Indianapolis, IN – After a two-month long hiatus, Team Pelfrey and drivers Nikita Lastochkin, Carlos Cunha and TJ Fischer claimed three podiums; two from Fischer and one from Cunha, who clinched his first podium finish of his career in the United States.
The weekend began with great pace from the 24-year-old Fischer, leading the Pelfrey power trio with second place finishes in practice, qualifying session one and in session two, placing his No. 82 #Race2TheRescue Team Pelfrey Mazda on the front row. For Cunha and Lastochkin, the Pro Mazda rookies held their own and came away with top-five starting positions for both races.
Race One began with the Asthma Awareness advocate, Fischer on the outside row one beside Franzoni with teammates Cunha in fourth-position and Lastochkin in the fifth. As the laps quickly diminished, Fischer collected his first of two podium finishes of the weekend at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis Presented by Royal Purple Supporting the Lupus Foundation. Brazilian Cunha secured another solid result in fourth-position as Lastochkin finished in sixth.
In the second race, the Pelfrey group settled into the race early, maintaining their starting positions and acclimating to the cool track temperatures. As the race developed, so did their Mazda’s. Longer and more consistent runs were the key to maintain their top-five positions and it ended up paying off. Lastochkin finished fifth, Cunha in third and Fischer in second, tallying his fourth consecutive podium finish and best career Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires weekend.
Nikita Lastochkin (No. 80 RKM Team Pelfrey Mazda): “I wish we had a little more pace this weekend, but we attacked starts and restarts and I loved being aggressive out there. Getting a top-five is great momentum heading to Road America.”
Carlos Cunha (No. 81 EMS Team Pelfrey Mazda): “I’m so happy to get my first podium in America and on the Mazda Road to Indy, not just for me but for my family and support here and back home in Brazil. We’re getting better and better and I’m so excited for Road America. It’s a big track so having speed quickly will be crucial for us.”
TJ Fischer (No. 82 #Race2TheRescue Team Pelfrey Mazda): “We get off the line, Victor had a slow start, and I just got swallowed up by the field. I think we were back around seventh after turn one. Once I got through, the majority of the pack, I battled with my teammate, Nikita, and eventually spent most of the race by myself after that. It was a 30-minute race, so I didn’t have time to reel in the top two, but we ran our race and brought it home third. For race two, thankfully, there was no headwind! Plus, Anthony Martin gave me a push at the start, so we were like a freight-train down to turn one. I was actually P1 for a little bit on the front stretch, but then Victor Franzoni raced me really hard through one and got the spot back. From there, we just ran our own race and finished in a really awesome second position.”