Santiago Urrutia. Photo: Photos @ Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Santi Urrutia claims Pro Mazda title in dramatic fashion at Mazda Raceway

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MONTEREY, Calif. – Santiago Urrutia has captured the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, at the site where his Uruguayan countryman and racing hero Gonzalo Rodriguez lost his life on the same weekend some 16 years ago.

Urrutia drove the No. 81 Team Pelfrey car to the championship with a runner-up finish behind Garett Grist, who led flag-to-flag from pole.

“For us it is so special to win here at this track, after Gonzalo 16 years ago,” Urrutia said. “I was racing with him this weekend. To win the championship I’m so happy. I’m pretty sure Gonzalo was here with us. I can’t explain how happy I am at the moment.

“This is all the work from the last year, the past year… you can’t win championships always. I have to say thanks to everyone who made this happen.”

For the majority of the 30-minute race, Urrutia led Neil Alberico for second place, behind race leader and eventual race winner Grist. As it stood then, Alberico was down 32 points and would have needed a miracle on Sunday to overtake Urrutia.

But on the second-to-last lap, Alberico spun at the Corkscrew, and that ensured Urrutia had enough points to claim the title. Alberico could not get restarted as contact messed up the fuel disconnect.

“It was just my mistake. I was pushing and I clipped the curb in the Corkscrew, and I bottomed out and it sent me off,” Alberico said. “I was just pushing to catch Santi because otherwise, it was game over.”

It will award him a Mazda Motorsports scholarship, just shy of $600,000, to advance into Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires in 2016.

On the cool down lap, a corner marshal presented Urrutia with his native flag at Turn 4, and he drove around the track to celebrate.

Will Owen finished third in the race, thus making it a 1-3 for Juncos Racing.

A start line accident took out Pato O’Ward and Victor Franzoni and put the opening stanza of the race under caution. Once the race restarted, things settled down, with Grist winning after controlling the race.

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.