Andretti Autosport’s?Weiron Tan?took a commanding flag-to-flag victory in the first Pro Mazda Championship race from Barber Motorsports Park on Saturday, leading all 20 laps in the first 30-minute sprint race of two to be held this weekend.
An ugly first attempt at a race start was aborted, as a result,?Kyle Connery was eliminated from the race in the fracas after spinning off track and suffering terminal damage. The?second start attempt was then aborted when?Timothe Buret jumped ahead of Tan at the start.
Finally, the third attempt produced a clean start, as Tan controlled the pace ahead of Buret, with Santiago Urrutia?leading a three-car pack of?Neil Alberico and?Patricio O’Ward.
Further back, Tan’s teammate?Dalton Kellett?and Jose Gutierrez?suffered separate incidents on the first lap, with Kellett veering off course after a puncture sustained from Gutierrez, who spun off later in the lap and eventually retired due to suspension failure after just five laps.
The most compelling battle of the race was for sixth, headed by?Raoul Owens who moved all the way up from 13th on the grid to sixth place, ahead of Juncos Racing’s?Garett Grist. Outgoing USF2000 champion?Florian Latorre was motivated to move up the field, making one of the few passes of the race on lap 12 when he got around?Will Owen.
He then put the pressure on Grist, as Grist himself put the pressure on Owens for sixth – but they eventually finished where they ran for the last eight laps – Owens sixth, ahead of Grist, Latorre, and Owen.?Daniel Burkett began to reel in that group as they battled, but ultimately finished in tenth place.
As they battled, Tan was unchallenged at the front, opening up his lead over Buret to as much as 2.5 seconds and never looking back as Tan became the first Malaysian driver to win a race at any step of the Mazda Road to Indy.
Buret claimed the fastest lap bonus point with a 1m21.548s set on lap 17.?Urrutia did enough to resist early pressure from Alberico and held onto third place to complete an all-rookie podium. The Uruguayan recorded his fourth straight top-5 finish to open the season – and moved to within two points of Alberico for the championship lead. 15-year-old O’Ward rounded out the top five finishers.
Jay Horak beat out?Patrick Eberle for bragging rights in the Expert class, finishing 13th overall behind?Alessandro Latif, who was passed by?Parker Nicklin on lap 17.
|1||Weiron Tan||Andretti Autosport||20 laps in 30:12.0257|
|2||Timothe Buret||Juncos Racing||+2.1541|
|3||Santiago Urrutia||Team Pelfrey||+13.8027|
|4||Neil Alberico||Cape Motorsports/WTR||+14.7177|
|5||Patricio O’Ward||Team Pelfrey||+15.1996|
|6||Raoul Owens||JDC Motorsports||+23.6611|
|7||Garett Grist||Juncos Racing||+24.3087|
|8||Florian Latorre||Cape Motorsports/WTR||+24.9169|
|9||Will Owen||Juncos Racing||+25.4644|
|10||Daniel Burkett||Cape Motorsports/WTR||+26.9835|
|11||Parker Nicklin||JDC Motorsports||+40.3049|
|12||Alessandro Latif||World Speed Motorsports||+48.9049|
|13||Jay Horak||M1 Racing||+1:05.1943|
|14||Bobby Eberle||World Speed Motorsports||+1:06.3830|
|15||Dalton Kellett||Andretti Autosport||+1 lap|
|16||Jose Gutierrez||Juncos Racing||+15 laps|
|17||Kyle Connery||JDC Motorsports||+20 laps|