MRTI: Road To Indy Champions Honored During Season-Ending Banquet

RaceChaser Staff Featured, IndyCar, Mazda Road to Indy 1 Comment

Ed Jones, Anthony Martin and Aaron Telitz captured their respective championships on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder.

Ed Jones, Anthony Martin and Aaron Telitz captured their respective championships on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder.

MONTEREY, Calif. – Champions from all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel driver development program were honored Monday night in the championship celebration banquet at the Monterey Plaza Hotel.

A total of more than $2.3 million in Mazda Scholarships and other awards was distributed.

The major winners included Englishman Ed Jones, who on Sunday clinched the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires crown, along with a scholarship valued at $1 million to ensure entry into at least three Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2017, including the 101st Indianapolis 500; Aaron Telitz, 24, from Birchwood, Wis., who secured the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and a scholarship worth over $600,000 to graduate to Indy Lights; and Anthony Martin, 21, from Kalgoorlie, Australia, who won the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, accompanied by a $363,000 bonus to move on to Pro Mazda in 2017.

The banquet attracted almost 300 attendees and was held barely 24 hours after a drama-filled championship Sunday in the Soul Red Finale at nearby Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where the outcome of all three titles was settled.

The closest margin of victory came in Indy Lights, with Jones taking the crown by a scant two points over last year’s Pro Mazda champion Santiago Urrutia, who came agonizingly close to emulating the accomplishments of California native Spencer Pigot by snaring successive titles in Pro Mazda and Indy Lights.

The evening also included the induction of several new members to the Mazda Road to Indy Hall of Fame, recognizing two of the founding fathers of Indy Lights, U.E. Patrick and Roger Bailey, 30 years after they launched what was originally known as the American Racing Series in 1986; former Pro (Star) Mazda champion-turned-team owner and driving coach Chuck West and multiple race winner Peter Dempsey, who in 2013 won the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race by just .0026 of a second in what was then the closest-ever finish at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and now serves as Juncos Racing’s team manager/race engineer; and USF2000 stalwarts Tonis Kasemets, now the driver coach for Pabst Racing, and Spencer Pigot, twice runner-up in the USF2000 championship, four times a Mazda scholarship winner and now a driver for Ed Carpenter Racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

“Every year, the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires produces exciting racing and this year we outdid ourselves with all three championships coming down to the final race,” said Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “The racing was more intense, especially in Indy Lights, than ever before. It was a great season and I can’t thank our partners, Mazda and Cooper Tires, enough for everything they do to help these drivers move forward. We have crowned three deserving champions and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for every one of them.”

CREDIT: Andersen Promotions

Comments 1

  1. I prefer 2018 indy cars much better than the 2017 cars. 2017 cars was a joke. 2017 cars didn’t look like an Indy car. Open wheels mean open wheels. I hope you keep the 2018 cars, cause if you don’t, i will stop watching and supporting Indy cars.

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