LEEDS, Ala. - Kaylen Frederick, the youngest Mazda Road to Indy driver in the paddock, clinched his first MRTI podiums as he drove the yellow #81 Pilot One Racing Team Pelfrey
machine to two second place finishes in rounds three and four of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda at Barber Motorsports Park. Teammates Robert Megennis and Ayla Agren showed great pace throughout the doubleheader weekend which saw all on track running completed in dry conditions and all three Team Pelfrey drivers finish every session inside the top ten.
The team staged their Tatuus USF-17 Mazda powered cars on pit lane for the first twenty-minute qualifying session around the 2.83-mile road course on Friday morning. Frederick produced a strong performance on his way to second, as Grand Prix of St Petersburg race winner Megennis qualified fourth, and Agren slotted into seventh position in the No. 82 Team Pelfrey/Energima car.
The first race of the weekend, round three of the championship, got underway later that afternoon, and the #PelfreyPower trio got to work applying heavy pressure on the competition throughout. Frederick maintained his second position at the start, and went about putting huge pressure on Oliver Askew throughout the thirty-minute encounter. With passing proving to be difficult, the leaders maintained their positions until the checkered flag, with Megennis also clambering all over the back of the third placed car during the race. Agren, who dropped outside of the top ten at the start, was able to fight her way back to the eighth position with a couple of fantastic overtakes.
Saturday morning brought about the second leg of qualifying, and the Pelfrey trio found themselves in similar positions to Friday’s qualifying session. Frederick qualified second behind Cape Motorsport’s Oliver Askew. New Yorker Megennis qualified fifth in his No. 80 Palo Alto Networks Team Pelfrey Mazda as teammate Agren qualified ninth.
As the green flag waved in the late afternoon sunshine to start the Mazda USF2000 Grand Prix of Alabama, Askew held the advantage over 14-year old Frederick. However, that didn’t stop the yellow #PelfreyPower machine from putting tremendous pressure on Askew once again during the 30-minute race. Ultimately, Frederick ran wide at turn one on Lap 11 allowing Askew to maintain a gap for the final laps. Frederick placed second, as Megennis and Agren finished sixth and eighth respectively after an exciting encounter that saw plenty of action at the start and on the re-start.
Team Pelfrey will return to action on May 12-13 at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Stay tuned for our new web series, #PelfreyPower Debriefs @TeamPelfrey on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or visit www.pelfreypower.com
Robert Megennis, No. 80: "This weekend was a little rough. I started 4th in race 1 and finished in that position. The top 4 ran nose to tail the whole race, but I just could've get any moves done. In race 2 I was aiming to move up after my fifth place starting spot, but some unavoidable contact on the first lap sent me back down the field. I recovered the best I could to finish 6th. Even though we didn't make it to the podium, we scored solid points, showed serious speed, learned a ton, and made a lot of progress. I can't thank all of Team Pelfrey and Palo Alto Networks for making this happen. Many positives to move forward with. Onward to Indy!"
Kaylen Frederick, No. 81: “Overall, it was a great step forward. Every session I improved my driving and the car. Although we couldn't quite get pole for qualifying, I sure gave Askew a run for his money. We have one of the best if not the best car under race conditions. I learned a lot this weekend and I'm ready to move forward on to Indy, where we will continue to improve and fight for the win. The team did a great job with setting up the car, and I couldn't be more thankful with what they have given me. We can only move forwards from here!”
Ayla Agren, No. 82: “Overall a decent weekend for us at Barber Motorsports Park this year. With two top 10s that's good points, but we have to work to utilize the speed we have so the results can show for what we really can. It's an improvement every weekend, and I am very positive going into "the month of May" with the Indy GP. The Team Pelfrey guys never stop working to take the next step and neither do I, so together as a team I know we will soon be where we are meant to.”