Archive for the ‘Pro Mazda’ Category
5.25.2014 (via Pro Mazda Championship) – For the second time in two weeks in the Indianapolis area, a young Canadian scored his first victory in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. This time it was Garett Grist, driving for Andretti Autosport, who led from flag to flag in Saturday evening’s 90-lap Allied Building Products Oval Challenge at the 0.686-mile Lucas Oil Raceway oval as part of the 69th Annual Visit Hendricks County Night Before the 500.
Fellow countryman Scott Hargrove, who turned the trick for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing two weeks ago on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, finished second, ousting front row starter and championship leader Spencer Pigot (Juncos Racing) with six laps remaining in the fast-paced 90-lap race.
Both Grist, 19, from Grimsby, Ont., and Andretti Autosport teammate Shelby Blackstock had struggled during testing and official practice, but suddenly found the required turn of speed in qualifying as Grist took the pole with a two-lap average of 110.615 mph. Blackstock wasn’t too far behind in third, sandwiching practice pace-setter Pigot.
Grist took full advantage of his hard-won pole position by holding off Pigot and Blackstock at the start, with Nicolas Costa, making his first start for Pelfrey Racing, jumping into fourth ahead of Hargrove and Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Neil Alberico.
The race quickly settled into a pattern, with Grist and Pigot setting a torrid pace at the head of the pack and Blackstock gradually slipping behind in third place. On Lap 45, Grist’s #27 DaVinci Foods/Lander Property Management car suddenly stepped out from underneath him in Turn Three. The youngster managed to regain control, but suddenly Pigot was alongside as the leaders sped past the grandstands and into Turn One. Grist, however, fought off the attack and soon began to edge clear to cement his victory in style.
Now it was Pigot’s turn to struggle. All of a sudden, the steering began to tighten up and the already stern physical challenge became even tougher. By Lap 75, Pigot had slipped back into the clutches of Costa and Hargrove, both of whom had found a way past Blackstock, who also was struggling with a handling imbalance.
Hargrove, who said his car mysteriously found some extra speed in the closing stages, swept past both Costa and Pigot on Laps 83 and 84 to take over second place and earn himself the RePlay XD Move of the Race Award. Hargrove also took home the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award after rising from sixth on the grid to second.
Pigot was virtually exhausted at the finish line after narrowly holding off the attentions of Costa. Afterward it was discovered that the right-front tire on Pigot’s car was almost completely flat after having picked up a piece of debris.
Veteran Anders Krohn, making his first start of the season, finished a strong fifth in the second Team Pelfrey car, followed by Alberico, the disappointed Blackstock, and Kyle Kaiser, who edged out Juncos Racing teammate Jose Gutierrez after a race-long battle.
Additional contingency awards included the PFC Award and customized Race Energy charger – the official battery of the ladder series – to the winning team, Andretti Autosport; and the Staubli Award to race winner Grist.
Pigot and Hargrove are now separated by only three points, 180-177, as the Pro Mazda Championship moves on to the streets of Houston, Texas, for Rounds Eight and Nine in conjunction with the Verizon IndyCar Series on June 28/29.
Garett Grist, #27 DaVinci Foods/Lander Property Management (Andretti Autosport): “Today’s race went really well. I was able to settle down into a rhythm after Spencer had put some pressure on me. Once I settled down into my rhythm we slowly pulled away and I think we managed traffic a lot better than the rest. I could definitely use all the lanes and not lose any time going down low which is a lot like I had last year in the USF2000 race. I am really happy the car was that good and we were able to do that.”
5.4.14 (via MoreFrontWing.com) – The Pro Mazda Championship ran Rounds 3 and 4 at Barber Motorsports Park last weekend, and it was a pretty up-and-down event for me and the No. 28 Starstruck Andretti Autosport team.
Things started out strong. We had the fastest time in the Thursday morning test session and the second-fastest in Friday morning practice, and we felt like the car was pretty on point. But our competitors started finding changes that were working for them, and from then on we were just playing catch-up.
In the first race of the weekend, we started sixth and were able to move up one spot to end up fifth. We were fine with that, but it wasn’t the first or second-place finish we were looking for.
In Race Two we started fourth and finished third to land our first podium finish of the regular season, so that was a bit more satisfying. We were frustrated that despite making some good progress on the car and some good changes, it just wasn’t enough in the end to give us the pace of the two front-runners.
If you look at the time sheets from the season so far, you’ll see there are only two teams that are consistently ahead of us: Juncos Racing – and especially the points leader Spencer Pigot – and Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.
Some people are looking at Spencer right now and wondering if he can be beaten. The thing about that team is that it’s 100% car over there right now. Don’t get me wrong – Spencer is a good driver. But we were wondering why they were so pushy about having the new front tire brought in for this season, and now it kind of makes more sense. It’s livened their cars up quite a considerable amount and definitely helped them a lot, whereas it kind of hurt our car and left us a bit behind. We will definitely have something for them once we get a handle on what our car needs, and then we should be right there with them battling for wins.
As for Cape — congratulations to them on getting up to speed this fast in their first season of Pro Mazda. Those guys are very, very good in USF2000 and they had a good amount of testing in the off-season, so we knew they’d always be a threat, and they’ve definitely proved to be that. It’s been pretty amazing to see.
We’re getting closer and closer to those guys on car setup and that’s all I ask for. We have some good strong points on the car – it’s just that the weak points really, really hurt us. We learned a lot at Barber and are making some updates to focus on our weak points and make the whole car overall stronger for our next event.
