Spencer Pigot was flawless in Round Five of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.
Birmingham, Ala. - The 21-year-old from Orlando, Fla., Spencer Pigot, started from the pole in just his fourth Indy Lights start, took the lead at the green flag and pulled away to a clear victory for Juncos Racing.
Last year's championship runner-up, Jack Harvey (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian), from Lincoln, England, couldn't keep pace with the American and finished a full 6.7109 seconds in arrears after 30 laps around the challenging 2.3-mile, 17-turn Barber Motorsports Park. Teammate RC Enerson, from New Port Richey, Fla., the youngest driver in the field at just 18, made his first visit to the podium after holding off a race-long challenge from series points leader Ed Jones (Carlin), whose three-race win streak came to an end.
Pigot is a poster boy for the Mazda Road to Indy after twice finishing second in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and then winning last year's Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. He has kept the progression going by claiming third in his first two Indy Lights starts at St. Petersburg, Fla., then mounting an impressive charge to second one week ago on the streets of Long Beach, Calif. This weekend it was his turn to shine. Fastest in practice and quickest again yesterday afternoon in qualifying, Pigot pulled farther away from Harvey with virtually every lap to claim a textbook victory.
A fine start by Enerson saw him make up two positions on the first lap, earning him the RePlay XD Move of the Race Award. The runner-up in last year's USF2000 title-chase then belied his relative lack of experience by driving a flawless race and never allowing a close-following Jones any opportunity to pounce. The result followed on the heels of a fourth-place finish at Long Beach.
Ex-F1 racer Max Chilton (Carlin), from Reigate, England, followed close behind in fifth at the finish with Felix Serralles (Belardi Auto Racing) in sixth. Juan Piedrahita (Schmidt Peterson) came out on top of a gripping battle for seventh with Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing), who lost three positions at the start after qualifying fourth, then surrendered another place with a quick spin at Turn 14 on Lap Five.
Sean Rayhall, making his debut for 8Star Motorsports, also was involved in a skirmish at Turn One on the opening lap, forcing him into the pits for repairs. He returned one lap in arrears and later took advantage of a fresh set of Cooper tires to shatter the existing race lap record with a best of 1:13.8312 on Lap 24.
The weekend's second race for the Legacy Indy Lights 100 will take the green flag tomorrow for a 60-minute contest at 12:10 p.m. Central Daylight Time. Live timing and commentary will be available on the new Mazda Road to Indy App with live streaming at racecontrol.indycar.com. The race will air on NBCSN later that evening at 11:00 pm CDT.
Spencer Pigot (#12 Mazda/Doug Mockett & Company/Rising Star Racing/The Stutz/BAD/OMP-Juncos Racing): "I made a good jump at the start and I knew Jack wasn't beside me so I could take a good line into Turn One. It's a very difficult place to pass anyway, but especially when you're close to each other in speed. I knew that first lap would be really important to get out in front and stay in front. I worked at hitting my marks, using up all the road and not looking in my mirrors too much. This is a track I enjoy - I've had a lot of success here, as has the team. It's very satisfying to be up here with these other guys who have won championships all over the world. We're really competing against top-quality competition, which makes this all the more satisfying."