Americans Pigot, Alberico and Eidson Lead the Way to Indy
 May 6, 2015| 
  • Series News
All Three Levels of the Mazda Road to Indy Will Support the Grand Prix of Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – No fewer than 16 different nationalities will be represented when all three levels of the acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy development ladder continue their campaigns this week in support of the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Perhaps it is appropriate as they head for the premier open-wheel auto racing venue in North America that home-grown drivers currently hold the points lead in all three championships.

Spencer Pigot, who hails from Orlando, Fla., but now makes his home in Indianapolis, took control of the top-tier Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires title-chase by virtue of a commanding double victory two weeks ago at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. Neil Alberico, from Los Gatos, Calif., furthered his claim to the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by winning also at Barber, while Jake Eidson, from Littleton, Colo., heads the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda standings on the heels of podium finishes in each of the six races held to date.

Coincidentally, fellow rising American star and 2011 Indy Lights champion Josef Newgarden broke through in Alabama by securing his first-ever Verizon IndyCar Series victory for Indianapolis-based CFH Racing. All four drivers will be looking toward the top step of the podium again this weekend at the 2.439-mile road circuit which uses portions of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.

The Mazda Road to Indy is a proven driver development “ladder” which guides drivers all the way from the grassroots of the sport to the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, with scholarship packages to assist in the graduation between each level.

Pigot Aims to Cement his Authority at Indy
Pigot has developed into a poster boy for the Mazda Road to Indy. An accomplished karter, Pigot made the step into cars via a Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shootout in 2009, followed by victory in the following year’s BFGoodrich Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda which earned him another MAZDASPEED Driver Development scholarship award to move into USF2000. He narrowly missed out on the USF2000 title in each of the following two years but, after snagging one race win in his rookie year of Pro Mazda, went on to earn another championship and scholarship prize in 2014 to facilitate his graduation into Indy Lights for 2015.

Remaining with Brownsburg, Ind.-based Juncos Racing, Pigot finished a strong third in the first two races of the season at St. Petersburg, Fla. He impressed again at Long Beach, rising to second after being relegated to fifth from his front row starting position while avoiding an incident at Turn One. One week later at Barber he was untouchable, winning both races from the pole. The wins enabled 21-year-old Pigot to grasp the points lead from Dubai-based Briton Ed Jones, who, along with the European open-wheel powerhouse Carlin team, had begun his North American career in style with three consecutive victories.

Jones, 20, has every intention of working his way back to the front at Indianapolis, along with teammate and ex-F1 driver Max Chilton, who was delighted to claim his first podium result last time out in Alabama.

Fellow Englishman Jack Harvey also is sure to be a prominent force for seven-time Indy Lights championship-winning team Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian. The former British Formula 3 champion finished second in the 2014 Indy Lights championship, losing out only on a tie-breaker of second-place finishes, and has finished second again in four of the five races run so far this season. Harvey, who finished on the podium in both races on the Indy road course last year, is now aiming for the top step.

Rookies Felix Serralles (Belardi Auto Racing), from Ponce, Puerto Rico, and RC Enerson (Schmidt Peterson), from New Port Richey, Fla., already have podium finishes to their credit this year, while Pigot’s Juncos Racing teammate Kyle Kaiser, from Santa Clara, Calif., has displayed prodigious pace without yet achieving commensurate results. He intends to set that record straight during Rounds Six and Seven this week.

Watch out too for former Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship Powered by Mazda title-winner Sean Rayhall, from Winston, Ga., who made an impressive Indy Lights debut at Barber for 8Star Motorsports.

The Mazda Grand Prix of Indianapolis Presented by Cooper Tires will commence with a pair of 60-minute promoter test sessions today (Wednesday, May 5), followed by two 45-minute practices tomorrow. The “official” portion of the weekend continues with qualifying at 12:00 noon East Coast time on Friday, May 7, and the first of two races later in the afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Following a 15-minute warmup at 10:00 a.m.on Saturday, Round Seven of the 16-race season will start at 1:25 p.m., immediately before the Verizon IndyCar Series headline event. Live timing and commentary for all sessions will be available on the new Mazda Road to Indy App and at indylights.com.
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