Martin wins opening race of USF2000 Mid-Ohio tripleheader

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LEXINGTON, Ohio – Anthony Martin put the bad memories of Toronto behind him early and captured his fifth win of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda season in the first race of this weekend’s tripleheader at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. In the process, the 21-year-old Australian took over the championship lead from Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Parker Thompson.

Pole sitter Martin got the jump on Thompson at the start but could not rest easy as a full-course caution fell on Lap 2 for the stopped car of Robert Megennis. The Aussie broke away on the restart, but Thompson slowly closed the gap on his teammate until he cut a tire and went a lap down.

With Thompson dropping back, Martin cruised away uncontested. The 19-lap race ended under yellow when Yufeng Luo went off track. With the win, Martin takes a nine-point lead over Thompson into Saturday’s second race of the weekend tripleheader. Victory Franzoni (ArmsUp Motorsports) finished the race in second and is third in the championship, 30 points from the leader.

“You’ve got to go for race wins, but at the end of the day I’m going for the championship,” said Martin, who was congratulated after the win by fellow Australian Will Power, the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion. “It’s always in the back of your mind and you’ve just got to do what you can do and race as hard as you can, as fast as you can, take every point that you can.”

Jamin wins first Pro Mazda pole

Nico Jamin claimed his first career Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires poles, setting a series track record and ending Team Pelfrey’s season sweep of poles in the process. The Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing driver will lead the field to green in the first of two Pro Mazda races at Mid-Ohio that both take place Saturday.

Jamin, driving the No. 2 Synova Automotive Eco-Plastics Mazda, lapped the 2.258-mile permanent toad course in 1 minute, 18.138 seconds (104.031 mph) to unseat Aaron Telitz of Team Pelfrey from the top spot. The previous track record of 1:18.300 by Ryan Justice had held up 10 years.

Juncos Racing’s Will Owen qualified third. Pato O’Ward, who shares the points lead with Pelfrey teammate Telitz, qualified fifth.

Heavy rain limits Indy Lights practice time

Santiago Urrutia led Friday morning’s practice for the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires doubleheader weekend, but torrential afternoon rain kept all cars off track for the second session.

On Urrutia’s last run of the morning session, the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian driver set a quick lap of 1 minute, 11.9530 seconds (112.974 mph) that was a clear 0.2238 of a second ahead of Andretti Autosport’s Shelby Blackstock.

Felix Serralles (Carlin) was third, Andre Negrao (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian) fourth and Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing) rounded out the top five. Points leader Ed Jones (Carlin) ended the day sixth quick.

Indy Lights is scheduled to qualify Saturday morning and hold the first of its two races in the afternoon.

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