Team Pelfrey Salvages a Pair of Fourths from a Tough Weekend in St. Petersburg
 March 24, 2013| 
  • Team News

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Team Pelfrey traveled the few miles from its shop in Clearwater to the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with high expectations after winning on the demanding 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit in each of the past two years. Unfortunately, both Spencer Pigot and Petri Suvanto struggled to find front-running pace in their pair of Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires entries and had to be content with two fourth-place finishes.

Qualifying on Saturday morning went well with Suvanto and Pigot (LEFT, photo by Ron Bijlsma) posting the third and fourth fastest times to monopolize the second row of the grid. After an incident at the first corner of Saturday afternoon’s race, a dramatic restart saw Suvanto and Pigot bundled down to fourth and sixth. Worse, Suvanto incurred a “drive-through” penalty a few laps later, dropping him to 10th place. Pigot drove hard to finish fourth, while Suvanto picked up a couple of places in the late stages to cross the line eighth.

Race 2 on Sunday afternoon began with Suvanto third on the grid and Pigot sixth. Their positions were quickly reversed, with Suvanto catching his car’s rev limiter at the start and losing momentum on the run to the first corner. He emerged in seventh, two places behind his teammate. Pigot made up a place on Lap 10 to snare another fourth-place finish, albeit well behind the three leaders. Suvanto looked set for sixth until clipping a wall and breaking his car’s suspension on the final lap.

Team Pelfrey now has a two-month hiatus until Round 5 on the Lucas Oil Raceway oval in Indianapolis on Saturday, May 25, for the traditional “Night Before the 500."

Spencer Pigot (#81 Team Pelfrey/Doug Mockett & Company/Gap Guard/ Scents/OMP) – Race 1, qualified fourth, finished fourth; Race 2, started sixth, finished fourth:
“It hasn’t been the weekend we wanted in St. Petersburg. It was a great event, as always, and good to have a lot of support from all the families, friends and sponsors of the team and myself. I’m glad everyone could be here and at least we got away with two top-five finishes. We struggled a little bit with the balance of the car. We made some improvements but not enough to really fight for the win . It’s good to get some points on the board early in the season and we’re definitely going to be working hard to improve for the future.”

Petri Suvanto (#82 Team Pelfrey/ – Race 1, qualified third, finished eighth; Race 2, started third, finished 11th: “We came into the weekend with great expectations because we had good speed at Circuit of The Americas and obviously we struggled a lot this weekend. We worked hard and tried a lot of different things but didn’t quite get there and we have a lot of work to do to get where we want to be. Obviously, the finishing positions for both the races didn’t match what we expected and we’re definitely not happy, but the team’s working really hard, they did their best and I’m really confident we’ll find the momentum and be fighting for the wins again when we go to Indy in a couple of months.”

Dale Pelfrey’s race team, based in the St. Petersburg, Fla., area, is built upon the same principles he used 35 years ago when establishing his business career – hire the best, acquire the best and expect the best in order to achieve the most. After fielding cars in the IZOD IndyCar Series from 1998 until 2000, Team Pelfrey was reformed in 2011, winning on its Pro Mazda debut and going on to earn the Team Championship as well as second and third in the drivers’ title-chase with Connor De Phillippi and Nick Andries. Team Pelfrey went one better in 2012, guiding Jack Hawksworth to the Drivers’ Championship and earning a second successive Team Championship.

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