The Pato O’Ward show rolled on in Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires qualifying, with the No. 80 Gap Guard/Topo Chico entry taking the pole position for tonight’s Cooper Tires Freedom 90 at the 0.686-mile Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Ind.
O’Ward, 17, headed into the weekend with a pre-race engine change but still not slowing down on the heels of his five wins in six races to open the campaign.
He’ll look for his first oval win tonight after wins at St. Petersburg (street course), Barber Motorsports Park (road course) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course (infield road course).
Compared to the usual Team Pelfrey domination in Pro Mazda, it’s actually two Juncos Racing cars behind him. Nicolas Dapero has a career-best second place on the grid, ahead of Garett Grist.
Nico Jamin slotted into fourth in the first of the two Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing cars ahead of Jake Parsons (Juncos), Aaron Telitz (Pelfrey), Will Owen (Juncos) and Jake Eidson.
The 90-lap race is scheduled to start at 7:10 p.m. ET. Qualifying speeds are below.
Qualifying for tonight’s Mazda Freedom 75 for the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda is in the books from Lucas Oil Raceway, with Parker Thompson scoring the pole in his No. 2 Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing entry.
The young Canadian lapped the 0.686-mile oval at a two-lap average speed of 109.599 mph, which slotted him ahead of teammate Anthony Martin in the No. 8 car.
The Cape team has not won at Lucas Oil Raceway since 2013 when Neil Alberico scored the victory. ArmsUp Motorsports won in 2014 with Aaron Telitz, while Pabst Racing’s Jake Eidson beat the Cape twins of Nico Jamin and Telitz last year.
Jordan Lloyd rolls off third for Pabst ahead of Victor Franzoni of ArmsUp. Robert Megennis, in the lone standing Team Pelfrey entry, completes the top five. Seems hard to believe, but tonight marks Lloyd’s first oval start.
The already reduced field of 14 cars dropped to one with Nikita Lastochkin, the third Cape car, pulling out of the weekend after testing and had another car had an accident in qualifying. Tazio Ottis spun through Turn 2 and hit the outside retaining wall. The JDC Motorsports crew will now need to work to repair the No. 72 car before the race.
The 75-lap race goes green at 6:10 p.m. Meanwhile, qualifying results are below.