Birmingham, Ala. – Spencer Pigot clearly has a taste for victory at Barber Motorsports Park. One year ago he won both rounds of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires at the scenic 2.3-mile road course in rural Alabama. This weekend, after stepping up to Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires with his Juncos Racing team by virtue of a Pro Mazda Championship title and a MAZDASPEED scholarship, Pigot repeated the feat as he dominated both races that comprised the Legacy Indy Lights 100.
Englishman Jack Harvey, who finished second in the championship in 2014, losing out on the title only on a tie-breaker, finished second again – for the fourth time in five races this season – for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian. Max Chilton (Carlin) took third to secure his first podium appearance of the season.
Pigot, 21, from Orlando, Fla., led all 35 laps this afternoon in picture-perfect weather conditions after starting from the pole. His only real scare came on Lap 13, when series leader Ed Jones (Carlin), who had rejoined almost a lap down following an incident on the first lap, came across his bows just as Pigot was turning into the final corner, Turn 17. Contact was made but miraculously there was no lasting damage to either of the Mazda-powered Dallara IL-15s. Jones continued to finish 11th.
Pigot’s second win in as many days, allied to a pair of thirds and a second in the opening three races of the season, was enough to leapfrog him ahead of Jones in the championship points table by a margin of 132 to 125.
Harvey ran second throughout, despite driving with a broken thumb sustained one week ago at Long Beach. He came under increasing pressure in the waning stages from Chilton and Felix Serralles (Belardi Auto Racing), who enjoyed a race-long battle for third.
Scott Anderson (Schmidt Peterson) finished a distant fifth, followed by impressive Indy Lights newcomer Sean Rayhall (8Star Motorsports), who finally snuck past yesterday’s podium finisher RC Enerson (Schmidt Peterson) with a fine pass in Turn 6 with just over 10 laps remaining. The move earned Rayhall the RePlay XD Move of the Race Award.
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires will continue with two more races, along with the entire Mazda Road to Indy ladder, at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 7-9.
Spencer Pigot (#12 Mazda/Doug Mockett & Company/Rising Star Racing/The Stutz/BAD/OMP-Juncos Racing): “I was behind Ed when he came back out on the track and was behind him pretty much the entire race. I was quicker than he was but it’s a difficult place to pass, with all the aero-dependent corners. I tried to take the opportunity to get around him, so I could stop abusing my tires trying to get around him. I got alongside but he wasn’t going to let me by and we touched wheels. I decided to let him run his race at that point. But I knew I was pulling away from Jack at the same time, so I didn’t want to take any chances. It’s been an amazing weekend. We got the car sorted out very quickly out of the trailer on Friday and the car has been fantastic all three days. It’s great to have your first wins under your belt; you know you can do it now but it also adds pressure on you and your team. Everyone at Juncos has been working so hard this weekend, I’m glad I was able to deliver.”
Jack Harvey (#42 Racing Steps Foundation/Curb Records-Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian): “We knew today would be even harder than yesterday, with Spencer up front and Serralles and Chilton behind me. We’re gaining momentum in every race but it seems as though Juncos is as well. But overall, we are in a better position than we were at this point last year. I have a great team at Schmidt Peterson so I know we’ll keep working hard. I’ve never had a winless season, so I’m not worried. The wins are going to come. We’ve seen teams dominate race weekends so I’m hoping that happens for us. In my opinion, we’re going into the best month of motorsports in the world; everyone knows what happens in the month of May and that would be a great place to get our first win of the season.”
Max Chilton (#14 BlippAR-Carlin): “I think we were slightly more on the back foot this weekend than we’ve been at previous races. I had to make sure I came forward in both races. Yesterday, we didn’t have the speed and I was lucky that a car ran wide in Turn One and I stayed in that position for the rest of the race. Today, we did a big change and suddenly I felt as though I could really attack. Serralles was on new boots behind me and as soon as he got through the traffic, he caught up to me quite rapidly. But the push-to-pass was really effective; if you were strict with yourself and saved it, it was really easy to defend if you used it in the right place. I knew I had the speed on him if I could just not keep looking in my mirrors. He would attack, and Jack would pull away. I finally started to pull away and I thought I could catch the cars in front. It was like that all race, a cat-and-mouse.”