HOUSTON – While Andretti Autosport’s Matthew Brabham locked up the Pro Mazda Championship Powered by Cooper Tires title prior to this weekend’s season-ending pair of Allied Building Products Grand Prix of Houston races, it didn’t stop the 19-year-old from continuing his winning ways.
Brabham was solid out-of-the-gate on the 1.634-mile, 10-turn temporary street circuit, starting on pole and claiming another victory to break his own records of most wins (12) and podiums (14) in a single season. He has now added one more record to his sensational season, besting 2012 champion Jack Hawksworth for most fastest race laps with 12.
“I think the person that had the least pressure on him this weekend is my dad,” Brabham said. “Last year, when it came to the wire between Spencer and myself for the championship, he was wearing the bottom of his shoes off. I just went with the flow this weekend. I am having fun and enjoying it while it lasts. This is a great track. I find it a lot of fun and it is very challenging with the bumps and how the track is – it really separates the really good drivers from the good drivers.”
Spencer Pigot of Team Pelfrey, who qualified third, was able to pass Brabham’s teammate and front row starter Shelby Blackstock on lap two to finish second and claim his fifth podium of the season – which included a debut win at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park – and valuable points. Pigot is now two markers shy of Blackstock, who is currently third in the standings heading into the finale tomorrow.
Nicolas Costa made a return appearance with Team Pelfrey after a partial season of six races, which included two third-place drives. Costa, who last competed at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in August, had no problem dusting off the cobwebs. After qualifying sixth, he quickly made his way up to fifth before a slight mishap sent him back to seventh. He rebounded, making his way through the field to a third-place drive.
Blackstock was relegated to fourth with Diego Ferreira of Juncos Racing in fifth – his first time off the podium in the past six races. With his result today and season tally of one win and 11 top-three finishes, Ferreira has solidified his runner-up finish in the championship.
Jay Horak of M1 Racing picked up his first Expert Class win today to take the championship lead heading into tomorrow’s finale.