ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – There are seven total races (four Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires, two Pirelli World Challenge and one Stadium Super Trucks) today, plus two other qualifying sessions, and Verizon IndyCar Series third practice and qualifying.
Quick results and notes from the sessions that have occurred, by series, are below. We’ll update this post as the day goes on.
Verizon IndyCar Series
Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires
- Indy Lights: Qualifying 2, Race 1 (to come later today)
- Pro Mazda: Qualifying 2, Race 1
- USF2000: Race 1, Race 2 (to come later today)
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires
- It was a banner qualifying session this morning for Andretti Autosport, ahead of race two. Colton Herta in the No. 98 Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing delivered the team its first pole since the introduction of the Dallara IL-15 Mazda and at 16 years old, he is the youngest polesitter in series history. The younger Herta turns 17 later this month. In third and sixth, Dalton Kellett has his best start yet in Indy Lights while Nico Jamin is sixth. Santiago Urrutia starts second with Pato O’Ward and Kyle Kaiser completing the top five.
- In the race, Aaron Telitz dominated from pole position to win in the No. 9 Belardi Auto Racing entry. Telitz, who also won his first Pro Mazda race in race two at St. Petersburg last year, took the checkered flag by 11.033 seconds over Colton Herta and Neil Alberico, who joined Telitz as Indy Lights first-time podium finishers, with Telitz and Herta doing so on their respective series debuts. Although Telitz had a huge margin of victory, the battle for second on back behind him was excellent and saw all five active Indy Lights teams in the top six. Belardi won over the Andretti-Steinbrenner entry for Herta, Carlin’s for Alberico, Belardi’s for Shelby Blackstock, Team Pelfrey’s for Pato O’Ward and Juncos Racing’s for Kyle Kaiser. Herta was a passing demon, having made several successful moves at the inside of Turn 1 for position, and surviving a near bit of contact with Alberico when trying to get around another Californian. Santiago Urrutia retreated to the pits on lap one in his first race for Belardi with damage in a first-corner mess, while Matheus Leist was slowed by an apparent loss of power in his debut for Carlin and Juan Piedrahita saw a career-best qualifying run of third go for naught with front wing damage at Pelfrey.
Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires
- Anthony Martin took his second pole of the weekend in as many opportunities in his debut weekend in the series with Cape Motorsports, again ahead of Victor Franzoni for Juncos Racing.
- The same two drivers went 1-2 in the race itself, Martin led from Franzoni the entirety of the race en route to a debut race victory. TJ Fischer of Team Pelfrey scored his first podium of his career in third. Martin was over the moon with the victory, Franzoni equally effusive with happiness because of his late arrival into the series, and Fischer pleased to break through for his first podium. Outside of Nikita Lastochkin passing Phillippe Denes for fifth, the top eight drivers finished as they started in the same order.
Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda
- Robert Megennis executed a brilliant defense of the lead in his No. 80 Team Pelfrey entry to win in the debut of the new Tatuus USF-17 Mazda, which seemed to race pretty well in the first of two races. The 17-year-old series sophomore started from pole and led flag-to-flag in the 24-lap, caution-free race. He defended against series debutantes Oliver Askew, the Team USA Scholarship winner for Cape Motorsports, and Rinus Van Kalmthout, the talented Dutch driver who’d been set with Benik and Carlin before their separation, tested with Newman/Wachs Racing before signing with Pabst Racing. Askew and Van Kalmthout have a bunch of karting experience.
- In the afternoon race, polesitter Parker Thompson ran wide on a restart at Turn 1 which opened the door for Askew to get through. The 20-year-old native of Jupiter, Fla. ran consistently from there en route to his first career victory, perhaps the first of many in his Mazda Road to Indy career. Van Kalmthout was second with Thompson making a late dispatch of Kaylen Frederick for third, to get on the podium for Exclusive Autosport. Megennis, the race one winner, crashed out late in the race and fell to 19th.
Pirelli World Challenge
- Alvaro Parente, the defending series champion, has claimed overall victory in the kickoff to the new PWC GT/GTA/GT Cup season. The GT race was marred by a long caution that took more than 20 minutes in the 50-minute race for one of the two GT Cup entries, a Ferrari Challenge entry driven by Marko Radisic. But once the caution was over, there was a spirited battle behind Parente after he’d got to the lead by Turn 4 of the second lap, past polesitter Daniel Mancinelli. Mancinelli then led Pierre Kaffer, James Davison, Johnny O’Connell and Patrick Long before Long and O’Connell engaged in an epic scrap. Davison got by Kaffer for third late, with Long following in behind but unfortunately cutting Kaffer’s tire and knocking the Magnus Racing driver from a potential podium. On the final lap, Davison and Long both got past Mancinelli for podium spots at Turn 4, and Mancinelli’s baptism by fire ended against the Turn 8 wall, leaving him 14th. Last year’s GT Cup champion Alec Udell won his GTA debut while Preston Calvert, the sole remaining GT Cup driver, won that class by default.
- The second GTS race of the weekend saw the same 1-2 as on Friday, with Andrew Aquilante in his Phoenix Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302 ahead of Lawson Aschenbach in the Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4. Parker Chase ended third in his Ginetta G55 for his first podium of the weekend.