Team Pelfrey, Urrutia Second in Points After St. Petersburg
 March 30, 2015| 
  • Team News

Palmetto, Fla. – Team Pelfrey was well-represented this weekend as the Mazda Road to Indy, which offers “scholarships” for drivers to progress all the way from the grassroots of the sport to the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, kicked off its season on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., just a few miles from the team’s base in Palmetto. Santiago “Santi” Urrutia and Patricio “Pato” O’Ward both earned top-four finishes from the opening rounds of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, while Garth Rickards, Nikita Lastochkin, Ayla Agren and Luke Gabin all finished among the top 10 in at least one of the two races on the first step of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Urrutia, 18, from Miguelete, Uruguay, played a starring role in the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of St. Petersburg for Pro Mazda. After a bold pass of front-row qualifier Daniel Burkett on Lap 2 of the opening race on Saturday, Urrutia maintained second place throughout the half-hour contest to conclude his debut with a well-earned visit to the podium. Teammate O’Ward, originally from Monterrey, Mexico, and now a resident of San Antonio, Texas, ran as high as third before being involved in an incident and settling for a fourth-place finish.

O’Ward wasn’t so fortunate in Race Two on Sunday, forced out by a first-lap accident, but Urrutia continued to impress by making another excellent start and finishing just off the podium in fourth. Urrutia is placed second in driver points following the first weekend of the 16-race season, while Team Pelfrey lies second in the Team standings.

Both Pro Mazda and USF2000 teams will continue their seasons in two weeks’ time, April 10-12, at NOLA Motorsports Park, just a few miles from downtown New Orleans, once again in support of the Verizon Indycar Series.

WHAT THE DRIVERS SAID:

Santiago “Santi” Urrutia (#81 Team Pelfrey/Ancap/BSE/Antel/Corporacion de Maquinaria/AgroLavalle/Fadisol) - Race One, started third, finished second; Race Two, started fourth, finished fourth: “I really enjoyed my Mazda Road to Indy debut, and to get a second and fourth represents great points for the championship. After this weekend, I understand how important qualifying is in this series, and that will be an area we will be focusing on improving. Really looking forward to NOLA as the team performed well there in WinterFest. I have to thank Team Pelfrey, my partners and the love from my family for making all of this possible.”

Patricio “Pato” O’Ward (#82 Team Pelfrey/Octane Energy Drink/POW Motorsports) - Race One, started sixth, finished fourth; Race Two, started eighth, finished 14th: “It was a rough start to the 2015 season. It was my first time in a street course and my fourth time in the Pro Mazda car. We were progressing and kept improving but unfortunately had a bad qualifying session which put us in a tough position to start. Race One we had amazing pace until I made contact with third place which bent my left-front wheel and I started to struggle to keep up the pace. Race Two I had an incident in Turn Four which put me out of the race. I have learned from my mistakes and will get better and better during the season. I can't wait for the next race to turn this disappointment in myself around and get some momentum back. Thanks to Team Pelfrey for this opportunity and for believing in me. Now it’s time for me to give back everything that they have given me!”

ABOUT TEAM PELFREY:
Dale Pelfrey’s race team, based in Palmetto, Fla., is built upon the same principles he used more than 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 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. An expansion into the F1600 Championship Series for 2014 saw Ayla Agren, Garth Rickards and Augie Lerch secure the top three positions in the points table. The 2015 season also marks Team Pelfrey’s debut in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

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