Good morning from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca where it’s once again foggy and we are on a delay for the second day in a row.
~ Just Monterey things ~ #SoulRedFinale #MRTI pic.twitter.com/m3xJAo0crB
— Team Pelfrey (@TeamPelfrey) September 10, 2016
The first track activity for the Mazda Road To Indy presented by Cooper Tire, Pro Mazda qualifying, was scheduled to get the green flag at 8:35am. Pro Mazda is followed by Indy Lights qualifying at 9:20am, and USF2000 qualifying at 10:05am.
Races for Pro Mazda, Indy Lights and USF2000 are scheduled for 1:05pm, 3pm and 4:05pm respectively.
Here are some notebook type items that we’ve been working on…
Each USF2000 entry receives three brand new sets of Cooper Tire slicks for the two practice sessions, qualifying session and the two 30 minute races.
Each Pro Mazda entry receives four brand new sets of Cooper Tire slicks for the two practice sessions, qualifying session, two 30 minute races and one 40 minute race.
Each Indy Lights entry receives four brand new sets of Cooper Tire slicks for the two practice sessions, qualifying session and one 40 minute race and one 50 minute race.
We had a chance to catch-up with Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire race-director Tony Cotman to ask him about the penalty handed down to Zach Veach and Belardi Auto Racing after the Watkins Glen International race. The driver and team were both penalized 10 points for a floor height issue. Cotman told TSO that the transgression was fairly minor and that it definitely wasn’t done on purpose. Cotman explained it was the similar to the problem that saw Zachary Claman de Melo lose his second place qualifying effort at Barber Motorsports Park in April.
TSO had a chance to catch-up with Mazda Road To Indy presented by Cooper Tire veteran Peter Dempsey. The Pro Mazda and Indy Lights race winner has been leading the Juncos Racing Pro Mazda technical team for a few years, and he expects to be back with the Ricardo Juncos led team again next year. The Irishman has been spending quite a bit of time coaching and driving race cars at Autobahn County Club just outside of Chicago, Illinois, and is actively pursuing a sports car ride for next season. Dempsey and his wife are also expecting their first child in November.
Between the USF2000, Pro Mazda, Indy Lights, MX-5 Cup, and IMSA Prototype Lites there are 82 Mazda powered race cars on-track at Mazda Raceway this weekend. Representing 19 different countries, the drivers took the opportunity yesterday afternoon to take a Mazda class photo at the manufacturers spiritual home.
The following drivers are celebrating Mazda Road To Indy presented by Cooper Tire race anniversaries this weekend:
Zach Veach – 85th start on Sunday
Dalton Kellett – 75th start on Saturday
Neil Alberico – 75th start on Saturday
Kyle Kaiser – 65th start on Saturday
Garett Grist – 60th start on Sunday
If Juan Piedrahita had not called it quits on his season, he would have made his 100th career MRTI start on Sunday