ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Third-generation racer Matthew Brabham produced an impressive performance to score a clear victory in Saturday’s Allied Building Products Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, round three of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.
Brabham, 19, had set the pace throughout practice but qualified only eighth after the gear shift lever broke off in his hand midway through the 30-minute qualifying session.
Undeterred, Brabham, who won last year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, earning a MAZDASPEED scholarship to graduate to Pro Mazda this season, was on the move almost as soon as the green flag waved.
He leapt to sixth at the start, only for his progress to be delayed almost immediately by a full-course caution following a first-corner incident which eliminated Colombian Juan Piedrahita (JDC MotorSports).
Brabham pounced again at the restart, passing Team Pelfrey teammates Spencer Pigot and Petri Suvanto as well as local driver Nick Andries (JDC MotorSports) on consecutive laps to move into third by lap six.
Brabham then tracked down the two leaders, Diego Ferreira (Juncos Racing) and his own Andretti Autosport teammate Shelby Blackstock, who had qualified on the pole in his No. 28 Team Starstruck car but was struggling from the start with excessive oversteer.