LEXINGTON, Ohio – A remarkable streak of 11 consecutive race wins for Team Pelfrey in this year’s Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires finally came to and end today at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course as French rookie Nico Jamin, the winner of the 2015 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, scored an emphatic double victory for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.
Team Pelfrey’s Aaron Telitz, who came into the Royal Purple Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio weekend tied on points with teammate Pato O’Ward, secured a pair of podium finishes to eke out a 14-point lead in the quest for a Mazda scholarship to progress onto the third and final step of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel development ladder, Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, in 2017.
Juncos Racing’s Will Owen also gained a share of the glory with an aggressive run to second in this afternoon’s 13th round of the 16-race Pro Mazda season to add to his third-place run earlier in the day.
Jamin took advantage of his team’s steadily improving form in recent weeks – and perfect track conditions – to take pole position on Friday with a new lap record of 1:18.1385, eclipsing the previous mark set way back in 2006 by Ryan Justice. He made a good jump at the start of this morning’s race to take the lead and dominate proceedings at the front of the field.
Jamin extended his lead to over three seconds inside the first eight laps, and after Telitz posted a new fastest lap on two occasions during the 23-lap, 30-minute contest to reduce the margin by a few tenths, the Frenchman stamped his authority on the proceedings by establishing a new race lap record of 1:18.59776 (103.423 mph). Jamin’s new standard bettered the previous mark set one year ago by Neil Alberico.
Telitz, from Birchwood, Wis., finished a lonely second, well clear of Owen, from Castle Rock, Colo. Australian Jake Parsons finished fourth after a race-long tussle with fellow rookie Nicolas Dapero, from Argentina, who earned the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award.
O’Ward, meanwhile, encountered a variety of problems and could finish no better than sixth.
Brothers Dominic and Nicholas Cape secured their first PFC award of the season as the winning car owners, while Bobby Eberle (JDC MotorSports) came from behind to snatch victory in the National Class from Bob Kaminsky, who earned the Staubli Award.
This evening’s 40-minute nightcap brought a second win on the day for Jamin, although this time the talented Frenchman had to work a lot harder for the victory spoils.
Telitz started from the pole and seemed to make a good jump at the start, but he was unable to hold off some aggressive moves from both Jamin and Owen on the opening lap, which he completed in fourth place, also demoted by teammate O’Ward.
There was drama on Lap 8 as a brief shower of rain caused O’Ward to slide sideways on the exit of Turn Two, losing a place to teammate Telitz. Moments later, Dapero lost control and spun, whereupon race officials immediately displayed the full-course caution flags.
The race was restarted after 14 laps with the sun shining again and the race track now completely dry. Jamin maintained his lead to complete a memorable day and extend his streak of Mid-Ohio wins to five following his hat-trick in 2015 en route to the USF2000 championship.
Owen held on for second, despite intense pressure from behind, with Telitz just edging out O’Ward for third. The teenaged Mexican did gain some consolation by earning a point for the fastest lap of the race, achieved just one lap from the end.
The Capes took home their second PFC Award, Jamin earned the Staubli Award, and Eberle claimed both National Class honors and the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award after finishing sixth overall. His result in Race 2 has clinched the National Class title for Eberle – his third consecutive title.
The championship will be decided during a triple-header finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., on September 9-11.
Nico Jamin (#2 Mazda/Synova Automotive Eco-Plastics/Hexagon-Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing): “With three laps to go, when I realized I might actually make it two in a row, I was the happiest guy in the world. I survived all the incidents and kept my head down – it was the craziest race of my career. It was a crazy start – Aaron knew I was close and he closed the door but there was just a little bit of room so I went for it anyway. But I hoped that because he is fighting for the championship he might give me a little bit of room. We’ve been chasing our first win for so long, stepping up our game every week, so to win two races and sweep the weekend is amazing. I don’t know what it is about this racetrack. The Cape guys gave me a great car here last year in USF2000 and we had a really good car this year, so I was able to fight for the win again.”
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