St. Petersburg, Fla. – Team Pelfrey’s USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda trio made up of Robert Megennis, Kaylen Frederick and Ayla Agren made a rock-solid start to the 2017 Mazda Road to Indy season. The curtain raiser took place in bright sunshine on the 1.8-mile street circuit at the Hi-Tide Boat Lifts Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Bringing home his first series win, Robert Megennis also laid claim to the team’s first USF2000 Championship Series win.
The trio had a stellar first qualifying session in which Megennis captured his first pole position and teammates Frederick and Agren qualified fifth and thirteenth for race one respectively. However, a yellow flag mid-session during Friday’s second qualifying session reduced the drivers’ time to qualify and prevented all three from showing their true potential. This resulted in qualifying fifth, seventh, and tenth for race two.
Megennis led the field at the opening green flag of the season for race one and was successful in opening a gap in the opening stages, before Oliver Askew closed in and challenged him for the lead over the final 3 laps. Megennis stood firm, however, and duly clinched his first win on the Mazda Road to Indy. Teammate Frederick skillfully maneuvered his way to finish fourth, while gearbox issues ended the race early for Agren.
Saturday afternoon once again brought clear blue skies and perfect conditions for race two where the Team Pelfrey trio hoped to continue the momentum gained from Megennis’ win earlier that morning. The yellow #PelfreyPower machines progressed through the field as Frederick captured a well-earned top 5 and Agren drove to a solid twelfth-place finish. Unfortunately, in the closing laps of the race, Megennis was involved in an incident as he was defending his second-place position that ultimately ended his race.
Team Pelfrey will travel to Barber Motorsports Park April 21-23 for the third and fourth rounds of the championship. Keep up with the action at @TeamPelfrey on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, or visit pelfreypower.com.
Robert Megennis, No. 80: “What an awesome weekend. WE GOT OUR FIRST RACE WIN! Even with the crash in race two, I'm still super happy. We showed serious pace and that we're going to be in this fight. I can't thank Team Pelfrey enough for giving me a flying car, and Palo Alto Networks for getting me here. I'm pumped and ready to take it to Barber!”
Kaylen Frederick, No. 81: "I came into the weekend with little to no expectations. I wanted to get a feel for what it's like to race with wings and aero. Also, this is my first time I raced on a street course in a car so this event was a first for many things. I started out kind of rough in first practice, finishing in the wall because of the surface changes they made in turn 3. We were a bit off in qualifying because I had to regain my confidence, and traffic was becoming more of an issue than I would have hoped, but I stayed towards the top. Race two I made a 'rookie' mistake while trying to fend off the guys in 4th and 5th positions. Although two top five finishes isn’t a bad way to round up the opening event of the MRTI season, there are areas to grow and learn from.”
Ayla Agren, No. 82: “Feels really good to have finally got the season going. Always good to be back in St. Pete, practice started well with a P4 in the session. Unfortunately, I didn't really show the maximum of what we had in qualifying, making it tougher than it needed to be for the races. R1 ended with a mechanical issue, but we got it sorted and started R2 in P10. Was involved in a little mix up in the start which put me back a couple of spots, and we ended at P12. Not what we were looking for as the season starter, but I know we have the speed to be fighting up front, so I am super pumped to be back on track at Barber Motorsports Park."