Rising Star Racing Set for Championship Weekend
 September 8, 2015| 
  • Team News
Indianapolis, Ind. – This is the weekend that has long been anticipated for Rising Star Racing as the Mazda Road to Indy championships will be decided at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Both Spencer Pigot and Neil Alberico are in the thick of the championship hunt in their respective categories as the 2015 season culminates with a double-header event for both the Indy Lights and Pro Mazda Series.

Pigot, who won last year’s Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in the season finale, is second in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship driving for Juncos Racing and is just six points out of the lead. Meanwhile Alberico, who drives for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, is second in the Pro Mazda standings, 29 points out of the top spot.

Both young drivers have shown well throughout the 2015 season in what has been an exemplary display of why they were selected as drivers for the Rising Star Racing program. Each has raced to victory four times in 2015 which was highlighted by a banner day at Barber Motorsports Park when Josef Newgarden broke through for his first IndyCar win and all three Rising Star Racing drivers drove to victory on the same day.

To date, Pigot has stood on the podium eight times in 2015 while Alberico claimed a podium result seven times.

“To have all three of our drivers be eligible for the championship in the final race weekend of the year for each of their categories is a remarkable testament to the depth of talent that Josef (Newgarden), Spencer (Pigot) and Neil (Alberico) possess,” said Art Wilmes, Founder and Director of Rising Star Racing. 

The Indy Lights Champion will be crowned on Sunday and will receive a $1 million scholarship toward the Verizon IndyCar Series with three guaranteed races, including the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. For Pigot, who climbed the Mazda Road to Indy ladder after finding success in karting, to win the Indy Lights championship would be a big step forward to achieving his ultimate goal of competing in the Verizon Indycar Series. 

“I’ve been a part of the Mazda Road to Indy for years and I wouldn’t be in Indy Lights if not for them,” said Pigot. “We’ve raced on the same tracks as the IndyCar guys and it’s the best of the best out here. The competition is tough. We’re going into the final weekend with the same plan we’ve had all year, which is to just do our best. Hopefully we can get pole position and stay out front in the races. If we do that, then everything else takes care of itself. In the back of our minds, we know that no matter what, we have to beat Jack (Harvey, championship contender). If we don’t find ourselves out front, that will be our next goal, to make sure we gain points in the first race and see what we can do in the second race.”

Alberico, who resides in Los Gatos, Calif., calls Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca his home track and hopes to use that to his advantage in his ambition to win the Pro Mazda championship and the $500,000+ scholarship from Mazda that comes with it to graduate into Indy Lights next season.

“I grew up right here in Los Gatos and I can remember my dad taking me to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca all the time as a kid,” said Alberico. “We watched all our friends race here when I was racing karts and aspiring to do what they do. I remember watching the sports car season finales finish in the dark, fireworks and all! I'd be in the team garage curled up with a blanket with the team’s headphones on listening to them call the race. Now, here we are several years later and I'm on the other side of the pit wall racing myself and gunning for a championship! I’m so thankful to be racing in the Pro Mazda series and I can’t thank everyone enough who has supported me to get here.”

The Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca event will kick off with testing on Thursday, followed by official practice on Friday. Saturday will feature qualifying for both Pro Mazda and Indy Lights in the morning followed by Race 1 for both divisions in the afternoon. The championships will be decided on Sunday afternoon with Race 2 to take place for Pro Mazda at 11:40 AM PST and Indy Lights at 2:40 PM PST.

Follow the Mazda Road to Indy events on the Road to Indy TV app which features live commentary as well as timing and scoring.
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