The first Pro Mazda race of the weekend is complete.
In a season with numerous ups and downs, Andretti Autosport’s Weiron Tan has another peak to call his own after his victory today in the Pro Mazda Championship race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The race was a makeup event after the second race at NOLA Motorsports Park was cancelled due to inclement weather, so the lineup was based off of times at the Avondale, Louisiana road course. As such, Tan started on pole with Pato O’Ward alongside him on row one.
Twenty-one cars took the green flag at the start of the 30 minute race but only 20 completed the first lap. Florian Latorre made contact with another car and went slightly airborne in the gravel trap coming out of the second corner. The 2014 USF2000 champion was out on the spot and the yellow flag was out.
Once the green flag came out again, it was clearly a three-way fight between Tan, Juncos Racing’s Timothe Buret and Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing’s Neil Alberico.
Alberico and Buret were battling fiercely with Tan, but that battle had to be cast aside as Tan’s teammate, Dalton Kellett, made contact with Kyle Connery heading into turn 7. Another full course yellow was called but the script was flipped soon after.
The restart saw Buret and Alberico fighting hard for second place against each other, allowing Tan to check out on the restart. However, Buret started to catch Tan near the end of the race.
The script was flipped yet again as Parker Nicklin went off track in turn 9, bringing out another full course yellow. However, despite there being little time left in the race, there was a chance for a one lap sprint to the finish.
Tan caught the field napping heading to the restart and checked out for the victory over Buret and Alberico. Team Pelfrey’s Santiago Urrutia finished fourth while Garett Grist was fifth.
Tan was upbeat about his momentum after his difficulties at the second race at Barber Motorsports Park.
“I think the momentum is there. We just got really unlucky with the calls and all that like what happened at Barber, sending me back to the end of the grid, I thought that was really unfair,” Tan said.
“But whatever the case, we just put our head down, we just continued to push, continued to work hard, it’s [my] first time here, we did really well I think. Lots more to work on but hopefully we do well for tomorrow and the day after.”
After the race at Barber Motorsports Park,
“I did have a conversation with the race director, and I don’t want to get into that but he assured me that the next time, if anything happens, he will do something post race rather than during the race, so I was assured of that and I trust him. I hope they all do a better job next time,” Tan said.
Buret was complimentary of Tan’s restart.
“Weiron did a really good restart, it surprised me, he got to the power very early, so I could do nothing,” Buret said.
There were some big gainers in the race today. Alberico gained five positions from eighth to third, 2014 Pro Mazda vice champion Scott Hargrove went from 16th to seventh while USF2000-now-Pro Mazda driver Victor Franzoni moved up from 17th to tenth.