MRTI: Pigot, Enerson dominate Barber weekend

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Beyond the Verizon IndyCar Series, all three rungs of the Mazda Road to Indy were in action this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park.

The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires recaps are linked here (Zach Veach won Race 1 with Gabby Chaves winning Race 2); meanwhile a quick wrap of the pair of Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda races:

PRO MAZDA: PIGOT MAKES IT 4-FOR-4

It must be something about even-numbered years that brings out the best in Juncos Racing’s Spencer Pigot. Pigot swept the two Pro Mazda races at Barber, as he did at St. Petersburg in the season opener. He won eight USF2000 races in 2012 and he’s now four-for-four to kick off the Pro Mazda season, as he seeks to track down his longtime sparring partner Matthew Brabham’s mark of wins from 2013 (13 of 16 races).

Sunday’s Race 2 for Pigot required a move on Scott Hargrove, who ultimately finished second.

“I knew going in that as long as I had one wheel alongside Scott, I was going to go for it,” Pigot said post-race. “Luckily, I had a little more than that – I was alongside or even a little bit ahead. It was a bit closer than I would have liked but that’s what you get for starting second. You never know when you go side by side what’s going to happen on the exit. We were as close as we could get without touching; I’m actually surprised there isn’t some rubber on the side of the car. I went a little defensive into Turn 5 – I was trying to hold him up and then get a run but he didn’t slow down, he pulled alongside me. If it had been a left turn instead of a right turn at the end of the backstretch, he would have been by. It was some really good, close racing.”

Pigot now leads the standings by 41 points over both Hargrove and Kyle Kaiser, 130-89, heading into the month of May at Indianapolis.

RESULTS, Races 1 and 2

USF2000: ENERSON WINS A PAIR ON SATURDAY

Winterfest champion RC Enerson took both Saturday race wins in USF2000, the latter of two after holding back the challenge from Armsup Motorsports rookie Aaron Telitz.

“It was a great day. We won Race 1 and coming into Race 2, we had a good lead then a full course yellow came out. I was able to make a good restart and start pulling out a gap. I saw them fighting behind me and knew it was my chance to get away. I saw Aaron [Telitz] coming at the end and I was just trying to hold on.”

RESULTS, Races 1 and 2

Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
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Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.

Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.

Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.

A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.

A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.

CHECKING OUT EACH OTHER’S RIDES

ASTLES BREAKS THOUGH AS WELL

Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool