Rising Star Racing’s Pigot Repeats with Win at Barber
 April 26, 2014| 
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Newgarden matches season-best qualifying with spot on second row

Birmingham, Ala. – Rising Star Racing picked up right where it left off in St. Petersburg with another top Pro Mazda performance from Spencer Pigot at Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday. In a near carbon copy performance from the first Verizon IndyCar Series weekend of the year, Pigot started from the pole and never looked back to take the win in the No. 7 Doug Mockett & Company/Rising Star Racing/Vitamin-DPro App/California Scents/Juncos Racing entry.

Fellow Rising Star Racing driver Neil Alberico also had a strong run in his No. 2 Rising Star Racing/Bondurant School /eFormulaCarNews.com/J&M Trophy Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing machine, driving to fourth at the finish line in a race that saw him play offense early in the race, and then defense in the closing stages to hold on and take his best result so far of his rookie season.

Pigot made it look easy as he capitalized on his front row starting position and maintained the lead into Turn One. Holding on to the point on a restart, he clicked off quick laps throughout the 40-minute race with virtually no pressure from behind as he extended the gap over the second place car each time by.

“We had to push hard at the beginning to try to get a gap,” said Pigot, who led all 20 laps and posted the fastest race lap of 85.5815 seconds. “I thought it would have been a lot closer, but it seemed like we had pretty good pace during the race especially during the middle. I don’t think our car fell off quite as quickly as the rest. So that’s good. Tomorrow we’ll all be starting on used tires so I think it will definitely be a little closer but we’ll try to keep a good margin and just keep pushing.”

Alberico started third on the grid but got shuffled back on the start which saw him extra motivated to make his move forward. An early full course yellow bunched the field up and Alberico restarted fifth in line. Knowing that his Cape Motorsports  with Wayne Taylor Racing car was faster than the car ahead, Alberico pounced on the first lap of the restart and took over fourth place with an expert pass through Turn Five.

As the race wore on, Alberico ran clean and consistent laps around the 2.3-mile circuit which features extreme elevation changes throughout its 17 corners. In the final laps, Alberico found himself defending against the hard-charging car of Shelby Blackstock and he defended masterfully to maintain his fourth position as he took the checkered flag.

“After the restart we were able to make up a couple of positions,” said Alberico. “We knew we were fast right from the beginning so I needed to make my move early. It’s important especially at this track to get clean air early so I knew I had to make a move. Then I sat there in fourth trying to click off good times and had some pressure from Shelby (Blackstock) there at the end which was difficult for sure, but that’s what racing is, we’re here to do battle. I’m pretty happy with the result considering what we had and we’ll move on to tomorrow.”

The afternoon closed with Verizon IndyCar Series action as the grid was set for the 5th Annual Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Sunday’s race (NBCSN 4 PM ET live broadcast) will see Rising Star Racing driver Josef Newgarden start from the second row after the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing driver scored fourth on the grid with a fast lap time of 1:08.4702 to net his second consecutive start from that position.

“We’ve got off to a really good start this year, we have a lot more consistency,” said Newgarden. “We have found something that clicks a little better and I think we have a much better package than we have had here in the past. Everyone (at SFHR) works really well together and I’m able to do a better job of finding what they need and that’s really crucial. Rising Star Racing is phenomenal. Everyone within the group has done a great job. Spencer (Pigot) and Neil (Alberico) are two really talented kids and that’s what it’s really all about - giving young drivers the opportunity that deserve to work up the ladder system and they’ve proved it when they’re out there. It’s just wonderful to have an organization like Rising Star Racing and it’s great to be a part of it and support them and in turn they support me a bit so I just love being a part of it. We’re looking to push forward each and every event and so far it’s looking pretty good.”

Pigot will once again start from the pole in Sunday’s Race 2 with Alberico lining up fifth on the grid. The race is set to go green at 8:50 AM (CT) and live timing and scoring is available at: http://www.promazdachampionship.com/results/live-timing. 

The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is set to begin at 2:12 PM (CT) with live coverage on NBC Sports starting at 1:30 PM (CT). Live timing and scoring can be followed at http://racecontrol.indycar.com.

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