The Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire series is returning to the 14-Turn, 4.048-mile Road America road course for the first time since 2008 with Team Pelfrey’s Pato O’Ward on just a “little bit” of a hot streak.
The 17 year-old O’Ward has scored four straight poles and turned those poles into four consecutive trips to the top step of the podium. That has left O’Ward 55 points ahead of his Team Pelfrey teammate Aaron Telitz.
The Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Road America double-header is the home race for Telitz, who hails from Rice Lake, Wisconsin. “America’s National Park of Speed” is the site of the 24 year-old’s first ever race and also his first win. Telitz, who has a plethora of Wisconsin based sponsors adorning his Mazda powered No. 82 is entertaining an impressive 70 guests this weekend.
With Garett Grist making the move up to the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire series this weekend Will Owen (Juncos Racing), Nico Jamin (Cape Motorsports with /WTR) and Jake Parsons (Juncos Racing) are only separated by 16 points in the fight for third in the championship.
Unfortunately, 2015 USF2000 vice-champion Jake Eidson has suspended his 2016 program, but that could benefit his teammate Jamin, who has inherited his chassis and seems to be much happier with it.
What we are watching:
Do you want to be on pole?
With some great opportunities to pass on the 2.33 miles of straight aways, only one time in the previous seven Pro Mazda races at Road America has the pole winner ended up on the top step of the podium.
Keeping your composure.
This applies almost solely to championship leader Pato O’Ward. With his local knowledge, O’Ward’s teammate Telitz very well could be quicker than the Monterey, Mexico native this weekend, and it will be interesting to see if O’Ward will be able to temper his youthful enthusiasm. With such a large points lead, nothing can be gained by attempting an optimistic pass… except allowing Telitz back into the championship.
Previous Pro Mazda winners at Road America
|2008||Peter Dempsey||Andersen Racing|
|2007||Ron White||Team G.FRO|
|2006||Ron White||Ross Smith Racing|
|2005||James Hinchcliffe||AIM Autosport|
|2004||Michael McDowell||Star Race Cars|
|2003||Michael McDowell||Star Race Cars|
|2002||Guy Cosmo||Racers Edge Motorsports|
Pro Mazda Thursday and Friday Practice
The 10 Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire entries took part in a half-hour of practice on Thursday afternoon and a half our of practice first thing on Friday morning.
There was one red flag in each session, and both times it was for National Class entry Kevin Davis getting stuck in a gravel trap. Juncos Racing rookie Nicolas Dapero also pushed the limit in Turn 3 and took a trip through the gravel trap at the exit of Turn 3.
Wisonsin’s Aaron Telitz, who is currently second in the championship, turned the quickest lap in both sessions, but it’s really close at the top with the top six drivers all within 0.4 seconds of Teliiz’s top lap of 2:06.966.
Full combined time-sheet
|RANK||DRIVER||QUICK LAP||TOTAL LAPS|