LEXINGTON, Ohio – Matthew Brabham bounced back from a disappointing weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park two weeks ago by scoring a convincing victory today in the first leg of the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The third-generation racer from Boca Raton, Fla., qualified on the pole for the fifth time in 11 rounds of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. He then led throughout the 20-lap race to claim his eighth win of the year and equal the record for wins in a single season established by last year’s champion Jack Hawksworth.
Brabham’s progress was interrupted by a couple of full-course cautions but his concentration suffered not one iota as he extended his advantage to 3.890 seconds at the checkered flag.
“Canada was definitely a tough weekend for us and it is always good to bounce back and we did that in this race. I am really pleased for the team. It has been a great weekend for us,” Brabham said. “We were fast straight out of the box. We had to put the car back together after that last race [at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park] and we had no issues with the car or anything like that. The team has been working so hard all year and I can’t thank them enough. I am happy to have the one-two with Shelby and to win the race. It was definitely tough out there. It was really hot and it’s a physical track, but it is a lot of fun to drive. Hopefully, we can fight for the win again tomorrow.”
Three weeks after scoring his first-ever victory, Andretti Autosport teammate Shelby Blackstock maintained his strong form by finishing second. Blackstock, from Nashville, Tenn., had his hands full in the closing stages as Diego Ferreira (Juncos Racing), from Maracay, Venezuela, had fought off the advances of Spencer Pigot (Team Pelfrey) and was charging along in third. Blackstock took the position by a mere 0.242s, with Pigot, from Orlando, Fla., also close behind in fourth.
Colombian Juan Piedrahita (JDC MotorSports) prevailed for fifth place after a race-long battle with Californian Kyle Kaiser (World Speed Motorsports). Not far behind, Lloyd Read (JDC MotorSports), from Newport, Wales, just held off the attentions of Kyle Connery, from Vero Beach, Fla., who made an impressive Pro Mazda debut for the returning M1 Racing team.
Argentina’s Julia Ballario, also making her debut for Juncos Racing, was involved in yet another tight two-car tussle before ultimately besting Mexican teammate Jose Gutierrez for ninth.
Bobby Eberle, from Missouri City, Texas, finished 11th overall and claimed Expert Class honors in his first-ever Pro Mazda start for World Speed Motorsports, narrowly edging Walt Bowlin (M1 Racing).