Aitken Clinches Cooper Tires Pro Mazda Winterfest Title For Team Pelfrey
 February 27, 2015| 
  • Team News
Birmingham, Ala. – Team Pelfrey snagged another championship crown this afternoon following a nail-biting conclusion to the Cooper Tires Pro Mazda Winterfest preseason mini-series at Barber Motorsports Park.

Jack Aitken used the Winterfest as a tune-up for his primary focus this summer, the prestigious Formula Renault Eurocup, and did so in style by winning three of the five races.

The 19-year-old Englishman held a slim five-point margin over his nearest pursuer, Malaysian Weiron Tan, after winning twice last week at NOLA Motorsports Park, and extended his advantage by another four points following a convincing win this morning. He had to give best to Tan in a thrilling final race, but clinched the series title by the narrowest of margins – a solitary point, 167-166 – by virtue of recording fastest lap in the crucial deciding race.

“I did the last round at Sonoma last year, and since we had such a good experience we decided to come over again,” related Aitken. “I was really surprised by the pace of the front runners, it was really impressive. I didn’t know where we’d stack up but I knew it would be quite tough and that’s the reason I’m here. It’s the perfect preparation for my season in Renault. The whole experience has been really good. The quality is so good in this field, I’m tempted to come back for some more this summer!”

The Winterfest lived up to its billing with bitterly cold conditions the past few days in rural Alabama. Both qualifying and the first of three scheduled races had to be canceled yesterday due to persistent heavy rain, which later turned to snow. Fortunately, while the temperatures today remained unseasonably low, the track was dry and the racing was intense.

In addition, Team Pelfrey fielded no fewer than four cars in the USF2000 Winterfest which concluded today with a pair of races at the 2.3-mile, 17-turn Barber Motorsports Park. The competition was similarly intense, with Garth Rickards, from Mechanicsburg, Pa., securing the team’s best result with a strong fifth-place finish in the fifth and final race. Nikita Lastochkin and Ayla Agren also claimed top-10 finishes, while MAZDASPEED Scholarship winner Luke Gabin, from Australia, displayed good pace but endured a difficult day after being involved in incidents in each of the 30-minute races.

“Today was really exciting,” said Team Pelfrey Team Principal Nigel Tuckey. “Jack was very impressive. He did exactly what he needed to do. He thoroughly deserved the championship. I’m sorry he won’t be able to join us for the main Pro Mazda season, but at least he showed what this team is capable of achieving. Our USF2000 drivers did a great job, too. They all learned so much and I’m sure will be challenging for top honors when the main season starts at St. Petersburg next month.”

Dale Pelfrey’s race team, based in Palmetto, Fla., is built upon the same principles he used more than 35 years ago when establishing his business career – hire the best, acquire the best and expect the best in order to achieve the most. After fielding cars in the IndyCar Series from 1998 until 2000, Team Pelfrey was reformed in 2011, winning on its Pro Mazda debut and going on to earn the Team Championship as well as second and third in the drivers’ title-chase with Connor De Phillippi and Nick Andries. Team Pelfrey went one better in 2012, guiding Jack Hawksworth to the Drivers’ Championship and earning a second successive Team Championship. An expansion into the F1600 Championship Series for 2014 saw Ayla Agren, Garth Rickards and Augie Lerch secure the top three positions in the points table. The 2015 season marks Team Pelfrey’s debut in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

For more information, please contact Nigel Tuckey at 727-504-1414 or
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