Roller-coaster weekend results in title.
One fast lap does not a champion make. Taking the title after a season of racing requires preparation, speed, and focus from corner to corner, lap to lap, and race to race through a full calendar to earn the title “Champion.”
Rising Star Racing’s Spencer Pigot did just that on Saturday, closing out a roller coaster weekend at Sonoma Raceway to take the 2014 Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tires Series Championship.
Pigot, who opened the season with a storybook run of victories to establish himself as a championship contender from the outset, fought through adversity through the middle stages of the season to arrive at the double header weekend with a 16-point advantage.
But contact during a battle for the lead in Friday’s Race 1 left Pigot with a broken car and behind in the championship standings. After being the fastest car in the Saturday morning warm-up, the championship story once again went off-script as Pigot was knocked to the back of the pack in the opening corner of Race 2.
On to Indy Lights
But the young American never lost focus, racing his way up to finish fifth in Race 2 and secure a significant support package to help push him toward a chance to compete in the 2015 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires Championship.
“I had a decent start, I was right with Scott (Hargrove, championship combatant) going into turn two and I got hit from behind,” said Pigot. “I was sure someone was going to hit me. I’m glad the car stayed together! But you never know what’s going to happen in racing or with the car, so I knew the only thing I could do was pass everyone in front of me as fast as I could. I just put my head down and was able to pick off one or two guys each lap. I couldn’t be happier to finish fifth and I’m very happy for the team (Juncos Racing), they’ve been amazing this year. I’m also happy that my two teammates were able to get wins this weekend.”
The final race, which saw action at the start and then a final twist of the championship story as a mechanical issue for his championship combatant saw Pigot reap the seeds that he planted from the first laps of the year in St. Petersburg.
“We’ve had our fair share of disappointing ends of championships, my supporters and my family, and we knew it had to change sometime,” said Pigot. “Today, we had both good and bad luck but luckily the good was at the end. I’ve been second twice but I haven’t won a championship since Skip Barber so I’m glad to finally be on top. This is going to be my third Mazda scholarship – I definitely wouldn’t be here without the support of Mazda and the support they give to all the young drivers in the Mazda Road to Indy so I’m going to be very happy to take that money off of them and go shopping to drive one of those beautiful new Dallara IL-15s.”