By Steve Wittich
A complete drive by David Malukas, where the 16-year-old led all 15 laps from the pole, resulted in the first win for him and his BN Racing team.
“I felt ecstatic,” said the Chicago, Ill. native to Rob Howden on the podium. “Last year we also qualified on pole. We’ve had second, third, last… the only thing we didn’t have was a win. Finally, finally, we’ve done it.”
Completing the perfect day for the Bryn Nuttall led squad was newcomer Toby Sowery, who finished 1.4 seconds behind his teammate and also set the quickest lap of the race.
Rounding out the podium in his first visit to the iconic 4.014-mile, 14-turn natural terrain road course was RP Motorsport’s, Harrison Scott.
The green flag flew as the 15 car field climbed the hill at the beginning of the Road America straight. Pole-sitter Malukas got a great start, while outside front row starter Thompson got a poor start.
At the end of the first lap, the running order was David Malukas, Toby Sowery, Harrison Scott, Rinus VeeKay, Carlos Cunha, Parker Thompson, Robert Megennis, Sting Ray Robb, Raul Guzman, Antonio Serravalle, Oliver Askew, Nikia Lastochkin, Andres Gutierrez, and Charles Finelli.
The biggest loser on the first lap was Thompson, who fell to sixth place.
At just past the half-way point of the 15 lap race, Malukas had a 1.8 second lead over his new teammate Toby Sowery, and the British F3 veteran was chipping away at Malukas’ lead.
The pair of BN Racing drivers had a five second lead over Scott, VeeKay, Thompson, and Cunha who were in touch with each other.
On Lap 9, Thompson was able to make the pass of Cunha on the outside of the Brazilain going into Turn 5.
At the beginning of lap 11, Sowrey had closed to gap to 1.4 seconds, while a little further back Thompson was putting the pressure on VeeKay for the fourth spot.
The Canadian was able to get side-by-side with the Dutchman on the run down to Canada Corner but was forced into a rough ride over the gator curbs and grass at the exit of the right-hand corner.
Thompson fell back for the next few laps, but at the beginning of the second last lap took another run at VeeKay. The metallic red and black No. 90 from the Exclusive Autosport stable made inside attempts into Turn 1 and Turn 3, but VeeKay’s familiar Juncos Racing liveried No. 2 held station.
The two drivers sped down the Moraine Sweep side-by-side before Thompson fell into line, causing him to get bogged down and losing the fifth spot to Cunha in Turn 6.
Cunha dropped a wheel at the exit of The Carrousel allowing Thompson to get back around him at Canada Corner.
Thompson was able to catch VeeKay on the final lap, passing his championship rival in Canada Corner on the last lap to move up one more spot.
Today’s race was the sixth straight Pro Mazda race at Road America that the pole-sitter has crossed the finish line first.
These were the fourth career Mazda Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires podiums for Malukas and Scott.
Unofficial results of Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Road America Presented by Cooper Tires Race #1
The Pro Mazda Presented By Cooper Tire drivers will now have 23 hours off before the second Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Road America Presented by Cooper Tires race of the weekend.