Brabham Breaks Single Season Win Record with Victory at Mid-Ohio
 August 4, 2013| 
  • Series News
Lexington, Ohio – There’s an old adage in auto racing that says “I’d rather be lucky than good.” Well, both terms apply to Matthew Brabham.

He appeared to be headed for a second-place finish behind Venezuelan Diego Ferreira in this morning’s 12th round of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, the second leg of the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, but moments after the caution flags flew as a result of an oil spillage in Turn Four due to contact between two cars farther down the field, Ferreira and Brabham encountered the oil slick and both leaders fought to maintain control of their cars.

Ferreira (Juncos Racing), who had taken the lead with an opportunistic maneuver on the first lap, slid off the road and through a gravel trap, narrowly missing the stranded car of Jay Horak. By the time Ferreira rejoined the track, Brabham, who had somehow managed to keep his Andretti Autosport Pro Mazda on the blacktop, was through and into the lead. The cleanup process could not be completed before the time-certain schedule had run its course, so the cars remained in that order as the race finished behind the pace car.

Ferreira, from Maracay, Venezuela, claimed that the pass had been made under caution, which indeed it had, but race officials ruled that since Brabham had managed to remain on the race track and Ferreira had not, the change in positions was legitimate. Brabham was duly credited with his record-breaking ninth win of the season, eclipsing the mark set by 2012 champion Jack Hawksworth.

Spencer Pigot, from Orlando, Fla., made a spectacular start to jump from fifth to third for Team Pelfrey. He placed Brabham under intense pressure in the opening stages before gradually slipping back into the clutches of teammate Nicolas Costa, who had made a poor start from fourth but quickly recovered some ground by passing Shelby Blackstock (Andretti Autosport).

By Lap 11, Pigot, Costa and Blackstock were running in nose-to-tail formation in their battle for third. Pigot, who was struggling with his car’s handling, then lost two places in quick succession when Costa fought his way through in Turn Five and Blackstock took advantage of Pigot being forced off line to sneak past in Turn Six.

The caution flags flew a short while later following an incident between Kyle Connery (M1 Racing) and Juan Piedrahita (JDC MotorSports) which resulted in the oil spillage and the race being concluded under yellow-flag conditions.

Expert Class leaders Horak (AutoEnginuity/M1 Racing) and Bobby Eberle (World Speed Motorsports) both spun in unison on the oil, gifting the Expert honors to Walt Bowlin (M1 Racing), from Tampa, Fla., who had survived a spin of his own earlier in the race.

Contingency awards included the Quarter Master Hard Charger Award to Scott Anderson of Juncos Racing for a gain of six positions from 12th to sixth, the Staubli Award to Lloyd Read of JDC MotorSports and the PFC Award to the winning team of Andretti Autosport.

Matthew Brabham, #83 MAZDASPEED/Team Andretti Autosport (Andretti Autosport) – First:  “It was definitely an interesting race for us. I had a good start but Diego had a better start and managed to get me on the outside going into Turn Four. At the start of the race, I was mainly focused on keeping Spencer [Pigot] behind me than trying to keep up with Diego. I managed to get a little gap and really put my head down to try to catch Diego. I had a really quick car in the middle of the race and I pulled up and Diego and I had a little fight for the lead for a couple of laps. I dropped back a bit and as soon as that happened the yellow flags came out for an incident in Turn Four. I came into that corner and thought I lost the whole rear wing because the whole thing was sliding around and I almost spun out. There was oil and I just managed to gather it up and get around the corner, but I saw Diego go shooting off into the gravel. We were under yellow and then, I am not sure what the rules are, but I was given the honors of crossing the line in first. I feel bad for Diego. I don’t like to win like that. It is never sweet. In a way, it is a victory by default. Diego was flawless all race and driving really well out front.”

Diego Ferreira, #57 Team Viso Venezuela/Mindeporte (Juncos Racing) – Second:  “The team did a really nice job in setting up my car. We had a bad qualifying in the rain and we came from fifth to third in the first race. We started second in this race. I passed Matthew on the outside to take the lead then the yellow came. There was oil on the track and I went off and Matthew passed me. I think we did a really nice job and I feel like I am the winner of the race, but I have to say thanks to the team. They did a great job and I think we had the better car on track. I am still happy for the ninth podium of the season in just 12 races and I am still second in the championship.”

Nicolas Costa, #82 Pelfrey Performance/GetGapGuard.com/Alufama/Inova Mkt. (Team Pelfrey) – (Third):  “I really had to fight my way back to the podium and it was a fun race for me. I didn’t have the best of starts and dropped to fifth on the first lap. I had to defend from Zack Meyer in sixth position. Just after that, I had an opportunity to pass Blackstock and I did. Little by little, I started to take the gap off Spencer [Pigot]. You really lose the aerodynamics in the corners which is crucial here. I saw a gap there and went for it. Lucky for me, I came back to the podium. My car was great and our pace was awesome. I have to thank Team Pelfrey and everybody that somehow made this race car be on track today.”

Walt Bowlin, #23 Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery/Jet Concepts/Foremost Insurance (M1 Racing) – First (Expert): “Yesterday, I didn’t realize that I had a communication problem with my team. I didn’t realize I was racing for the win in the Expert Class so I felt like I left something out there. Today, I guess I got it back with a little bit of luck. Usually I am a lot further back from the young guys and it seemed like this weekend we were a little bit closer – all of us Expert guys. We had a good little battle going today. I would pull up on them and then they would gap me a bit. I spun in [Turn] Two just trying to brake too deep and got back on thinking I was just going to run and work on times and I got lucky. They spun in front of me and I won.”
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