Race 2 this afternoon for the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires at the Circuit of the Americas started out much like Race 1, with a giant furball headed into T1 and two drivers coming out worse for it. Yesterday’s winner, Juncos Racing’s Diego Ferreira, set the fast lap during Race 1 and earned pole position for Race 2. He would lose that spot to Andretti Autosports’ duo of Matthew Brabham and Shelby Blackstock as they would take advantage of Diego’s overshooting the T1 apex. Diego would fight all race long to get around Blackstock finally being successfulon Lap 10 of 12. With a two-second gap to Brabham and only two laps left in the race, Ferreira had to be satisfied with P2.
“What a fantastic race! It feels great to be on the top step of the podium. We managed to find the speed we had all through testing leading up to the race and the car was awesome in the race. The team worked hard over night and we tried a few things in the warm up today. We kept the changes, and they really worked well for us in the race.I got a good start and made a challenge for the lead into the first corner and managed to slip through on the inside.” — Matthew Brabham, #83 Andretti Autosport
Even though he didn’t repeat his dominant performance from yesterday, Diego Ferreira with his late-rate effort to make it past Blackstock secured the lead in the championship as the series now heads to the Streets of St. Petersburg.
It was a pretty difficult race. I made a mistake at the start and Matthew [Brabham] made a move and passed me. I fell back to fourth. I was fighting with the car a bit because yesterday we had new tires and today we had used tires, but it was okay. I managed to get up into second and I am happy. [On leading the points] For sure this is the plan for the whole year and I will work hard to stay there.” — Diego Ferreira, #57 Juncos Racing
The real story of the race centered around the two Team Pelfrey drivers, Petri Suvanto and Spencer Pigot. Both Petri and Spencer became caught up in the Turn 1 mayhem with Spencer catching the worst of it. The damage to Spencer’s machine was sufficient to end his day before he even negotiated a single turn, putting a serious obstacle to his championship ambitions. Suvanto fell back to the rear of the pack after Turn 1, but quickly started to pick of one racer after another as he worked to climb his way back through the standings. On the penultimate lap, Petri was able to make one last pass overtaking Kyle Kaiser and claim a top-5 finish. Petri’s drive from the rear of the grid to P5 wasn’t just the drive of the race, it was the drive of the weekend!
With Event #1 in the books, the Pro Mazda Championship now looks forward to joining the rest of the Mazda Road to Indy and the IZOD IndyCar Series on the Streets of St. Petersburg the last weekend of March. Our photographer, Brian McKay will be on hand working his magic and bringing us fantastic images and news from the pits and paddock.
Diego Ferreira takes a four-point lead over Matthew Brabham, 58-54, to the sunny Florida streets. Thanks to his amazing drive in Race #2, Petri Suvanto joins Shelby Blackstock and Scott Andersen in a three-way tie for third place with 34 points each.