Monday, July 22, 2013

American Open Wheel Prospects Clean Up!

Well, I told you about the Pro Mazda weekend at MoSport, and reports from the weekend did not disappoint.

Although it's been Matthew Brabham's year thus far, he had no winner's luck this weekend. In the first race, Spencer Pigot passed polesitter Shelby Blackstock to win his first-ever Pro Mazda race. And what an opportune time to do so! Team Pelfrey, the team running Pigot this year, had been in the midst of a rough patch, to say nothing of Pigot himself. Still, as they say, victory is the best medicine, and both team and driver had to feel very good about this one.

For his part, Blackstock would get his moment on Sunday, when he got past Pigot and never looked back enroute to his first Pro Mazda trip to victory circle. That's a huge moment for a driver who has had a bit of a late start as open wheel prospects going, but has worked extremely hard to get better each and every step of his journey up the racing ladder.

So, with two Pro Mazda races over the weekend, we had two winners--two young American prospects, showing that they can win at this level. That's pretty big in a series where one driver (Brabham) had looked absolutely unstoppable until this weekend.

Now, chances are, Brabham is still your overall champion--he's still sporting a 50+ point lead. But there's no underestimating what a victory can do for a driver and a program. We saw it last year in USF2000, where Scott Anderson caught fire and brought home some splendid consecutive finishes (incidentally, the American Anderson also grabbed his first-ever Pro Mazda podium this weekend).

Pigot and Blackstock come from very different racing backgrounds; Pigot is a Team USA scholarship winner, a Skip Barber champion, and has been in motorsport since at least the age of 10. Blackstock is the son of a country music superstar, a latecomer to racing, who has as much experience in sports cars than anything. Still, both drivers have now proven they can win at the next level on the Mazda Road to Indy, and their future seems rather bright just now. Not every promising prospect will make it to Indy, but these two American potential stars are doing their part to make it happen.

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