MONTEREY, Calif. – Aaron Telitz knew he’d won the Pro Mazda championship by beating his Team Pelfrey teammate Pato O’Ward in the final race of the Soul Red Finale tripleheader at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday.
He did that – and the rest of the Pro Mazda field – too.
The 24-year-old native of Birchwood, Wisc., notched his sixth win of the season and claimed the Mazda scholarship package to graduate to Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires by holding off Juncos Racing teammates Will Owen and Nicolas Dapero.
“I was really happy with my final performance. Being able to start on poole and leading the entire race. I just kept it clean. I just wanted to show everyone that I am the champion and went away with a win. I’m glad I did it.”
Telitz, who started on pole, led all 27 laps of the feature race with O’Ward trailing behind for most of the race around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course. But O’Ward damaged his rear tires by running off course late in the race and began to fade.
That allowed Owen and Dapero, who won Sunday’s first race, to close ground on Telitz at the front of the field. But neither could pass Telitz who claimed his second Mazda scholarship in the past three seasons.
“It’s everything to me,” Telitz said. “I wouldn’t be able to move up to Indy Lights without Mazda and the scholarship they are going to provide. Mazda and Cooper Tires do so much to support young drivers continue to move up the ladder. Being in the Soul Red colors and represent Mazda for the second time in my career is very special.”
* National Class