MONTEREY, Calif. – The battle for the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires will go down the final race of the season.
Juncos Racing’s Nicolas Dapero scored his first career win as title contenders Aaron Telitz and Pato O’Ward provided early race fireworks in Sunday’s second race of the Soul Red Finale weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Starting side-by-side on the front row, Team Pelfrey teammates Telitz and O’Ward came together battling for the lead in the Andretti hairpin.
The contact left the spinning O’Ward limping on course with a damaged left rear suspension and saw Telitz penalized from the lead with a drive-through for the contact.
From there, Dapero controlled the race. He beat his teammate Will Owen by 0.4456 of a second as Juncos extended its streak of winning at least one race since 2009. Nico Jamin, the only driver other than Dapero to top the Team Pelfrey duo in a race this season, finished third.
“I’m so happy, it’s my first win the U.S,” said the 18-year-old Argentine. “There are more to come and winning (one of) the last races of the championship is good for me. I was fighting with the championship contenders so I know I’m in a good spot this weekend.”
Joseph Burton-Harris fended off Telitz to finish fourth, while Telitz rebounded from his penalty to finish fifth. O’Ward finished 10th and trails Telitz by 11 points (389-378) going into this afternoon’s final race.
That race can be seen at 7:25 p.m. ET on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.
* National Class