Pato O’Ward and Aaron Telitz finished on the top two steps of the podium for the third straight Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire race in 2016, with O’Ward taking advantage of a late yellow flag to make a daring move on Telitz in Turn 14 and 15.
Telitz was caught of guard by O’Ward’ daring move and thought they teammates would get together, but O’Ward made the pass stick.
O’Ward, who is confirmed in the No. 80 seat only through this weekend, is searching for funding to extend his championship chase to the next round at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May during the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
He told TSO that he really hopes that these wins will help him add more races to his program.
The 16 year-old Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire sophomore now has two victories, five podiums and also his scored the quickest lap of the race, the fourth time he has accomplished that.
Grist said it’s no secret that Team Pelfrey has the edge right now, but that Juncos Racing is working very hard to get caught up.
After qualifying on a damp to drying track yesterday, the ten drivers took the green flag in absolutely perfect conditions. Telitz was able to hold the lead through the first five corners, but it was O’Ward who was on the move. The Monterey, Mexico native, who started fourth was able get by Weiron Tan in the first complex of corners and out broke Garett Grist into Charlotte’s Web to take over the second spot.
On the run down to Turn 8, Cape Motorsports with /WTR teammates Nico Jamin and Jake Eidson got together. Both drivers were able to keep going and dropped to the 8th and 9th positions. Jamin recovered to finish sixth and Eidson added one more spot to finish eighth.
Juncos Racing’s rookie Jake Parsons who started just behind Jamin and Eidson sustained some front wing damage and had to pit to fix damage.
End of the first lap the running order was: Telitz, O’Ward, Grist, Tan, Will Owen, Nicolas Dapero, Jorge Cevallos, Jamin, Eidson and Parsons.
One quarter of the race through the 40 minute race, The Rice Lake Weighing Systems sponsored No. 82 of Telitz held a 0.4 second lead over O’Ward, who was keeping up the pressure on his Team Pelfrey teammate. Grist was a further 6 seconds back in third, with Tan and Owen making up the remainder of the top five.
The best battle on the track at this point was for the final spot on the podium with the threesome of Grist, Tan and Owen covered by only 1.1 seconds.
Telitz held a 1.1 second over O’Ward when the crossed flags were shown on Lap 15. Grist, Tan and Owen were still still nose to tail in the battle for the final spot of the podium.
On Lap 16, the first yellow flag of the race flew when Jake Parsons had an incident on the back side of the track. The Smart Mind Institute No. 00 buried into the barriers and the safety team had to take some time to make everything was put back in place and safe before setting the drivers loose again.
The field went back to green with just under six minutes to go in the race, and O’Ward made an unsuccessful attempt to pass Telitz under braking at Turn 5, but was able to get the pass done later in the lap.
This is the third victory at Barber Motorsports Park for Team Pelfrey. O’Ward joins a pair of Jacks who have also won in Birmingham. Verizon IndyCar Series regular Jack Hawksworth won a race in 2012, and current GP3 pilot Jack Aitken won a race during the 2015 edition of Cooper Tires Winterfest.
The final second and final Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire race of the weekend will be on Sunday at 11:15am (CT).
You can find our Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire preview and Thursday recap here —> http://www.tsoladder.com/2016/04/22/barber-motorsports-park-pro-mazda-presented-by-cooper-tire-preview-and-todays-results/
You can find the Practice 2 recap here —> http://www.tsoladder.com/2016/04/22/barber-motorsports-park-pro-mazda-practice-session-2-update-9-am/
You can find qualifying results here —> http://www.tsoladder.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1117&action=edit