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A rough start for the two championship contenders in the Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire championship was the story of the first practice session, as the Juncos Racing trio of Will Owen, Jake Parsons, and Nicolas Dapero held down the top three spots on the time-sheet.

For the first 20 minutes of the session, only 11 of the 12 entries were track, as championship leader Aaron Telitz was stuck on pit road with what appeared to be leak at the rear of the No. 82 Team Pelfrey machine.. The rookie did finally takes to the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course, and ended up turning only 4 laps which included only the seventh quickest lap.

Telitz’s Team Pelfrey teammate and closest competitor for the championship was able to turn 14 laps, but was only able to end up with the fifth quickest lap of the session.

After a one hour and forty five minute delay for fog, the “Soul Red Finale” action at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca got underway with a twenty-five minute IMSA Prototype Lites practice (more on that series at some point this weekend).

The 12 Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire entries were next up and took to the track for their 25 minutes session (shortened from 30 minutes) at 10:20am.

Early in the session it was championship contender Pato O’Ward who led the way, but he was quickly surpassed by Juncos Racing sophomore Owen. The 21 year-old continued to improve on his quick time as the session wound down, turning his quickest lap of 1:24.6770 on the 14th of 15 circuits.

It wasn’t a huge surprise that the three drivers from the Brownsburg, Indiana based squad were quick right out of the box. Owen led the way in practice at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca last year, and his teammate Garett Grist won both the Saturday and Sunday races.

The 12 drivers that took to the turned a total of 163 laps with Cape Motorsports with /WTR’s Nico Jamin and DE Force Racing’s Kory Enders both turning 16 laps, the most in the field.

First Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire practice session time-sheet

1 Will Owen 1:24.677 0.000
2 Jake Parsons 1:24.971 -0.2939
3 Nicolas Dapero 1:25.408 -0.7309
4 Nico Jamin 1:25.538 -0.8613
5 Pato O’Ward 1:25.568 -0.8914
6 TJ Fischer 1:25.837 -1.1595
7 Aaron Telitz 1:26.110 -1.4331
8 Joseph Burton-Harris 1:26.526 -1.8494
9 Bobby Eberle 1:28.001 -3.3244
10 Dan Swanbeck 1:28.948 -4.271
11 Kory Enders 1:29.198 -4.5215
12 Moises de la Vara 1:29.306 -4.6295

The Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire field is back on track at 12:45pm this afternoon for their second and final practice before qualifying on Saturday morning.