TORONTO, Ont. – Spencer Pigot won his third Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tire race of the season after inheriting the lead following a scary crash involving leaders Nelson Piquet, Jr. and RC Enerson. Pigot, the reigning Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tire champion, started third and made an impressive pass on current points leader Jack Harvey on lap 7 to regain the position. The 21-year-old Juncos Racing driver was the second MAZDASPEED scholarship winner to visit the top step of the podium in Toronto when he beat Harvey to the checkered flag of the 40-minute timed race by 0.6815 seconds.
As the field came to the green flag, the rear end of Juan Piedrahita’s car stepped out and the Belardi Auto Racing Mazda-powered Dallara IL-15 veered to the left and speared the side of the No. 77 of Scott Anderson. Piedrahita climbed from his damaged car after it came to a stop on the front straight, while Anderson was able to make it back to pit lane. After careful inspection by the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian crew, the 25 year-old from Fort Collins, Colorado exited the car, thereby ending his day.
As the rest of the field streamed towards Turn 1, outside front row starter RC Enerson made a move to the outside of polesitter Nelson Piquet, Jr who had been hit from behind by Pigot. The two front-row starters were joined by fifth-place qualifier Felix Serralles, who made it three-wide going into the 90 degree right-hand turn.
Serralles was squeezed at the exit of Turn 1 and clipped the wall with his left side. The track went yellow for the Piedrahita incident and the 22-year-old was able to limp his damaged machine to the pits. The Ponce, Puerto Rico native made two pit stops where the Belardi Auto Racing crew replaced his front wing and front left wheel.
When the green flag flew again on Lap 4, it was Indy Lights rookie Enerson stalking Formula 1 veteran Piquet Jr., of Carlin, who made an impressive Indy Lights debut to qualify on pole. For the next ten laps the gap between the two drivers never fell below 0.8 seconds.
On Lap 14 Enerson made a move to the inside of Piquet down the long back straight, and then made a move back to the outside where his front right wheel made contact with the right rear of Piquet. The No. 7 became airborne with the floor and nose of the car making contact with the catch fence before sliding upside down through the Turn 3 run-off and coming to rest after contacting two sets of tire barriers.
Thankfully, Enerson was not injured. He was helped from the car by the Holmatro Safety Team and waved to the crowd as he walked to the medical vehicle under his own power. He was later checked and released by the INDYCAR medical staff.
The 35-lap event was red-flagged on Lap 17 so the track crews could repair the damage to the circuit. When the field went back to green on Lap 19 the top three were Pigot, Harvey and Ed Jones of Carlin. Serralles was able to force Jones into a mistake at the braking point of Turn 3 to earn the final spot on the podium.
The No. 5 of Serralles was later disqualified after failing post-race inspection giving Pigot’s teammate Kyle Kaiser his first Indy Lights podium. Shelby Blackstock of Andretti Autosport claimed a season high fourth-place finish with Jones rounding out the top five.
Indy Lights will once again take to the 1.755 mile, 11-Turn Exhibition Place street circuit for the second race of the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of Toronto Powered by Mazda at 11:45 a.m. ET tomorrow. The race will feature same-day coverage on NBCSN at 2:00 pm ET with live streaming available at racecontrol.indycar.com and coverage on the Mazda Road to Indy App.
Spencer Pigot (No. 12 Mazda/Doug Mockett & Company/Rising Star Racing/The Stutz/BAD/OMP – Juncos Racing): “We were quick on the street course in Long Beach, so I knew we’d be quick here and we were, right from Practice 1. The biggest thing today was to stay out of trouble since the starts are always so hectic. I put my head down and tried to get by Jack as quickly as I could to try to catch the leaders. After RC’s accident and the red flag, the most important thing was to hear that RC was okay. After that, it was back to focusing on racing and I was confident I could stay up front. The Juncos Racing guys gave me a great car today. They’ve worked so hard since Indy and for everyone to rally around each other as a team and come back like this is very impressive.”