Spencer Pigot Continues to Hold the Upper Hand
 April 27, 2014| 
  • Series News

Leeds, Ala. - Spencer Pigot continued his domination of this year's Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires with another commanding performance this morning at Barber Motorsports Park. Pigot took off into the lead from pole position and held on to score his third race win in as many starts for Juncos Racing.

Scott Hargrove, who won last year's Cooper Tires UF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, earning a MAZDASPEED scholarship prize to graduate into Pro Mazda for this season, never allowed Pigot to relax and finished just 1.6111 seconds behind after 20 laps.

Pigot, 20, from Orlando, Fla., arrived in Alabama brimming with confidence after clinching the preseason Cooper Tires mini-series with a victory at the scenic and challenging 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course - and winning both rounds of the "regular season" opener last month in St. Petersburg, Fla. But on this occasion Pigot had to work for his laurels.

Hargrove, who has stepped up to Pro Mazda in conjunction with his team, Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, posted the fastest time in practice yesterday, with Pigot languishing in third, unhappy with the balance of his car. Undeterred, Pigot and his team made some subtle changes for qualifying, and Pigot did the rest, edging his rival by just 0.0529 of a second to ensure his third consecutive pole.

The start was always going to be crucial on a circuit where overtaking is notoriously difficult, and so it proved. The first attempt at a start was waved off when officials adjudged Pigot to have jumped a little too soon. Hargrove tried his hardest to redress the balance on the second attempt, even running a wheel onto the grass, but Pigot kept his cool - and his lead.

The pair traded fastest laps several times as the race progressed before Pigot edged away just a little and maintained his lead until the finish.

Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing), who finished second in both of the first two races, had to make do with third on this occasion after ousting the second Cape Motorsports car of Neil Alberico at the first turn.

Alberico also fell victim to an opportunistic outside-line pass in Turn Five on the opening lap by Brazilian Pipo Derani, who qualified a disappointing seventh but made another of his trademark excellent starts for Team Pelfrey. Derani held fourth when the caution flags waved after Julia Ballario (Juncos Racing) slid out of eighth place and into the gravel trap at Turn One, but lost the place again soon after the restart when Alberico lunged down to the inside, brakes locked up, to regain the place in Turn Five.

Derani also lost a position on Lap 11 to Shelby Blackstock (Andretti Autosport), who closed rapidly on Alberico in the closing stages before having to settle for fifth. Blackstock's move on Derani earned him the Replay XD Move of the Race.

Derani in sixth was followed by a tight train of cars comprising Ryan Booth (JDC MotorSports), Garett Grist (Andretti Autosport), Jose Gutierrez (Juncos Racing) and Dalton Kellett (Team Pelfrey).

Jeff Harrison made a fine return to the sport after a lengthy absence by winning the Expert division honors, for drivers aged 30 or over. Harrison, from Grapevine, Texas, finished 15th overall for World Speed Motorsports.

Additional contingency awards included the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award for most positions gained to Kyle Connery, who advanced from 19th to eighth; the PFC Award and customized Race Energy charger - the official battery of the ladder series - to Juncos Racing; and the Staubli Award to Hargrove.

Spencer Pigot, #7 Doug Mockett & Company/Rising Star Rising/Vitamin-D Pro App/California Scents (Juncos Racing): "It was a great day today. It wasn't the easiest practice sessions for us but the Juncos guys kept working hard and never gave up. We found a baseline for qualifying and were able to keep the lead at the start which wasn't easy. Scott [Hargrove] was right on the back of me, but we had a great race pace and were able to inch away slowly but surely and take the win. I couldn't be happier. A big thanks to the team, Doug Mockett and everyone that is helping me out. Let's do it againtomorrow." 

About Pro Mazda: The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires debuted in 2013 as a new series, replacing the Star Mazda Championship which ceased operation in 2012 after 22 years. The series is sanctioned by INDYCAR and owned and operated by Andersen Promotions. It is the second official step on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system with the series' champion awarded a scholarship package from Mazda to advance to Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires competition the following year. For more information, visit www.promazdachampionship.com

About Mazda: Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America. Thousands of Mazda powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world's largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built. In 2006 Mazda established the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder to assist racers in moving up through the ranks. In 2010 this was expanded to include the Mazda Road to Indy. Key to Mazda's success is strategic partnerships with the Skip Barber Racing School and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

MAZDASPEED Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif. and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario; and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. Consumer information can be found atwww.mazdausa.com with press information at www.mazdausamedia.com. Racers and fans can follow the action on Facebook (Mazdaspeed Motorsports).

About Cooper Tire & Rubber Company:  Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is the parent company of a global family of companies that specialize in the design, manufacture, marketing, and sales of passenger car and light truck tires. Cooper has joint ventures, affiliates and subsidiaries that also specialize in medium truck, motorcycle and racing tires. Cooper's headquarters is in Findlay, Ohio, with manufacturing, sales, distribution, technical and design facilities within its family of companies located in 11 countries around the world. For more information on Cooper Tire, visit www.coopertire.com,www.facebook.com/coopertire or www.twitter.com/coopertire.


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