Rising Star Racing Drivers Warming up for 2014
 February 20, 2014| 
  • Team News

Newgarden, Alberico and Pigot busy with pre-season preparation and winter competition

New Orleans, La. - Besides not winning a race, the hardest thing for most racing drivers is waiting for the next one.

Fortunately for Rising Star Racing pilots Josef Newgarden, Spencer Pigot and Neil Alberico, that long wait is drawing to the close as all three look forward to the season-opening IndyCar event in St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 28-30.

For Pigot and Alberico, the countdown is even more accelerated as the two are set to race in the 2014 Cooper Tires Winterfest for Pro Mazda starting this week.

The Cooper Tires Winterfest for Pro Mazda is a four-race championship, with the opening two rounds held at NOLA Motorsports Park February 21-22, and the final two races set to be held at Barber Motorsports Park February 25-26. The Birmingham, Ala., track will also play host to the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires when the series visits the track April 26-27 as part of the IndyCar event weekend.

For both Alberico and Pigot, the Winterfest will give the young guns the chance to develop their working relationships with their full season teams. Alberico is set to race the full Pro Mazda Championship for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing while Pigot has been signed by Juncos Racing for the 2014 campaign.

“It feels like it has been entirely too long since being in a race car and I’ve absolutely been counting down the days for the Winterfest!” said Pigot, who will relocate to Indianapolis to be closer to the Juncos Racing team shop this season. “It is just four races but I think this is a great chance for us to prepare for the regular Pro Mazda championship. I know these Juncos Racing guys well, but the more experience you have with a team, the better you can communicate and operate and that will be key this year with how competitive the Pro Mazda field is.”

For Alberico, he will arrive in New Orleans with a fresh set of racing experience under his belt after the California native spent five weeks racing in New Zealand as part of his Team USA Scholarship program.

“The past five weeks of the Toyota Racing Series have been incredibly intense and a wonderful learning experience,” said Alberico. “It was great to get more race time under my belt. We had a great test at NOLA before I left for New Zealand so hopefully we can come back and build on that this week. It's great to be able to come from one side of the world to another and go straight back into racing. I can't wait to compete again at Winterfest in a few days with the Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing boys.”

It hasn’t just been the young guns who have been busy, as Rising Star Racing pilot Newgarden was recently in action at Sebring International Raceway, the long-held stomping grounds for IndyCar teams to test in the offseason. Ready for a breakout season with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, Newgarden got to sample the new twin-turbo layout from Honda during testing as he looks ahead to a strong start in 2014.

“I love testing at Sebring, especially after having such a harsh winter in Indianapolis!” said Newgarden. “It’s great to be in an Indycar in these conditions, and it is great for all the (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing) guys. We’ve had a couple of very good days down here. We tested in December and when we got back down here this week, we had a list of what we wanted to do to build on that test. The car has been great and we’ve ticked every item off our list that we wanted to so it has been really productive. You can not get complacent with this car, and we have to just stay on top of it to be ready to go in St. Pete.”

Race one of the Cooper Tires Winterfest will be staged on February 21. Follow www.twitter.com/risingstar racing for updates.

2014 Cooper Tires Winterfest:
NOLA Motorsports Park      February 21-22    Rounds 1 & 2
Barber Motorsports Park    February 25-26    Rounds 3 & 4

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