SPEEDWAY, IN — official release — Pro Mazda photo — Not content with scoring his maiden Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires victory yesterday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Canadian Scott Hargrove repeated the feat in today’s second leg of the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
Hargrove, 19, from Vancouver, B.C., grasped the lead on the drag race to Turn One and was never seriously threatened aboard the #3 MAZDASPEED/Analytic Systems/RaceEnergy/Metal Action Machining entry.
“The team did an awesome job. We took a gamble and went completely different from yesterday and it paid off,” Hargrove expressed. “Now we’ve learned what works and we are going to apply this from here on. I am thrilled. The race was chaotic. I had a huge lead and I didn’t think anyone was going to catch me and then the yellow came out so that made it interesting. The car was just so fast. I don’t think anyone had anything for us. This is the weekend we needed, absolutely.”
Californian teammate Neil Alberico capped a magnificent weekend for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing by finishing second, despite falling almost to the back of the field on the opening lap. Mexican teenager Jose Gutierrez completed the podium for Juncos Racing.
Series points leader Spencer Pigot started on the pole for the second day running for Juncos Racing but once again found himself beaten away at the green flag by outside front row qualifier Hargrove. Behind, for the second day in a row, multiple spinners at the first corner, including Team Pelfrey teammates Pipo Derani and Dalton Kellett, ensured the first of three full-course cautions. Alberico, too, was a victim of the first-lap shenanigans, rejoining in 14th after starting seventh. Julia Ballario (Juncos Racing) and Kyle Connery (JDC MotorSports) also fell to the rear of the field after visiting the pit lane for minor repairs.
Hargrove was untroubled at each of the restarts. Last year’s USF2000 champion edged ahead of Pigot to the tune of three seconds prior to the second caution period after 11 laps. Pigot was shadowed closely by Brazilian Nicolas Costa (M1 Racing) as they raced across the line for the following restart, only for the pair to collide as they entered the braking area for Turn One. Cue another caution as Pigot’s car careened into the outside wall and Costa’s car ground to a halt in Turn Two.
As Hargrove eased clear to the victory, Alberico passed Gutierrez for second at the final restart, while Canadian Garett Grist (Andretti Autosport) passed Kaiser for fourth with just a couple of laps remaining. Ryan Booth (JDC MotorSports), and the recovering duo, Ballario and Pigot, also were in close attendance at the checkered flag after local driver Brandon Newey (Team Pelfrey) fell out of sixth place on the final lap, ending another strong run during which he had climbed from 14th on the grid.
Jason Rabe finished ninth to win the Expert Class (for drivers over the age of 30) for M1 Racing – a strong effort in his first race weekend of the season.
Contingency awards included the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award for most positions gained to Rabe for a gain of 10 positions from 19th to ninth; the PFC Award and customized Race Energy charger – the official battery of the ladder series – to Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing; and the Staubli Award to Gutierrez.
Pigot earned the RePlay XD Move of the Race Award for a Lap 4 restart where he was passed by teammate Kaiser but immediately regained the position.
Hargrove’s perfect weekend, allied to Pigot’s dramas, have narrowed the American’s points advantage from 41 points to just five, 157-152, as the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires heads next to Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind., as part of the traditional “Night Before the 500″ festivities on Saturday, May 25.