Pato O’Ward, who has only been confirmed through this weekends event in Birmingham, Alabama, will go on the hunt for sponsors as the Pro Mazda points leader and also on a two race wining streak.
The 16 year-old led the 27 lap race flag to flag, to join USF2000’s Parker Thompson as a double winner on the 2.3-Mile, 17-Turn Barber Motorsports Park Road Course.
The Monterrey, Mexico native told TSO that at the moment the chance of him making it to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the next round of races in only 50/50 and he’s headed back home to get on the phone and try and find more sponsorship to continue.
Telitz, who now has one win and a triplet of seconds to start his rookie Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire season was unable to turn the tables on O’Ward, who made a late race pass on the Rice Lake Weighing Systems sponsored No. 80
The 24 year-old is currently second in points and was “OK” with today’s result, but was still disappointed in himself for letting O’Ward surprise him yesterday, saying that was his race.
After a disappointing start in St. Petersburg, Juncos Racing championship contender Garett Grist was able to come home third, his second straight trip to the interview room and 12th career Mazda Road To Indy podium.
Grist was happy with his speed in comparison to his teammates, but knows that he and engineer Dempsey have some work to do to make up the current deficit to the Team Pelfrey cars.
After a ten-minute delay due to an extended Verizon IndyCar Series race morning warm-up, the ten Mazda Renesis fired for the second Mazda North American Operations Presents the Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Alabama Cooper Tires race of the weekend.
By virtue of the quickest race lap in yesterday’s race, O’Ward and his Gap Guard sponsored No. 80 started on the pole beside Race #1 pole sitter and teammate Telitz.
O’Ward was able to get a jump on the field, but Telitz and Grist went cleanly side-by-side all the way from Turn 1 through Turn 7 and on the long run down to Turn 8, with the rookie Telitz coming out on front.
Behind those two, Jake Parsons and Weiron Tan, who started sixth and seventh had contact before the braking zone at Charlotte’s Web (Turn 5). The black and yellow No. 81 Team Pelfrey machine barrel-rolled before coming to rest before Turn 5.
Tan was able to get out of his broken machine under his own power. Parsons was also unable to continue and collected his second consecutive “DNF- Contact”
The track immediately went yellow and at the end of the first lap the running order was: O’Ward, Telitz, Grist, Jamin, Owen, Eidson, Dapero, Cevallos, Parsons and Tan.
The green flag came back out on the Lap 5. O’Ward again pulled a quick gap, but Grist tied a outside move on Telitz for second place in Turn 5, but was not able to get the pass completed.
Right behind that battle, Owen got a great drive out of Turn 5 and Turn 6 and make a daring pass of Soul Red Mazda backed No. 2 of reigning Pro Mazda champion Nico Jamin going into the difficult Museum complex (Turn 8 and Turn 9).
Halfway through the race and O’Ward held a 1.5 second lead over Telitz. The Team Pelfrey duo had checked out over the rest of field with Grist running a 5.2 seconds behind Telitz. Owen and Jamin made up the remainder of the top five.
The familiar black and yellow Team Pelfrey machines of O’Ward and Telitz ran
Further back in the field, Cape Motorsports with /WTR teammates and former USF2000 adversaries were lest then a second apart in the battle for fifth.
The final half of the race saw O’Ward’s lead fluctuate between 1.2 and 1.5 seconds over Telitz, as both drivers were turning laps within one-tenth of a second of each other.
Jamin was able to put some pressure on Owen for the fourth spot, finishing only … seconds behind the Juncos Racing sophomore. Jamin was also able to hold off
Telitz, who stood on the podium for the 21st time in his Mazda Road To Indy career, may not have won the race, but he did gain the one bonus point for the quickest race lap.
Full race results:
RANK DRIVER GAP
1 Pato O’Ward 27 LAPS
2 Aaron Telitz 2.1208
3 Garett Grist 14.1090
4 Will Owen 18.2980
5 Nico Jamin 19.6103
6 Jake Eidson 20.4063
7 Nicolas Dapero 33.5659
8 Jorge Cevallos 36.3603
9 Jake Parsons 25L
10 Weiron Tan 26L
The Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire championship heads north to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course in support of the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis in two short weeks.
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
You can find a race #1 recap here —> http://www.tsoladder.com/2016/04/23/barber-motorsports-park-pro-mazda-race-1-recap-and-results/