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Dapero, Juncos win while Telitz, O’Ward collide in Pro Mazda race 2

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MONTEREY, Calif. – A two-hour delay only served to delay the drama for the second of three races in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires championship weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Nicolas Dapero of Juncos Racing captured his first career win, the teenaged Argentine doing an excellent job to keep his nose clean, then defend from teammate Will Owen to put Ricardo Juncos’ team on the top step of the podium for the first time in 2016. It also extends Juncos’ win streak to eight years in a row since the team debuted in 2009.

Meanwhile the story of the day in the 30-minute race was the championship battle between Team Pelfrey teammates Aaron Telitz and Pato O’Ward, with a collision between the two on the first lap drastically altering the battle.

From pole, Telitz saw his eight-point lead (371-363) grow to nine at the start of the race.

But O’Ward, who had a run around the outside of him through Turn 2, got contacted by Telitz and went over his car, which damaged his left rear suspension and resigned him to the pits.

For the contact, Telitz was assessed a drive-through penalty, and dropped from the lead down to 11th place.

However, Telitz would recover back to fifth place, following a Corkscrew collision between the third member of Team Pelfrey, TJ Fischer, and the third member at Juncos, Jake Parsons, on Lap 12 when battling over second place.

Fischer ran off course through the corner apex, while Parsons attempted to pass around the outside before making contact.

It brought Owen up to second and Nico Jamin of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing up to third.

Telitz had carved through slower cars driven by Kory Enders, Bobby Eberle and Daniel Swanbeck, the last of whom proved the most difficult to get past, to get up to eighth place before the yellow.

Once Parsons and Fischer were out of the way, Telitz made one final move of Moises de la Vara to get from sixth to fifth, but was unable to catch Joseph Burton-Harris for fourth.

With this result, Telitz unofficially has a 11-point lead (389-378), with O’Ward also gaining two points after his team repaired his car and got him back out to 10th place.

Owing to the morning delay for the schedule, the third and final race of the weekend is set to take place at 3:35 p.m. PDT and local time. Telitz will again have the pole position.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.