By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
Across all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires, there were moments that stood out from the start of the season to the end. Here’s a look at the top five moments across the Mazda Road to Indy.
1. Indy Lights: The Freedom 100
Dean Stoneman earned both of Andretti Autosport’s wins this season and scored their final victory of the year at the Freedom 100, edging out Carlin’s Ed Jones by 0.0024 of a second. Jones took the lead from Stoneman at the white flag as the field went back to green after a single car incident at the south side of the track. Stoneman went around the outside of Jones and the pair went side-by-side through Turns 3 and 4 before Stoneman was victorious by the narrowest of margins.
2. Indy Lights: Season Finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Jones lost out at Indianapolis, but made up for it by winning the Indy Lights title in the final race of the season after teammate Felix Serralles let him by on the last lap to finish fourth – breaking the tiebreaker with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’s Santiago Urrutia. Jones took his Mazda Racing Scholarship to Dale Coyne Racing for a full season ride in the upcoming 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series.
3. Pro Mazda: Pelfrey Collision at Mazda Raceway
Team Pelfrey’s Aaron Telitz and Pato O’Ward were close on points as the Pro Mazda season wound down, and their championship fight came to a head as they collided in the second of three races at Mazda Raceway. While O’Ward finished tenth, Telitz managed to finish fifth, helping him maintain his grip on the championship.
4. USF2000: Thompson’s Misfortune
This is technically two moments, but the theme is the same. Parker Thompson had two critical moments that halted his championship charge for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing – one of them at St. Petersburg and the other at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. At St. Petersburg, another driver collided with the Canadian, setting him down the order while at Mid-Ohio, a flat tire robbed him of critical championship points for the USF2000 title.
5. Pro Mazda: Mid-Ohio Craziness
During the second race at Mid-Ohio, a brief rain shower washed away much of the rubber and hit the reset button on the race. After the restart, Juncos Racing’s Will Owen put on a show with Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing’s Nico Jamin, and the two of them marveled as they watched the footage of their race after the post race press conference. Jamin won the race by 1.8594 seconds over Owen as Telitz completed the final step on the podium.