O’Ward’s fourth victory gives him a championship break
Team Pelfrey kept up its perfect win record in Pro Mazda thanks to “Pato” O’Ward’s victory at IMS, but a slip by teammate and prime championship rival Aaron Telitz broke Pelfrey’s string of 1-2s.
Today’s race on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.439-mile road course saw Telitz finish only seventh, and has thus presented his 17-year-old teammate with a 31-point lead in the championship.
The Mexican, who is currently driving on a race-to-race basis due to budgetary concerns, racked up his fourth victory in the opening five races of the 2016 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, and he did so in dominant fashion.
O’Ward commented: “Even though I was out in front, I kept pushing, because when you lay off is when you make mistakes.
“It’s hard to be quick and consistent through a race. I did my job and the team did their job.
“I really appreciate the support from Mazda and Cooper Tires, and TopoChico and Gap Guard, which is why I’m here. These wins are going to them and to Team Pelfrey, because without them, I wouldn’t be on the top step of the podium this season.”
Telitz, who qualified a surprising 0.4sec shy of his teammate, overcooked his entry speed into Turn 5 on the opening lap, slid wide, and was then passed by Juncos Racing’s Will Owen down the backstraight.
When Telitz compounded his error by defending too vigorously into Turn 7 and sliding wide onto the grass, he dropped to ninth, and thus allowed Owen an easy run to second place, almost seven seconds behind O’Ward but almost nine seconds clear of Juncos teammates Jake Parsons and Garett Grist who battled for third all the way to the checkered flag.
Nicolas Dapero might have made it a Juncos 2-3-4-5, as he passed Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing ace Nico Jamin on the third lap and looked certain to threaten the other Cape car of Jake Eidson. However, Jamin repassed Dapero two laps later and would also depose of Eidson on Lap 11. Finally, a recovering Telitz would relegate Dapero to eighth.
Round Six starts at 10:20am ET tomorrow.
O’Ward scores second Pro Mazda win of the weekend
O’Ward holds off strong challenge for victory