Urrutia leaps into Indy Lights championship lead with Mid-Ohio sweep

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LEXINGTON, Ohio – Santiago Urrutia completed the Mid-Ohio sweep Sunday, sweeping into the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires championship lead in the process.

Urrutia, who earned the Mazda scholarship to move up to Indy Lights by winning the 2015 Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires, won both races on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to increase his season victories total to four. The No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian driver took possession of the Indy Lights points lead after Carlin’s Ed Jones crashed out of Sunday’s race.

Urrutia broke away from Carlin’s Felix Serralles at the drop of the green and held steady until the action was slowed on Lap 11 for Garrett Grist going off track. Serralles also subsequently spun on the same lap and fell out of contention.

After later making contact with Serralles, Jones slid off track at high speed in the keyhole on Lap 21 and smashed into the tire barrier. Jones climbed out of the No. 11 Jebel Alli Resorts and Hotels Dallara IL-15 unhurt, but was dumbfounded to why he crashed.

“I don’t know exactly what happened,” said Jones, who finished 11th. “When I went to hit the brakes, there was nothing there. I had nothing to stop it.”

Urrutia, meanwhile, continued his blistering pace up front and picked up his second win of the weekend, crossing the line 1.52 seconds ahead of Andretti Autosport’s Dean Stoneman. Urrutia leads Jones by 16 points and Stoneman by 25 after 15 of 18 races.

“On the start we did a good job, we just kept our position,” Urrutia said. “On the restart, it was quite difficult because the car was really slippery on the first laps, but as soon as the tires came to me, the car was as good as (Saturday’s first race).”

With a dominating weekend at Mid-Ohio, Urrutia feels confident that the championship is within reach with just three races remaining – one at Watkins Glen International and the doubleheader finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

“We’re going to go for the win at Watkins Glen and Laguna,” he said. “We are going to win this championship with me and the team.”

Andre Negrao, Urrutia’s teammate, finished third Sunday to claim his second podium of the weekend.

Martin completes sweep of USF2000 Mid-Ohio tripleheader

Anthony MartinIt was a picture-perfect Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda weekend for Anthony Martin. The Australian completed a clean sweep of the three races with another dominating win Sunday at Mid-Ohio, pushing his championship lead to 21 points over Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammate Parker Thompson.

Martin and Thompson were the class of the field, battling throughout the 22-lap race on the 2.258-mile permanent road course. Thompson kept Martin in his sights, but was unable to mount a charge and crossed the line 0.3101 of a second behind the winner.

“Unbelievable!” said Martin, who has won half the 14 USF2000 races completed this season. “The Cape Motorsports boys gave me an awesome car all weekend. It was a tough battle with Parker, but I got through it in the end. This track is tough to pass, so I was lucky with that.

“I did not expect to be in this position now, coming into the weekend 20 points behind (Thompson) and coming out 21 points ahead.”

Garth Rickards (Pabst Racing) fought his way past Victor Franzoni (ArmsUp Motorsports) to claim his first USF2000 podium. Franzoni remained third in the championship, 53 points behind Martin heading to the two-race finale Sept. 9-11 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

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