Breakthrough Victory for Rising Star Racing’s Pigot
 April 25, 2015| 
  • Team News
Neil Alberico fourth in Pro Mazda, Newgarden qualifies fifth for Verizon IndyCar Series

Birmingham, Ala. – Spencer Pigot delivered an inch-perfect performance on Saturday as the Rising Star Racing driver scored a breakthrough victory in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires competition at Barber Motorsports Park. 

Starting from the pole after setting a new track record in Friday’s qualifying session, Pigot took the lead at the drop of the green and didn’t look back. The all-green flag run saw him grow his lead over the field to over seven seconds and take the checkered flag as his jubilant Juncos Racing squad cheered him on. 

The race win comes in just Pigot’s fourth start in the burgeoning category, which features an all-new Dallara IL-15 chassis mated with Cooper Tires powered by an efficient Mazda power plant that also features Push to Pass. Staged as part of the Verizon IndyCar Series weekends, Indy Lights has attracted international competition and attention as drivers look to show they have what it takes to make the last step up the Mazda Road to Indy ladder. 

"The Juncos Racing guys were phenomenal all weekend and I just kept putting my head down and I can’t believe the size of the gap we had at the end - the car was just amazing throughout the whole race,” said Pigot from Victory Lane. “A huge, huge thanks to the guys at Mazda, and Mockett, Mobe, Rising Star Racing, The Stuz, Bad, California Scents, and D-A – everyone that’s helping me; there are so many people behind this effort. I couldn’t be more proud. The car was awesome throughout the race. I think we can get the car even better for tomorrow and I think we’re the only team that saved a new set of tires for tomorrow. So I think we’re starting off at a bit of an advantage right there and hopefully we just get another good start and try and do the same thing again.”

Pigot scored two third-place finishes in the opening Indy Lights race weekend at St. Pete, improved for a second-place finish at Long Beach, and then continued his positive progression with the pole position and flag-to-flag victory at Barber. He will have the chance for an encore victory on Sunday in Race Two of the double-header weekend.

Pigot’s Rising Star Racing teammate Neil Alberico opened the day for the Rising Star squad in the morning’s Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tires race with a run to fourth place in Race One.

Starting fifth, it was a hard-fought battle on the Alabama road course notorious for its difficulty passing. Alberico made a thrilling move on the outside to move up to fourth and though he challenged hard for third place and that last step on the podium, he kept it clean and conservative to collect good championship points and capture a good starting spot for Race Two.

“We struggled early in the week but we made some changes to the car after going through the data,” said Alberico. “We ended up with a top-five in qualifying which was really important to do at this track because passing is so tough here. I moved up to fourth and was challenging for the podium but there was a lot of risk there to make the pass happen. We were wheel to wheel, back and forth, the whole race. I was hungry for that podium but with the way the weekend started, I’m happy to get fourth today. Great job to the Cape Motorsports guys and thanks to Rising Star Racing for their faith in me. We’re looking for a win tomorrow so we’ll fight hard to bring it home on top.”

Rounding out a productive day for Rising Star Racing, Josef Newgarden once again made his way into the Firestone Fast Six in qualifying, scoring fifth on the grid for Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama with a fast lap time of 1:07.8922-seconds in the No. 67 Hartman Oil Chevrolet.

“We’re getting there,” said Newgarden. “We definitely didn’t have enough for Helio Castroneves, Will Power or Scott Dixon. We aren’t right up there in pole territory, but at least we are consistently in Fast Six territory. That’s a good improvement for us and I am excited about that. We have a little work to do on our race car to make it consistently faster over a stint. Our team is strong; the Hartman Oil crew is full of good guys and good resources. We need to put it together and have a good, solid result tomorrow."

Both Pro Mazda and Indy Lights will stage Race Two of the Barber Motorsports Park event on Sunday. Pro Mazda will go green at 9:00 AM Central Time with the Indy Lights race to follow at 12:10 PM Central Time. The IndyCar race is set for an NBCSN Live broadcast starting at 3:00 PM ET.
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