MRTI: Veach, Pigot take critical wins in Milwaukee

0 Comments

The penultimate weekend for two of the three rungs on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder occurred this weekend at Milwaukee. While one title lead was extended, another was closed up.

INDY LIGHTS

Andretti Autosport teammates Matty Brabham and Zach Veach dominated Sunday’s 100-lapper for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, but the outcome of which of the two would take it was in doubt until a final restart with less than 10 laps to go.

Veach led the opening 39 laps from pole before Brabham made it past on Lap 40, and began to stretch his lead over the next 50-plus laps while Veach struggled with balance. But following Luiz Razia’s crash with eight laps to go, Veach capitalized on the restart with an outside move on Brabham through Turns 1 and 2 with just four to go.  Brabham finished a hard-luck second after one of his best drives of the season.

Veach now sits just seven points behind Gabby Chaves (466-459), who finished third on Sunday and drove well to fight a seriously ill-handling, down on grip car. Jack Harvey also still has a shot going into Sonoma, 23 points behind, in third in the championship. But the Englishman ended fifth on Sunday, behind Scott Anderson, who posted a season-best fourth place for Fan Force United.

PRO MAZDA 

Despite starting fourth, points leader Spencer Pigot made it through to the win in Saturday evening’s Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires race at Milwaukee. Pigot made a move past title rival Scott Hargrove past half-distance in the 90-lap race, and held on despite a late restart. Shelby Blackstock made it up to third after Kyle Kaiser and Neil Alberico collided while battling for the final podium position.

Pigot now leads Hargrove by 18 points – 289-271 – heading to Sonoma next weekend.

Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000 all have doubleheader weekends in Sonoma for the season finale.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
0 Comments

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III