Pro Mazda Championship Battle Heats Up at Milwaukee
 August 14, 2014| 
  • Series News
Palmetto, Fla. – The top two protagonists for the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, Spencer Pigot and Scott Hargrove, are separated by just 14 points with three races remaining this season. With a MAZDASPEED Scholarship on offer to the champion to facilitate graduation to the top step of the Mazda Road to Indy, Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, in 2015 and a state-of-the-art Dallara IL-15 on deck, there is a great deal at stake as the series heads to West Allis, Wis., for this Saturday’s Allied Building Products Pro Mazda Oval Challenge on the historic Milwaukee Mile.

Pigot, 20, from Orlando, Fla., currently leads the way for Juncos Racing on the strength of five wins during his sophomore Pro Mazda campaign. He finished a strong third at Milwaukee last year and previously earned a top-six finish when the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda visited “The Mile” in 2011.

Rookie Hargrove, 19, from Vancouver, B.C., Canada, has not previously raced at Milwaukee but impressed on the shorter Lucas Oil Raceway oval in May when he finished second for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, one place ahead of Pigot. Hargrove already has three race wins to his credit this year, plus five more podium finishes.

Grist to the Mill
The battle for third place in the championship standings is equally intense. Neil Alberico (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing), who finished a close second to teammate Hargrove in last year’s USF2000 title-chase, and Shelby Blackstock (Andretti Autosport) are currently separated by just 12 points, while Garett Grist (Andretti Autosport), Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing) and Nicolas Costa (Team Pelfrey) lie within 23 points of a top-three placing.

Grist, in particular, has come on strong in recent weeks. The Canadian rookie won emphatically at Lucas Oil Raceway in May, then scored again in the most recent race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to close within two points of teammate Blackstock, the son of country singing legend Reba McEntire.

Brazilian Costa has been on a tear, too, claiming a win and a second at Mid-Ohio for the resurgent Team Pelfrey which won the 2012 championship with rising Verizon IndyCar Series star Jack Hawksworth. Costa has finished no lower than fifth in the last five races since moving over to the Florida-based squad.

By the Numbers
Hargrove currently holds a 59-point lead over Alberico for BBS Rookie of the Year honors with Grist lying in third, 73 points in arrears.

In the team championship, Juncos Racing and Cape Motorsports are neck-and-neck with an eight-point spread separating the leaders for top honors while Team Pelfrey and Andretti Autosport battle for third in the placings, with only a seven-point margin between the two.

On-Track Action Begins with Testing on Friday
The Pro Mazda competitors will take to the track for a pair of test sessions on Friday, August 15, followed by an intense day on Saturday that will begin with two more official 30-minute practice sessions at 8:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., followed by qualifying at 2:45 p.m. and then the 100-lap race at 6:30 p.m. All times are Central Time.
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