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Race Recap: MRTI at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course & F1600 at Pittsburgh International Race Complex

Juan Piedrahita

No. 2 Polipetrosur Team Pelfrey Mazda

Race 1: Qualified 11th / Finished 10th

Race 2: Qualified 8th / Finished 11th

  • Juan Piedrahita carried the momentum from his strong Toronto showing and once again displayed competitive pace at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

  • The Colombian drove consistently throughout the rollercoaster doubleheader weekend as the team made minor adjustments to the No. 2 Polipetrosur machine, ultimately allowing Piedrahita to battle with the points leaders in Race Two.

“We had a difficult weekend as we had issues in both races, had a great run on Race Two but had contact with Kyle (Kaiser) mid race, it was disappointing because I think we would've finished on the top-five.”

Nikita Lastochkin

No. 80 Russkaya Mekhanika Team Pelfrey Mazda

Race 1: Qualified 5th / Finished 5th

Race 2: Qualified 4th / Finished 5th

Race 3: Qualified 4th / Finished 6th

  • The Russian had an outstanding start in Race Two after battling with teammate Carlos Cunha throughout the 26-lap contest, however his chances of claiming a podium finish diminished after making contact with lapped traffic.

  • Lastochkin continues to show consistency as the 12 Round championship progresses. The Race Two finish marks his seventh top-five finish in the 2017 season.

"I was really looking forward to the last race because I saved a set of new tires for which it should have given us an advantage to the cars in front. Once it all started it was clear that something was wrong and the car had no grip in the rear for which is a shame when it falls on your race set. Having competitors gradually drive away into the distance is never fun, but I was happy with my performance.”

TJ Fischer

No. 82 Project 02 Team Pelfrey Mazda

Race 1: Qualified 4th / Finished 3rd

Race 2: Qualified 5th / Finished 4th

Race 3: Qualified 5th / Finished 4th

  • Despite an unfortunate start to the weekend due to engine issues, Fischer recovered securing a third-place finish in Race One.

  • Fischer continued to show pace rounding out the weekend with two fourth-place finishes throughout the action-packed weekend.

“The weekend started out awesome. The first practice was great, then we started rolling into everything and eventually we had an engine let-go, which is unfortunate. Then we had another engine issue at the start of qualifying, which made it tricky for us. We were able to put in five laps in qualifying, just throw a time up there. I qualified fourth, which I think is pretty good because at Mid-Ohio you need time, it’s only a 20-minute qualifying session and it generally takes 15 minutes to get the peak of the lap time. So, to do that in under five minutes I think is pretty good. From there, we raced the entire race with my teammate, and eventually we made a move and passed him on the outside of the carousel and got it done for the podium-finish. So, getting a third there was awesome. I think it was a lot more than we could hope for. Then, the next two races, we had solid races, with good starts. On the last race, I got a couple passes on the outside into the keyhole to make up some spots and pretty much ran my own race, pretty much, and ended up finishing fourth. We were missing a little bit, but a big credit to Team Pelfrey for bouncing back from the struggles we had to salvage something from the weekend. A podium and two fourth-place finishes, I think is a pretty good run for this, for sure.”

Carlos Cunha

No. 81 Team Pelfrey Mazda

Race 1: Qualified 1st / Finished 4th Race 2: Qualified 3rd / Finished 3rd

Race 3: Qualified 2nd / Finished 3rd

  • Carlos Cunha enjoyed his most competitive outing in the Pro Mazda Championship to-date by securing his maiden pole position, along with two competitive third-place finishes.

  • The 17-year-old continued to improve as the weekend concluded clinching his third podium finish in his first year of open-wheel racing in the United States.

“When I arrived here, I was just thinking that I needed to go through the process and do my best. It was my first pole position in the Mazda Road to Indy and even though I didn’t have the best green lap, I was pleased with how I drove. We just need to keep focused and keep working hard because Team Pelfrey is doing incredible work.”

Robert Megennis:

No. 80 Palo Alto Networks Team Pelfrey Mazda

Race 1: Qualified 9th // Finished 17th

Race 2: Qualified 12th // Finished 7th

  • The qualifying sessions at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course were plagued by interruptions and though results weren’t all Megennis had hoped for, the weekend proved once again why he was awarded as the Tilton Hard Charger in 2016.

