Pigot Seeks to Build on Early-Season Momentum
 April 24, 2014| 
  • Series News
Palmetto, Fla. – The new auto racing season is barely under way but the level of intensity will be high when all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy travel this week to Barber Motorsports Park in rural Alabama. Talented young Americans Zach Veach, Spencer Pigot and RC Enerson have grasped early advantages in their respective championship chases and will be looking to maintain their momentum as each series will host a pair of races which will once again run in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series.

The highly acclaimed – and unique – development ladder offers opportunities for talented drivers to graduate all the way from the grass roots of the sport to the Verizon IndyCar Series with MAZDASPEED scholarship prizes at every stage. The various levels – beginning with the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and progressing through the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires to Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires – have attracted drivers from around the globe. In all, 16 different nations will be represented among the three series this weekend.
 
After finishing a close second in the USF2000 points table both in 2011 and 2012 – tantalizingly close to a coveted MAZDASPEED scholarship prize – Spencer Pigot fully intends to set the record straight this year in Pro Mazda. The 20-year-old from Orlando, Fla., won once during his rookie campaign in 2013 and has used that experience to excellent effect, setting a torrid pace this year after joining the 2010 championship-winning team, Juncos Racing.

Pigot comfortably won the four-race preseason Cooper Tires Winterfest mini-series – and was fastest in every single session at Barber Motorsports Park – then began the “regular season” in similarly imperious style by cantering to a pair of wins on the streets of St. Petersburg in March.

“Winning both races at St. Pete was extremely important and the perfect start to the season,” said Pigot. “It's great to have the points on the board so early; it gives everyone on the team a lot of confidence going into Barber. But there are still lots of races left so we'll keep working hard to stay on top.

“Barber is a pretty difficult track but a ton of fun to drive,” he continued. “You've got a good mix of fast and slow corners with a lot of elevation change which is exciting. I think qualifying will be key because it's a hard track to pass on. We were fast there at the Winterfest so I'm feeling good about our chances this weekend.”

Fellow American, series sophomore and Juncos Racing teammate Kyle Kaiser, 18, from Santa Clara, Calif., has clearly learned from Pigot’s pace and currently lies second in the championship, 15 points adrift, following a pair of second-place finishes.

Brazilian Pipo Derani, a veteran of Formula 3 in Europe, also has showed a good turn of pace for Team Pelfrey, finishing on the podium in Race Two at St. Petersburg. Other likely standouts will include 19-year-old Canadian Scott Hargrove, who won the 2013 USF2000 championship and, stepping up into Pro Mazda with his team, Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, claimed his first victory during the Winterfest at Barber in February; and American Shelby Blackstock, the son of country singing star Reba McEntire, from Nashville, Tenn., who is looking to rebound from a disappointing start to his season with Andretti Autosport.

Two promoter test sessions on Thursday for the 21 Pro Mazda contenders will lead into practice at 8:15 a.m. CT on Friday, followed by qualifying at 1:15 p.m. Round Three is slated to start at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 26, and Round Four at 8:50 a.m. on Sunday.
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