By Steve Wittich
The Mazda Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires began the final Pro Mazda Presented By Cooper Tire race with a touching tribute to Jeff Green.
The crowd was asked to observe a moment of silence and the 14-car Pro Mazda race was paced by Peter Dempsey driving Green’s No. 60 Juncos Racing Pro Mazda car and Victor Franzoni in his Soul Red No. 23 Indy Lights machine. Dempsey coached Green extensively at Autobahn Country Club and was his engineer in Pro Mazda last year. Franzoni was Green’s Pro Mazda teammate and it’s due to his help that the Brazilian is still racing in America.
Malukas grabbed the lead headed into Turn 1 and held that lead through the first five turns.
With some quicker drivers being caught out by a red flag in qualifying and starting mid-pack, it was no surprise that action behind the leader was chaotic
Three-wide coming out of Turn 5 didn’t work when Thompson was pushed wide and made contact with Raul Guzman. Guzman’s No. 27 RP Motorsport machine was too damaged to continue and the full course caution came out.
At the end of the first lap, the running order under the yellow flag was: Malukas, VeeKay, Cunha, Sowery, Scott, Guttierez, Megennis, Thompson, Serravalle, Askew, Robb, Finelli and Guzman (out).
The race went back to green to begin Lap 3 and the top ten after completing the 4.014 mile, 14-turn circuit was: Malukas, VeeKay, Sowery, Cunha, Scott, Megennis, Gutierrez, Serravalle, Lastochkin and Askew.
Sowery, who started sixth, was able to get around VeeKay on Lap 4, setting the quickest lap of the race at the same time.
When lap six started Malukas had a 1.2 second lead over his teammate Sowery. That lead stayed the same for the middle stint of the race.
Thompson, who fell back to 12th from 8th on the restart, started to make steady progress through the field, moving up to fifth with five laps remaining.
With three laps to go, Malukas had a 1.4 second lead over Sowery. The BN Racing duo had pulled out over seven seconds to Rinus VeeKay, Harrison Scott and Parker Thompson who were battling for the final spot on the podium.
On Lap 12, VeeKay lost the final step of the podium, letting Scott go by at … and Thompson went around the outside at Canada Corner.
Things held station out front with Malukas leading Sowery to the twin checkered flags with Thompson pressuring Scott for the last spot on the podium. The Exclusive Autosport Canadian was not able to pass the Englishman, meaning the top-six in Saturday’s race matched the top six in Friday’s race.
Provisional Pro Mazda Presented By Cooper Tire Race #2 results
|9||82||Sting Ray Robb||15||27.6071|
|13||83||Charles Finelli||11||Off Course|