Telitz Looking for Pro Mazda Victories in Hometown Race
 June 21, 2016| 
  • Series News

PALMETTO, Fla. – This weekend will mark a welcome return to the picturesque Road America circuit for all three levels of the highly acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy, with a pair of races on the docket for each series in support of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Kohler Grand Prix. Located in Elkhart Lake, Wis., the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course has long been a driver and fan favorite.

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires has held only four events at the legendary circuit, making its last appearance 25 years ago in 1990 with Paul Tracy taking the win en route to the championship title. The Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda have a more recent history. The last Pro Mazda race took place in 2010 with IndyCar talent Conor Daly winning from the pole. USF2000 last held a tripleheader event in 2012 with Matthew Brabham and Scott Anderson earning victory honors.

Pato O’Ward has taken an impressive stranglehold on the Pro Mazda championship. The 17-year-old Monterrey, Mexico native has won six of the first seven races and is looking to eclipse Matthew’s Brabham’s record of seven wins in the first eight races in 2013.

With a seemingly comfortable 55-point lead in the championship standings heading into the weekend, O’Ward’s biggest threat remains his Team Pelfrey teammate Aaron Telitz who has been the only other driver to feature on the top step of the podium to date this season.

Telitz, who was born in Rice Lake and lives in Birchwood, has had many firsts at the Road America circuit and is expecting a sizable contingent of family and friends this weekend for his home race.

“Road America really is a special place for me,” said Telitz. “This was where I had my first experience in a race car, at the three-day Skip Barber Racing School, my first race and my first race win. I’ve never had a ‘home’ race on the Mazda Road to Indy before, so this is going to be exciting. Pretty much my entire extended family will be there, plus friends from Birchwood. I have a lot of friends from college in Eau Claire coming down and camping out, so it will be a huge event for me.

“This is the biggest track we go to. It’s got huge straightaways and huge elevation changes, so it’s pretty extreme. It’s super old-school. In all the races this weekend, you’re going to see lots of passing and groups of cars running together because they’ll be able to draft together. We’ll be running less downforce in the car because the straights are so long and that will make for some exciting racing. The fans are going to love it!”

As for his thoughts on the championship, Telitz is looking to take the battle all the way to the end.

“I came into the year planning to do the best I could and to take away a win and a second at the first race weekend and then go into a string of second-place finishes was an awesome way to start the year. I’m planning to keep the string of podium finishes going, because that’s what it takes to win a championship. IndyCar is where I want to go – that’s been my goal since Day One in race cars and I haven’t wavered from that.”

With the departure of Garett Grist to Indy Lights, Juncos Racing’s Will Owen will more than likely slot into third place in the championship standings. Owen left the month of May with a pair of podium finishes and will be looking to fend off the challenges from reigning USF2000 champion and Mazda scholarship winner Nico Jamin. The Cape Motorsports w/ Wayne Taylor Racing driver sits only five points behind Owen followed by Jake Parsons of Juncos Racing.

One to watch this weekend will be TJ Fischer who moves up from USF2000 and will be making his Pro Mazda debut out of the dominant Team Pelfrey stable.

In National Class action, regular Bobby Eberle of JDC MotorSports will be looking to hold off the advances of teammate Kevin Davis and Bob Kaminsky of Kaminsky Racing who returns to the series this weekend.

The pair of Pro Mazda Grand Prix of Road America races, comprising Rounds 8 and 9 of the championship, will take place on Saturday at 9:55 am EDT and 3:05 pm with live streaming of all sessions on the Road To Indy TV App and at promazda.com and indycar.com.

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