MRTI notes: Weekend sweep gives Franzoni points lead in Pro Mazda

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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana -- Victor Franzoni completed a weekend sweep of the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course by winning today’s event.

Starting from pole in the No. 23 Juncos Racing Mazda, Franzoni was overtaken at the start by Team Pelfrey’s TJ Fischer (No. 82 Project O2 Mazda). Franzoni responded by outbraking Fischer heading into Turn 1 to retake the lead that he never lost again. Franzoni led all 29 laps, stretching the advantage to 13.0798 seconds at the checkered flag.

The 21-year-old Brazilian had the best pace of anyone but knew he had to stay focused and hit his marks.

“It was good to keep focus because, when you have a good gap, you just turn off (mentally) and can make mistakes,” Franzoni said. “I had to challenge myself to keep going hard and do the same time every lap and was really close to that.

“This was a perfect weekend,” he added. “We knew we had a good setup, we tested here. I think we had the best car ever. The car was a machine, it was perfect to drive. I didn’t have to do anything but focus and drive fast.”

Fischer claimed back-to-back podiums by finishing second, while Team Pelfrey teammate Carlos Cunha (No. 81 Team Pelfrey Mazda) joined him on the podium.

Franzoni vaulted to the point standings lead one-third of the way through the 12-race season with 116 points accumulated. Anthony Martin, (No. 8 Mazda/Burgess BLA Mazda for Cape Motorsports) dropped to second with 110 points following a fourth-place finish in today’s race. Fischer is third with 91 points.

Pro Mazda races next during a doubleheader weekend June 23-25 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Oliver AskewAskew sweeps USF2000 weekend to extend season domination

Oliver Askew continued his rookie dominance in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda season today by earning his fifth straight win of the season. The Cape Motorsports driver and Mazda scholarship winner beat Rinus VeeKay by 1.2488 seconds to complete a sweep of the two races on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The race was a replication of Friday’s with Askew, driving the No. 3 Mazda Motorsports/MC Racing Tatuus USF-17, vaulting away from VeeKay (No. 21 Jumbo Supermarkets Tatuus USF-17 for Pabst Racing) on a restart after a full-course caution period. Askew paced the field for the next 10 laps, but another caution with four minutes remaining in the race allowed VeeKay to close once more.

Askew held off VeeKay on a one-lap restart to clinch the win. While the 20-year-old from Jupiter, Florida had the quickest car, he had to formulate a plan to keep the lead on the final restart.

“I had such a big lead and then to have to regroup and try to figure out how to break away again was tough,” Askew said. “I had to make a plan and execute it, getting a couple of corners to break the draft.

“I just went to Turn 1 as deep as I could and tried not to get hit from behind, because that’s the only way that I could get passed.”

Askew finished second in the first race of the season but has won every race since. His championship lead swelled to 60 points over VeeKay. Team Pelfrey’s Kaylen Frederick (No. 81 Pilot ONE Racing) finished third in today’s race and is third in the championship, 78 points behind Askew.

USF2000 returns to action June 23-25 with a doubleheader weekend at Road America.

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