  • Megennis advanced a total of ten positions in Race One and remarkably completed fifteen passes combined in Race One and Two.

“Overall it was fun weekend, I made a total of fifteen passes in both races, but we never really nailed the car setup for both races. Mid-Ohio is a tough place to pass, but I was able to make some passes. Even though the results don’t really show, I was still really pleased with the way that I drove.”

Kaylen Frederick

No. 81 Pilot ONE Racing Team Pelfrey Mazda

Race 1: Qualified 8th// Finished 7th

Race 2: Qualified 7th// Finished 3rd

  • Frederick, 15, added another podium to his Mazda Road to Indy record with a fine drive in Race Two at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, advancing from seventh to third.

  • The youngest driver in the Mazda Road to Indy, drove consistently in Race One securing a top-ten finish.

“We started out the weekend quick, improving the car every session. Unfortunately, qualifying was compromised for me due to very different conditions in the morning session, causing the tire temperature to come up too slowly. In both races, I had to make multiple passes to make it to the front. Race One was difficult for me because I was having a hard time setting up passes. I learned from that and put to use what I had discovered from Race One. Now it seemed almost too easy! I was very happy with the team and myself, for the effort and preparation that went in for this final race. I'm ready to carry this momentum into the final round at the Glen!”

Phillippe Denes

No. 82 Team Pelfrey Mazda

Race 1: Qualified 6th// Finished 18th

Race 2: Qualified 15th// Finished 18th

  • After starting the season in the Pro Mazda Championship series, Denes returned to the USF2000 Championship with his teammates from Laguna Seca in 2016.

  • Denes qualified sixth ahead of his teammates in Race One. As the race results don’t show, Denes drove consistently and continued to improve over the course of the weekend.

“My first weekend back in USF2000 was a big learning curve. After driving the Pro Mazda earlier in the year, it was a big adjustment for me to come and change driving style and come into the race with no testing. Although we didn't get the results to show what we were capable of I think it was a very positive weekend nonetheless. I'd like to thank everyone at Team Pelfrey for all their hard work and keeping my chin up throughout the weekend. I'm looking forward to the next one and I'm sure we'll come back stronger.”

Matthew Cowley

No. 80 Cardio Wall Team Pelfrey

Race 1: Qualified 2nd // Finished 3rd

Race 2: Qualified 3rd // Finished 2nd

Race 3: Qualified 4th// Finished 2nd

“We had a great weekend for points team. Pelfrey supplied a great car to challenge for the win. Unfortunately, we never managed to come away with a win due to incidents that occurred that were out of my control. Overall, a solid weekend for Team Pelfrey coming away with their first podium sweep of the year.”

Jonathan Kotyk

No. 81 Gap Guard Team Pelfrey

Race 1: Qualified 3rd // Finished 1st

Race 2: Qualified 1st // Finished 1st

Race 3: Qualified 3rd// Finished 1st

“From Team USA Scholarship interviews to sweeping all three race wins for Team Pelfrey and Gap Guard, there is no better feeling. The racing was tougher each race as everyone found speed each race. Missing Friday practice I had to make sure to be at the top of my game Saturday and Sunday. This was a team effort this weekend as Nick helped me fine tune my driving while Geoff, Ben, and Steve dialed in the car. I can't thank them enough for giving me the tools I needed to bring home the hardware.”

David Osborne

No. 82 Trinity Karting Group Team Pelfrey

Race 1: Qualified 4th // Finished 4th

Race 2: Qualified 5th// Finished 5th

Race 3: Qualified 2nd // Finished 3rd

"This weekend was quite he challenge. The Team USA Scholarship interviews on Friday were such an incredible opportunity that I am honored to have been invited to. Unfortunately, the missed practice time delayed our setup progress for Saturday and the rest of the weekend was hard fought to get back to the front. Ending the weekend on an all Team Pelfrey Podium was a great cap to the event, even if I wasn’t standing on the step I wanted. Looking forward to heading to summit point in about a month!”

Team Pelfrey’s F1600 team will travel to Summit Point in West Virginia on August 25-27 as Indy Lights and Pro Mazda travel to Gateway Motorsports Park in Illinois on August 25-26. For media inquiries contact Chelsea Timmerman at or follow @TeamPelfrey on social media.

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