Honors All but Even in Pro Mazda Duel
 August 30, 2017| 
  • Series News

Over $2.6 Million in Prizes on Offer at Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000 Finales

PALMETTO, Fla.  – Drivers representing no fewer than 14 nations will highlight the international appeal of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires as all three steps on the acclaimed open-wheel development ladder – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda – will conclude this weekend at the famed Watkins Glen International road course in upstate New York.

Mazda Scholarships and year-end awards valued at over $2.6 million will be presented at the traditional awards banquet to be held in Watkins Glen on Monday.

Australian Anthony Martin, the winner of last year’s USF2000 championship, and fellow ex-USF2000 front-runner Victor Franzoni, from Brazil, will go head to head two more times this weekend as they battle for a Mazda Scholarship worth almost $800,000 to assist in the graduation to Indy Lights for 2018. 

The pair currently have five wins apiece and are separated by just two points with – uniquely among the MRTI series – two races remaining this weekend. Franzoni (Juncos Racing) currently holds the edge after winning last Saturday evening on the Gateway Motorsports park oval, although Martin (Cape Motorsports) has some road course momentum on his side after securing two wins and two poles from July’s triple-header at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Indeed, Martin had been in position to secure a sweep of all three wins until falling foul of some slower traffic in one of the races.

Team Pelfrey’s trio of TJ Fischer, Carlos Cunha and Nikita Lastochkin remain locked in combat for third place in the standings, separated by just 20 points. Rookie Cunha, from Brazil, claimed his first pole position at Mid-Ohio and has every intention of overcoming his current five-point deficit to Fischer, from Los Angeles, Calif., who began his campaign with a streak of four consecutive podium finishes, while California-based Russian Lastochkin will be looking to reclaim the form which brought him a pair of podium results at Road America in June.

Team Pelfrey will field a fourth car this weekend for New York teenager Robert Megennis, who has been a regular front-runner in USF2000 competition and is looking to test the Pro Mazda waters in advance of an intended graduation to the brand-new Tatuus PM-18 chassis in 2018 – which will be on track at Watkins Glen for demo laps at 8:30 am on both Friday and Saturday.

Former SCCA National Champion Matt Machiko, from Pittsburgh, N.Y., is set to make his return to the series with ArmsUp Motorsports.

In the Team Championship, Team Pelfrey will be looking to defend its slender eight-point advantage over Juncos Racing. FatBoy Racing!’s Brendan Puderbach, from the Bronx, N.Y., also will be looking to tie up the National Championship at a track he knows well from his many years of competing in the East Coast-based F2000 Championship Series.

The Pro Mazda Watkins Glen Grand Prix Presented by Cooper Tires will kick off with a single 30-minute practice session at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Friday, followed by qualifying at 2:30 p.m. Race One will start at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. Qualifying for Race Two will take place a few hours later at 5:30 p.m., with the green flag for a highly anticipated season finale set for 7:55 a.m. on Sunday, September 3. 

Coverage of the Mazda Road to Indy can be found on a series of platforms including Road to Indy TV, the Road to Indy TV App and dedicated broadcast channels on demand via Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku and, most recently, the Xbox One Official App as well as live streaming and live timing on the series’ respective websites and indycar.com. Indy Lights is also featured on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts on Sirius 214, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app.


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