The Andretti Autosport Pro Mazda crew clinched the Winterfest team championship title at Barber Motorsports Park today with a win and third-place finish in the winter series finale.
It was a battle to the very last lap for the driver championship honors between Andretti driver Weiron Tan and Team Pelfrey’s Jack Aitken. It came down to who nabbed the most points from the double points race, and although Weiron came away with points for most laps led and the win, ultimately the two points for fastest lap went to Aitken giving him the championship by one point. Our “Malaysian Sensation” (as he’s now called by new friends in the paddock) managed fairly well for his first series of competition in the United States with two wins, five podium finishes, one pole position and two fastest race laps.
“Jack (Aitken) did pretty well… he kept the pressure on me,” Weiron said. “I was trying to find the time, but since he had the fastest lap time, that gave him the championship (win). It’s disappointing. We got the victory but we lost the war, so it’s good and bad. But this is a good start for us since the real championship starts now. Looking back on the penalty, I have regrets for doing that – if it had been a fair fight, I think we could have won. I learned from that; it’s a big mistake and it cost me the one point I needed. It’s all about learning – that’s why we’re doing this. We’re all here to learn, to grow up, and it’s all part of learning how not to make the same mistakes next time. After these races, we know we have good pace going into the full season. I think we should be pretty confident. We have to keep working hard and I have to stop making stupid mistakes!
“In the end it was a good way to end the Winterfest, but not the best,” the 20-year-old elaborated. “Very happy for the team to secure the team championship. Unfortunately, for me, I lost the championship by just one point; had I not have gotten a five-point penalty at NOLA, the Winterfest Championship would have turned out differently. No matter, it was a good start for us and the team as a whole, and now we’re looking forward to the full season championship where it really matters.”
Series sophomore Dalton Kellett shined throughout Winterfest as well, capturing one poidum and four top-10 finishes. The racer/engineering student superstar coasted his way from 11th to fifth during Race One at the 2.3-mile circuit in Birmingham, AL and went on to snag a podium (P3) for Race Two to assist the Michael Andretti-led outfit to capture that team championship.
“Race Two was a great way to end Winterfest,” the Canadian commented. “Moving from fifth to third, I had a good start and was able to hold third for the rest of the race. When the first caution came out, I had my eyes set on (teammate) Weiron (Tan) and Jack (Aitken), but with a second caution coming out soon after, there wasn’t enough time left. In the end, it felt great to see Andretti Autosport bring home the team championship. Moving forward, I am looking forward to keeping up this momentum for the 2015 season championship! Keep watching for the No. 28 K-Line Insulators USA Pro Mazda at St. Pete!”
The duo can next be seen racing on the streets of downtown St. Pete, Florida for the Grand Prix of St. Pete during their doubleheader season opener on March 28 and 29.