Australian talent takes over championship point lead with crucial weekend performance
LEXINGTON, OHIO (July 29, 2017) – Cape Motorsports has scored countless championships in their long history of American open wheel competition and they’re once again poised to add to their pedigree. Reigning USF2000 champion and current Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires point leader Anthony Martin turned in a virtually perfect weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to position himself to win back-to-back Mazda Road to Indy titles, scoring two victories in the tripleheader. Martin won the first and third races of the Pro Mazda weekend, held on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn natural terrain road course, and would have made it three-for-three if not for an unfortunate incident with a lapped car.
“The team, as a whole, performed at the top of their game from qualifying onward,” offered Dominic and Nicholas Cape, Team Owners. “Anthony did a wonderful job controlling Victor both of the first two races, the outcome of Race 2 was a bitter pill to swallow. Then we really got to see what Anthony is made of, to come back and truly let it rip in the final race was awesome to see. We’re all looking forward to the oval at Gateway and resuming the championship fight.”
Martin topped the Pro Mazda time chart following Thursday afternoon practice, but was edged out for the Race 1 pole position by Carlos Cunha in challenging Friday morning conditions. The opening race of the three-event weekend as held that afternoon, and Martin was quickly to the front of the field as he got to the inside of Cunha during the first run down the long Mid-Ohio backstraight. Martin’s primary title challenger Victor Franzoni chased Anthony for the next 21 laps, but he would never see open track out front. Martin handled the pressure and drove a flawless race to win by 0.3874 seconds at the line, taking the point lead in the process.
The second race of the weekend was held on Saturday afternoon, and Martin picked up his qualifying pace early in the day to earn the pole that morning. The grid for Race 3 was set by the second fastest lap in that session as well, which earned Martin his second pole of the weekend. The second race developed much like the first, with Franzoni chasing Martin for the entire duration. This time, lapped traffic would play a role in the outcome as Martin eventually caught Franzoni’s Juncos Racing teammate Jeff Green heading into the Carousel corner with just two laps to go. As Martin attempted an outside pass, Green moved left and while contact was avoided, Franzoni was able to slip inside to take the lead and the win. Officials ruled that the incident was not blatant, which left Martin with a second-place finish. As a result, he dropped back behind Franzoni in the title chase.
In the final race of the weekend, Martin took all his frustration from Saturday and channeled it into a truly dominant performance. The Aussie turned the fast lap of the race on the second last circuit and scored a massive 13.995-second win to re-take the point lead heading to the oval at Gateway. It was his fifth win of the year and his fifth win in his last six starts at Mid-Ohio, a stat that includes his sweep of the USF2000 tripleheader at the track in 2016. With the win, Martin assumes a four-point advantage with three races remaining on the schedule.
The final trio of events will begin at Gateway Motorsports Park on August 25-26, when the Pro Mazda Championship drivers contest their only oval event of the year. Martin and the team will attend the official series test on the 1.25-mile oval on August 10. The season finale will be a doubleheader at Watkins Glen International on September 1-3.
DRIVER PERFORMANCE / QUOTE
PRO MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY COOPER TIRES
EVENT #4 – JULY 28-30, 2017
MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE – LEXINGTON, OH
ANTHONY MARTIN – PRO MAZDA #8
Qualifying 1: 2nd – 1:19.386
Qualifying 2: 1st – 1:19.543
Race 1: Start – 2nd / Finish – 1st
Race 2: Start – 1st / Finish – 2nd
Race 3: Start – 1st / Finish – 1st
Driver Quote: “Overall, it was a great weekend for us at Cape Motorsports. We came into the weekend seven points behind in the championship and we came out four points in front. We won two races out of the three and gained crucial points midway through the season. This gives us confidence going forward in the season.”