Both the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda series returned to NOLA Motorsports Park, site of three of each of their races in the Cooper Tires Winterfest in February.
USF2000 led the way with two races, one on Saturday in dry conditions and one early Sunday in the wet. Pro Mazda only had one race, which was pushed back from Saturday to Sunday following weather delays, with the second race canceled and due to be made up at another round this season.
In the pair of USF2000 races, Nico Jamin and Victor Franzoni split the victories. Jamin won Saturday’s Round 3, his first win in the series for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing. Teammate Aaron Telitz was second for the third straight race, with Jake Eidson (Pabst Racing), the double St. Petersburg winner, in third.
Sunday’s Round 4 saw Telitz dominating early before falling victim to an odd – and rare – halfshaft break on an upshift. The retirement cost him a shot at his first win of the year and promoted Franzoni (Afterburner Autosport) to his first win of the year. Franzoni also won one of the three Winterfest races, with Eidson scoring the other two. Franzoni won from Jamin and Eidson on Sunday.
Eidson currently leads Jamin, 108-101, heading into Barber Motorsports Park in two weeks.
Pro Mazda saw Uruguayan rookie Santiago Urrutia, an unheralded F3/GP3 veteran, score his first win of the season. Urrutia pounced on pole-sitting Malaysian Weiron Tan on the first lap, then controlled the pace to score an accomplished victory for Team Pelfrey.
Pelfrey’s Winterfest driver, Jack Aitken, won two of the three Pro Mazda races here in Winterfest, with Tan winning the other race. Tan (Andretti Autosport) and Timothe Buret (Juncos Racing) completed the podium in what was the only Pro Mazda race of the weekend.
Neil Alberico (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing) still holds the points lead despite a sixth-place finish; the St. Petersburg double winner is up by four points, 79-75, over Urrutia heading to Barber.