When Pato O’Ward won six of the first
seven races of the Pro Mazda Presented
by Cooper Tires season – and finished
second in the other – the championship
fight looked in danger of being over
before the halfway mark.
But Team Pelfrey teammate Aaron Telitz
didn’t get the memo. He broke O’Ward’s
streak of five consecutive victories with a
win in the opening race at Road America,
and promptly went on a four-race unbeaten
run of his own to move into contention.
The pair continued to trade blows all the
way through to the final round at Mazda
every lap to take the win and the crown.
In doing so, he secured a scholarship to
move up to Indy Lights in 2017.
“It’s everything to me,” Telitz said
afterward. “I wouldn’t be able to move
up to Indy Lights without Mazda and the
scholarship they are going to provide.
Those guys and Cooper Tires do so much
for young drivers. Being in the Soul Red
colors and representing Mazda for the
There were four former Pro Mazda
champions on the grid for this year’s
Indianapolis 500, which gives Aaron Telitz a
target for the future. In the meantime, he’ll
be promoted into Indy Lights for 2017.
“It’s everything to me. I
wouldn’t be able to move
up to Indy Lights without
Mazda and the scholarship”
The annual Chris Griffis Memorial Test at
IMS usually gives teams a chance to take
a look at new drivers, but this year it also
gave USF2000 crews their first chance
to sample the new Tatuus USF- 17 chassis
that will debut next year.
“I’m loving the new car,” said Team
Pelfrey’s Robert Megennis. “You have the
paddle shifts, bigger tires, bigger brakes
– it’s just overall more fun to drive. It’s
nicer to be in – it’s bigger and it’s cooler
looking. The racing is going to be great.
We have a lot less aero than this year,
so we’ll be able to run closer together.
Pabst Racing owner Augie Pabst also
hailed the new design, and said that he
expects it to bring the field closer together.
“We love the new car,” he said. “It’s
obviously a huge departure from the old
design, but it’s better in every respect.
The playing field is also being reset here.
I think it’s going to be great for all of the
THE FUTURE IS HERE
New Pro Mazda champ Aaron Telitz had a
first taste of Indy Lights when he tested
with Schmidt (ABOVE) and Belardi at Indy.
“It’s really, really fast,” he enthused.
Aaron Telitz reeled in teammate Pato O’Ward in Pro Mazda.
Raceway Laguna Seca. O’Ward won the first
race of the weekend, but then struggled in
the second, meaning that Telitz only had to
finish ahead of him in the third and last race
to seal the championship. He did better
than that: he started from pole and led
(MAIN) Aaron Telitz didn’t
neccessarily need to win the final
race to secure the Pro Mazda title,
but he went and did it anyway.
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