Pigot Claims First Victory of the Season for Team Pelfrey
After winning both the driver and team championships in 2012, Team Pelfrey has endured a disappointing first half of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires season, highlighted by a pair of second-place finishes for Spencer Pigot. The 19-year-old Pro Mazda rookie then suffered what he described as one of the worst weekends of his career just one week ago on the streets of Toronto but bounced back in fine style today by scoring his first victory in Round Nine at the fast and challenging Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
|Spencer Pigot, who also was part of the AR1.com winning go-kart team in St. Petersburg, Florida|
Pigot, who qualified second Saturday morning, fought his way past polesitter Shelby Blackstock at Turn Eight on Lap Two and managed to edge out a slight margin over the two battling Andretti Autosport entries of Blackstock and runaway series points leader Matthew Brabham.
On Lap Four, however, Pigot's advantage was erased when Colombian Juan Piedrahita crashed his JDC MotorSports entry heavily into the tires at Turn Three which caused a lengthy full-course caution. Piedrahita, thankfully, was not seriously injured in the accident and has been taken to a Bowmanville hospital for further precautionary tests.
The field was obliged to run behind the Safety Car for 10 laps while the car was removed and the tire barrier repaired. When the race was restarted with around five minutes remaining, all of the top three contenders felt they had a legitimate shot at the victory.
Pigot continued to lead the way, but a slight mistake by Blackstock on Lap 16 enabled Brabham to slip past into second place and close onto Pigot’s tail. Uncharacteristically, however, Brabham, too over-stepped the limit at Turn Three next time around, running wide and allowing Blackstock to regain second position.
The final couple of laps saw all three jockeying for position, frequently running side-by-side, but it was Pigot who held on for the victory by just 0.118 seconds ahead of Blackstock at the checkered flag. Brabham was a scant 0.081 second behind in third.
Scott Anderson finished only a second or so farther in arrears in fourth for Juncos Racing, while Brazilian Nicolas Costa (Team Pelfrey) found a way past Diego Ferreira, in a second Juncos Racing entry, for fifth in the closing stages.
Contingency awards included the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award which went to Costa for a gain of four positions from ninth to fifth, the Staubli Award to Blackstock and the PFC Award to the winning team of Team Pelfrey.
Brabham currently holds a 72-point advantage in the standings at 272 over Ferreira. With his win today, Pigot has narrowed the gap to a mere eight points in arrears of Blackstock in third.
Race 2 at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park circuit will take place at 4:20 pm tomorrow with Pigot on pole and Blackstock alongside. Costa will line up third with Piedrahita, Ferreira and Brabham rounding out the top six.
Spencer Pigot, #81 Doug Mockett & Company/Gap Guard/Parathyroid.com/California Scents/OMP (Team Pelfrey) – First: “It was a big team effort this weekend. We were struggling a little bit in practice and made quite a lot of changes overnight. We had a really good session this morning. We didn’t quite beat Shelby to the pole, but started on the front row. It is great for me and it’s great for the team. We have been working hard all year and haven’t quite had it for some of the other teams, especially at Toronto which was probably the worst weekend I have ever had. To come back and get the win is great for the whole team. After the restart I was able to get a little bit of a jump but I couldn’t quite break the draft and I made a little mistake on the last lap and Shelby and I were side-by-side. In fact, I think he was a little bit ahead of me on the back straightaway and I was just able to hold the inside through Turn Eight. It was great racing. Shelby and I were joking around that it was such a turnaround from last weekend for both of us. To be out fighting for the win was great and hopefully we can do it again tomorrow.”
Shelby Blackstock, #28 Team Starstruck (Andretti Autosport) – Second: “I can’t complain. The Andretti cars have been so fast and the weekend has been so good and so positive. This is the first time I have been to the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and this is a fun track to race. We were three wide on the first lap. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the smoothest race for me and Matt, just a lot of mistakes that let Spencer get away. Congrats to Spencer on his win and thanks to all the Andretti Autosport guys for their hard work this weekend. It was a fun race. We collected the points we could at Toronto but left there with our tail between our legs but happily we came here and got the pole today and a podium, and hopefully tomorrow we will get the win.”
Matthew Brabham, #83 MAZDASPEED/Team Andretti Autosport – Third: “It was all down to strategy and trying to place your car on the back straight so you got the tow right. It’s a shame to lose the winning streak but you can’t have every win so we will take it as it comes. For me, it was a great race. I am so happy for Shelby and Spencer. Shelby and I were crowding each other to get to Spencer and fight for the win. Shelby made a little bit of a mistake coming onto the main straight and I managed to get up on the inside but two corners later in Turn Three I ran a little bit wide and dropped a wheel off where [Juan] Piedrahita crashed and Shelby slipped past me. It was a little bit of a mistake but I am still glad to be up here on the podium. It was so much fun today and I would like to thank everyone that supports me – Mazda and everybody at Andretti.”