Aaron Telitz, from Rice Lake, Wisconsin, has had this race weekend circled on his calendar since it was first announced. The 24 year-old more than 70 guests at Road America and so far they have had a lot to cheer about. Telitz has led every practice session, took pole and won the first of two Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Road America.
The win was his second of the season and the fourth in his Mazda Road To Indy career.
Championship leader Pato O’Ward came to “America’s National Park of Speed” with a 55 point lead and after a disappointing fourth-place finish the 17 year-olds point lead fell to 42 points over his Team Pelfrey teammate Telitz.
Telitz was able to get to and through Turn 1 before his competitors, but behind him Nico Jamin, who started third made contact (and caught some air) with Jake Parsons who started second.
Jamin was forced to pit lane in order to repair damage to the front end of his car, but he was able to get back out on track, where the defending USF2000 champion was able to set the quickest lap of the race.
Parsons was able to continue with his rear wing damaged and askew. The Australian was able to hold onto a podium position for the first half of the race, but the damage eventually caught up with him and he struggled to keep his tires under him and he finished in 6th.
Juncos Racing rookie Dapero was able to take advantage of the Jamin and Parsons contact and finish on the Pro Mazda podium for the second straight race.
While it appeared that Telitz had a fairly easy time of it, winning by 3.3 seconds, he did tell TSO that his car was handful and very loose in the second half of the race. He mentioned that he had numerous moments in Turn 1 and in the Carousel.
Telitz’s early 4.5 second lead over Dapero had dwindled to under three seconds by Lap 14, when Dapero made a mistake at Turn 6 and lost 3 seconds to fall 6 seconds behind Telitz.
Dapero told TSO that he was just pushing a little too hard to catch Telitz and missed a shift and made a mistake. The 17 year-old explained that his improved performance comes down to increased confidence and getting more comfortable with the his Juncos Racing team.
Owen, who scored his seventh career Mazda Road To Indy podium, spent the mid to late portion of race trying to get by O’Ward. Owen was finally able to make the pass on around the outside of Turn 1 on Lap 16. Owen told TSO that this was one of the most fun races of his career.
This was only the race so far that O’Ward did not lead a lap, and his fourth place finish was the first time he had not finished among the top two.
Veteran Mazda Road To Indy Pro Mazda competitor Bobby Eberle (JDC Motorsports) led way in the three car National Class field and was followed by Sports Car Club of America veterans Bob Kaminsky and Kevin Davis.
Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Road America Race #1 results
|8||Bob Kaminsky||-1 LAPS|
|9||Kevin Davis||-1 LAPS|
|10||Nico Jamin||-1 LAPS|