Polehtto scored a win in his inaugural season of Skip Barber competition
(Photo: Skip Barber)

5. Felipe Polehtto
3rd in Championship
1 win, 3 podiums, 2 pole positions

Felipe Polehtto might prove to be the next Brazilian to make his mark in the North America junior open-wheel, given his success in 2008. Entering the Skip Barber National series in large part because a family friend was racing, the young driver quickly adapted to the car and the tracks. Part of the title chase the entire season, joining two others with a chance of taking top honors in the season-finale, Polehtto came up just short with one win (Road America) and three podium finishes. It would not be a surprise to see the Brazilian back in Skip Barber in 2009, but he may also move up the motorsports ladder.













 

Fabio Orsolon was one of six drivers to visit victory lane in 2008 (Photo: Skip Barber)
Fabio Orsolon was one of six drivers to visit victory lane in 2008
(Photo: Skip Barber)

6. Fabio Orsolon
4th in Championship
1 win, 6 podiums, 2 pole positions
10th in 2007 EFCN Skip Barber National Top-10

Fabio Orsolonís second season of Skip Barber National competition proved to be successful, yet unfulfilling. Having shown good speed and racecraft in his first year of action, many were expecting the Brazilian to be one of the drivers to watch in 2008. While Orsolon visited victory lane once (Sebring), he was regularly among the lead pack battling for top honors, as indicated by his six top-three finishes. In the end, he just did not have the consistency needed to be in the title fight during the stretch run. It is expected that Orsolon will move up the racing ladder in 2009, although no one is sure where.













 

Stevan McAleer stood on the podium twice in his second season of North American competition (Photo: Skip Barber)
Stevan McAleer stood on the podium twice in his second season of North American competition
(Photo: Skip Barber)

7. Stevan McAleer
5th in Championship
2 podiums, 9 top-five, 12 top-10
4th in 2007 EFCN Skip Barber National Top-10

Much like a few others on the top-10 list, 2008 proved be a good, yet unrewarding season of racing for Stevan McAleer. After learning the tracks and cars last year, winning once, the Scottish driver was poised to make his mark in the series in 2008. At times, it appeared that McAleer would accomplish this task, standing on the podium twice, however, he was unable to take the next step. As a result, McAleer never truly challenged for top honors in the series. That being said, many believe he has the skills to build on, with a move to FF1600 or F2000 positioned as the next logical step.













 

Hayden Duerson stood on the podium in the season-opener (Photo: Skip Barber)
Hayden Duerson stood on the podium in the season-opener
(Photo: Skip Barber)

8. Hayden Duerson
12th in Championship
1 podium, 3 top-five, 1 fast lap

Arriving via the karting ranks, Hayden Duerson enjoyed a fine limited campaign in 2008. The talented driver may have only contested four of the seven doubleheaders this past year, but he made his presence felt. Quickly coming to terms with car racing, Duerson stood on the podium in the season-opener, eventually cracking the top-five in all but one of the events he took part in. While his fans would like to see him back behind the wheel of a junior formula car in 2009, his future may lie in oval racing.













 

Sean Rayhall captured one win as a rookie this past season (Photo: Skip Barber)
Sean Rayhall captured one win as a rookie this past season
(Photo: Skip Barber)

9. Sean Rayhall
11th in Championship
1 win, 1 podium, 1 fast lap

Sean Rayhall will likely look back on 2008 as a productive learning year. Joining the series at the midway point, the teenager steadily improved each time he got behind the wheel. With a late season win (Thunderhill) and six top-10 finishes now on his resume, many will be expecting Rayhall not only to visit victory lane more than once in 2009, but also be part of the title fight throughout the season.













 

Nick Tonkin's first season of Skip Barber racing resulted in seven top-10 finishes (Photo: Nick Tonkin)
Nick Tonkin's first season of Skip Barber racing resulted in seven top-10 finishes
(Photo: Nick Tonkin)

10. Nick Tonkin
8th in Championship
7 top-10

Like many karters making their debut in racing, the 2008 season was a learning experience for Nick Tonkin. With the goal of getting better each time he got in the cockpit, the young Canadian showed good speed at times, but struggled to consistently run with the leaders. Should he return to the developmental series in 2009, it would not be a surprise to see Tonkin challenging for race wins.






Past EFCN Top-10 lists can be found HERE
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