TORONTO, Ont., Canada – The pressure is building in this year’s Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. For the second day in a row and the fourth successive race, Aaron Telitz turned in a perfect display to claim victory and tie Team Pelfrey teammate Patricio O’Ward, who finished second, for the championship lead. At stake is a Mazda scholarship to assist in graduation to Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the top tier of the Mazda Road to Indy open-wheel development ladder, in 2017.
O’Ward drove well to make up for a disappointing retirement on Saturday and a poor first lap to finish second, while Nico Jamin continued to be Team Pelfrey’s closest challenger with a lonely run to third for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.
Telitz, from Birchwood, Wis., made another exemplary start from pole position to grasp the lead into Turn One. In effect, he never looked back. Already more than 1.6 seconds to the good after the first lap, Telitz continued to pile on the pressure, posting the fastest lap on six of the first seven laps to open up a commanding 5.1-second margin.
At this stage it was Jamin who led the pursuit, but it wasn’t long before O’Ward came a-knocking on his second place. The Mexican teenager had found himself shuffled wide in Turn One, falling from second to fifth, but he kept his focus and picked off his rivals one by one.
Finally, on the seventh lap, O’Ward out-braked Jamin in Turn One, and for a while he maintained the same kind of pace as race leader Telitz.
But any hopes of wresting away the win were fanciful, at best. Telitz, indeed, had no intention of allowing O’Ward even to come close, and while O’Ward did manage to set the best lap of the race so far on Lap 28, Telitz responded a couple of laps later, then bettered his time again on Lap 24 to ensure a perfect 66-point haul from the weekend.
Jamin fell back to a lonely third but remained well clear of an entertaining tussle between Juncos Racing teammates Jake Parsons and Will Owen. Aussie Parsons held sway initially, but Castle Rock, Colo., native Owen finally wrested away the position with a bold pass at Turn Three on Lap 13.
Team Pelfrey picked up another PFC Award as the winning car owner, while Telitz claimed the Staubli Award and TJ Fischer, driving a third Team Pelfrey car, earned the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award after picking up two positions during the race.
Bobby Eberle, from Houston, Texas, strengthened his lead in the National Class by taking the victory for JDC MotorSports in the National Class.
Five races remain in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, including a double-header in two weeks’ time, July 30-31, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where once again all three Mazda Road to Indy series will see action alongside the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Aaron Telitz (Rice Lake Weighing Systems-Team Pelfrey): “What a weekend! Winning two races at my home track two weeks ago gave me a whole bunch of confidence coming into this race. Momentum is awesome when it’s going your way! Starting from pole is the best spot to be able to get away from the rest of the field. I knew Pato would be my biggest competitor so to see him fall back was actually a relief – if he had gotten around for second early in the race, he would have been close for the whole race. I was also glad to get the point for fastest lap. Every point counts in this championship so when my engineer (Tom Knapp) told me Pato had taken the fast lap, I tried to go faster. It’s a huge turnaround but I knew I had to do something to rein in Pato.”
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