The story of Aaron Telitz’s Pro Mazda season is currently what shows up when you look up perseverance in the dictionary.
Telitz, from Birchwood, Wisconsin, headed to his home race at Road America with a 55 point deficit to his teammate Pato O’Ward, who had won six of the first seven races of the season.
Telitz won both races at Road America, and finished ahead of O’Ward in eight of the last nine races, out scoring the young Mexican 255 points to 172 points.
The 12 car field took to the track for their final race of the weekend and when they were on their warm-up lap, the DE FORCE Racing No. 12 of Moises de la Vara came to a stop after spinning at the exit of Turn 3. The Holmatro Safety Team pulled him behind the wall, but the race still began under yellow.
The 11 remaining Mazda Renesis rotary powered cars paired up in the Rainey Curves and got the green flag to begin the third lap.
The running order at the end of the first lap was: Telitz, O’Ward, Dapero, Owen, Jamin, Parsons, Fisher, Burton-Harris, Enders, Swanbeck, Eberle, and de la Vara.
Telitz’s lead as the drivers began the fourth lap of the race was a slim 0.52 seconds over teammate O’Ward. Dapero, who was looking for his second win and third podium of the weekend slotted into third ahead of his Juncos Racing teammate Owen. Rounding out the top five was the Soul Red Cape Motorsports with /WTR No. 5 of Nico Jamin.
On lap 6, Bobby Eberle went for an off track excursion, but he was able to keep the JDC Motorsports No. 13 pointed in the right direction. On the very next lap Eberle lost control again, this time in Turn 11.
With 25% of the 40 minutes completed, Telitz was able to pull out to a 1.2 second lead over O’Ward, who held a 1.4 second lead over Dapero. Dapero was being pressured closely by Owen.
At the half-way point of the 40 minute third race of the weekend, Telitz held a just over a second-and-a-half lead over O’Ward. Dapero was a further 1.7 seconds back and doing a good job of defending the final podium position over Will Owen, his more experienced Juncos Racing teammate.
Further back in the field, Parsons was hassling Jamin for fifth.
With 75% of the 40 minute race complete, Telitz’s lead had bulged to … over O’Ward. Instead of looking forward like he needed to, O’Ward was forced to look rear-ward in his mirrors as Dapero was pressuring him for second.
The battle between O’Ward and Dapero allowed Owen to enter the mix as the three crossed the line on the 21st lap covered by only half-of-a-second. Owen used the tow of both cars to get by Dapero in Turn 2. Owen continued moving forward passing O’Ward in Rainey corner. O’Ward continued his backwards slide, losing the final spot on the podium in Turn 11 on the same lap.
Telitz’s lead with five minutes remaining was 4.7 seconds over a charging Will Owen. Owen was clearly the fastest car on track, turning laps a second quicker than Telitz. Unfortunately for the 21 year-old Owen he ran out of time to catch Telitz and had to settle for another second place finish, finishing only one second behind the 2016 Pro Mazda champion
During the final laps, O’Ward continued to drop like a rock, losing fourth place to Jamin, fifth place to Parsons, and ending up in sixth.
Kory Enders became the third different driver in the weekend’s three races to come home first in the National Class.
Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Monterey Presented by Allied Building Products race #3 results:
|1||Aaron Telitz||27 laps|
|10||Dan Swanbeck||-1 lap|
|11||Bobby Eberle||-1 lap|
|12||Moises de la Vara||-27 laps|