My other racing pursuits are going well. I mentioned in my last update that I was flying to Germany to attempt to qualify for the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. Well, we did it by finishing second in class in the qualifying race, so we’re very happy. I can’t wait to get back there in June. It’s going to be 200-plus cars and 24 hours on the most dangerous and hardest track in the world. Sounds like my idea of fun.
And this weekend I’m at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to race with my teammate Ashley Freiberg in the Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series. We took the win at Daytona but dropped out with a mechanical issue at Sebring, so it feels like it’s been an awfully long wait for our chance to get redemption from that. Laguna Seca is one of my home tracks, so I have a lot of laps here. I really like it. There have been some balance of performance updates throughout the series for this weekend, so it’ll be interesting to see where everybody sizes up.
Of course, being on the west coast means I missed out on observing the Verizon IndyCar Series open test at the new IMS road course this past Wednesday. That doesn’t concern me too much, though. The Andretti Autosport IndyCar teams were there and our Pro Mazda engineers were able to check things out, so I’ll land in Indianapolis on Monday night and go out to dinner with them to go over everything. I’ll be caught up pretty fast.
I can’t wait to get on track at IMS in a Pro Mazda car. It’s great that IndyCar is running a road course weekend there and that the entire Mazda Road to Indy will get to be part of it. It’s the Indy 500 that obviously makes that place amazing, but it’s cool to do the road course and then a couple of weeks later go into the oval race. I think overall for the entire series, it’s going to be awesome.
Regardless, in the end it’s all about actually getting on track at IMS to see whose setup is going to work the best for that place. Like you, I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes. I hope the work we’ve done gets us onto the top step of the podium.
5.1.14 (via MoreFrontWing.com) – My Andretti Autosport teammates and I got back earlier this week from Rounds 3 and 4 of the Pro Mazda season at Barber Motorsports Park. We were looking forward to getting down there after our podium at Winterfest this past off-season, especially since we had a rough weekend at St. Pete and were hoping Barber would give us the bounce-back we needed to get our season on track.
We started out strong and even put the DaVinci Foods/Lander Property Management car in P2 in one of the practice sessions. But when we got to qualifying, we made some changes that set the car off-balance and really hurt us. We ended up qualifying eighth, which was not at all where we felt like we should have been.
Then, we threw another big round of changes at the car for Race 1 to try to bring it back, but it ended up even worse. It was a struggle just to hold on to our starting position for all 20 laps, but I managed to pull it off.
For Race 2 on Sunday morning, we decided to take our changes in the opposite direction. This ended up being the right move because the car was a lot better. I finished in seventh but had the third-fastest lap of the race, and that was even after burning my tires off and spending some time in traffic. I feel like if we weren’t in traffic I could have had one of the quickest cars on track and been able to get past more guys.
If I sound a bit frustrated it’s because I am, to be honest. We’re really not where I thought we would be at this point in the year, especially not after the great results we had at Winterfest. I had hoped we’d be in the top three and battling for wins in every race, and that just hasn’t been happening. I know I’m a rookie and I know I should try to be more patient, but I also know that right now we’re really not showing people just how much we can do.
In my last blog I mentioned that I was going to hang out at Long Beach with my teammate, Shelby Blackstock, and it actually ended up not happening. That was my birthday weekend, and I had an opportunity to stay home and spend some time with some family members who I don’t get to see very often, so I opted to do that and lay low instead. From what I hear from Shelby, though, Long Beach was a good time… I’ll have to try to get down there next year.
Now, everybody’s looking ahead to the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. I had a chance to check out the Verizon IndyCar Series open test yesterday, and the track looks great. In the morning I watched from pit lane and chatted with the engineers about what we were seeing, and then in the afternoon I walked around and checked out some of the different viewing spots. It looks like they did a really good job on it, and it should be a fun track to race.
I sure hope IMS is better to us than St. Pete and Barber have been. I’ll be back to let you know how it goes.
4.7.14 - Don't miss out on your opportunity to visit with our INDYCAR drivers from Pro Mazda to Indy Lights and the Verizon IndyCar Series! Check out the list of appearances for our weekend at the Grand Prix of Long Beach!
Thursday, April 10
Pit Stop Demo
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Friday, April 11
Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Muñoz
Verizon IndyCar Autograph Session
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Muñoz
w/ a performance by LIVE
The Federal Bar
102 Pine Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802
6:45 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
Saturday, April 12
Carlos Muñoz meet & greet
INDYCAR Fan Village
11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Zach Veach & Matthew Brabham signing
Indy Lights Autograph Session
INDYCAR Fan Village
2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
4.2.14 (via RACER) – Zach Veach took the first Indy Lights win of his career with a dominant performance in St. Petersburg. The Andretti Autosport driver, who was one of only three non-rookies in the field, passed polesitter and fellow veteran Gabby Chaves at the first corner, and never looked back. He crossed the line five seconds clear of Chaves, who in turn had a 16s buffer over third-placed Jack Harvey.
"I'm so happy. Last year didn't go exactly how we wanted it to, but my engineer (Doug Zister) never stopped helping me," related Veach. "This winter I spent a lot of time trying to get more physically strong because I felt that was my weakness, and spent a lot of time doing mental things and came into the season with a whole new attitude. I think it paid off for us.
"My engineer definitely was on me a lot about saving tires. In my mind I was thinking, 'Just don't mess up, just hit my marks, have
It was the battle for third that provided most of the race's interest. Early on the position was occupied by Matthew Brabham, who looked a threat for second during the opening laps before he clipped the wall at Turn 3 and was forced to pit with a punctured left-rear tire. That promoted AutoGP champion Vittorio Ghirelli onto the provisional podium, but he was never able to open a gap over the group of cars pursuing him and was eventually beaten with a great move around the outside of the last corner by Harvey.